Occupational health and safety specialists and technicians, also known as occupational health and safety inspectors, industrial hygienists, environmental protection officers, or ergonomists, help prevent harm to workers, property, and the environment, as well as the general public. They promote occupational health and safety within organizations by developing safer, healthier, and more efficient ways of working.
Occupational health and safety specialists analyze work environments and design programs to control, eliminate, and prevent disease or injury caused by chemical, physical, and biological agents or ergonomic factors that involve the impact of equipment design on a worker’s comfort or fatigue. They may conduct inspections and enforce adherence to laws, regulations, or employer policies governing worker health and safety.
Occupational health and safety technicians collect data on work environments for analysis by occupational health and safety specialists. Usually working under the supervision of specialists, they help implement and evaluate programs designed to limit risks to workers.
Job Outlook and Growth Potential:
Employment of occupational health and safety specialists and technicianso is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2012, reflecting a balance of continuing public demand for a safe and healthy work environment against the desire for smaller government and fewer regulations. Additional job openings will arise from the need to replace those who transfer to other occupations, retire, or leave the labor force for other reasons. In private industry, employment growth will reflect industry growth and the continuing self-enforcement of government and company regulations and policies.
Employment of occupational health and safety specialists and technicians is affected less by general economic fluctuations than employment in other occupations. Federal, State, and local governments, which employ about 2 out of 5 of all specialists and technicians, provide considerable job security.
Wages and Earnings Potential:
Median annual earnings of occupational health and safety specialists and technicians were $46,010 in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $34,280 and $58,230. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $25,080, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $71,450. Median annual earnings of occupational health and safety specialists and technicians in 2002 were $44,260 in State government and $42,430 in local government.