Occupational Health and Safety Technicians
Occupational health and safety technicians collaborate with occupational health and safety specialists in order to prevent harm to workers, the general public, the environment and property. They also assist in implementing and evaluating safety programs under the supervision of specialists. The responsibilities of these technicians vary by workplace, industry and the types of hazards that affect workers. Sample job titles include construction safety consultant, industrial hygienist and safety manager.
Some occupational and safety technicians help design safe work spaces or test air quality. Some specialties include mine examiners, environmental protection technicians, health physics technicians and industrial hygiene technicians. In addition, some of these technicians are employed by government agencies and perform safety inspections and impose fines.
Occupational health and safety technicians also collaborate with specialists to increase worker productivity and to find ways to reduce absenteeism and equipment downtime. Their strategies also save money by lowering workers' compensation payments and insurance premiums and by preventing government fines.
- Take measurements and collect workplace data and provide it to occupational health and safety specialists for analysis
- Test machines, air, water and other elements of work environments
- Prepare and calibrate scientific equipment
- Measure hazards such as radiation and noise
- Gather samples of gases, vapors, dust and other materials
- Talk with employees and observe their work
- Make sure equipment and machinery meets safety regulations
- Ensure that personal protective equipment is being used according to regulations
- Test and identify work areas for potential health hazards and accidents
- Make sure hazardous materials are stored correctly
Occupational health and safety technicians work in a variety of settings including factories and mines. Some of these technicians frequently travel. They may be exposed to hazardous conditions faced by industrial workers. Most of these technicians work 40 hours per week and some technicians may have to work irregular hours. In addition, occupational health technicians should have good communication skills and enjoy detailed work.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has forecasted an employment growth of 14 percent between 2008 and 2018 for occupational health and safety technicians which is faster than average for all occupations.
The median annual earnings in 2008 for occupational health and safety technicians was $45,360. The highest paid 10 percent earned more than $73,050.
Education, Certification, and Licensing
Some occupational health and safety technicians have earned an associate degree or a certificate. Some beneficial high school courses are mathematics, English, physics, biology and chemistry.
Some individuals enter the occupation via work experience and training. These individuals often receive on-the-job training combined with some formal education. All occupational health and safety technicians receive training in the applicable laws or inspection procedures via a blend of classroom and on-the-job training.
Occupational health and safety technicians that hold a bachelor's degree or an advanced degree have opportunities to become an occupational health and safety specialist.
Many employers prefer their occupational health and safety technicians obtain a credential. The Council on Certification of Health, Environmental and Safety Technologists offers credentials at the technical level.
- American Industrial Hygiene Association
- Council on Certification of Health, Environmental, and Safety Technologists
- U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Office of Communication
The primary employers are manufacturing companies, hospitals, scientific and technical consulting services, educational services, support activity for mining, administrative and support services, and federal, state and local government agencies.
Schools for Occupational Health And Safety Technicians are listed in the Browse Schools Section.