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Details for Occupational Health and Safety Specialists


Review, evaluate, and analyze work environments and design programs and procedures to control, eliminate, and prevent disease or injury caused by chemical, physical, and biological agents or ergonomic factors. May conduct inspections and enforce adherence to laws and regulations governing the health and safety of individuals. May be employed in the public or private sector.


  • Inspect and evaluate workplace environments, equipment, and practices, in order to ensure compliance with safety standards and government regulations.
  • Investigate the adequacy of ventilation, exhaust equipment, lighting, and other conditions that could affect employee health, comfort, or performance.
  • Perform laboratory analyses and physical inspections of samples in order to detect disease or to assess purity or cleanliness.
  • Inspect specified areas to ensure the presence of fire prevention equipment, safety equipment, and first-aid supplies.
  • Investigate accidents to identify causes and to determine how such accidents might be prevented in the future.
  • Investigate health-related complaints, and inspect facilities to ensure that they comply with public health legislation and regulations.
  • Maintain and update emergency response plans and procedures.
  • Maintain inventories of hazardous materials and hazardous wastes, using waste tracking systems to ensure that materials are handled properly.
  • Order suspension of activities that pose threats to workers' health and safety.
  • Prepare hazardous, radioactive, and mixed waste samples for transportation and storage by treating, compacting, packaging, and labeling them.
  • Provide new-employee health and safety orientations, and develop materials for these presentations.
  • Recommend measures to help protect workers from potentially hazardous work methods, processes, or materials.
  • Collaborate with engineers and physicians to institute control and remedial measures for hazardous and potentially hazardous conditions or equipment.
  • Collect samples of dust, gases, vapors, and other potentially toxic materials for analysis.
  • Collect samples of hazardous materials, or arrange for sample collection.
  • Conduct audits at hazardous waste sites or industrial sites, and participate in hazardous waste site investigations.
  • Conduct safety training and education programs, and demonstrate the use of safety equipment.
  • Coordinate "right-to-know" programs regarding hazardous chemicals and other substances.
  • Develop and maintain hygiene programs such as noise surveys, continuous atmosphere monitoring, ventilation surveys, and asbestos management plans.
  • Develop and maintain medical monitoring programs for employees.


  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Social - Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
  • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Education, Training, Experience

  • Education - Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.
  • Experience - A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.



  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Persuasion - Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Quality Control Analysis - Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Systems Analysis - Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
  • Systems Evaluation - Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.

Related Careers

  • Environmental Compliance Inspectors
  • Fire Inspectors
  • Fire Investigators
  • Forensic Science Technicians
  • Freight and Cargo Inspectors
  • Private Detectives and Investigators
  • Product Safety Engineers
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