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Occupational Health and Safety Specialist
 
 
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Related JobsTechnician, Forensic Science

Job OutlookOccupational health and safety specialists held about 55,800 jobs in 2008. While the majority of jobs were spread throughout the private sector, about 41 percent of specialists worked for Federal, state and local government agencies. Other occupational health and safety specialists were employed in manufacturing firms; private general medical and surgical hospitals; management, scientific, and technical consulting services; management of companies and enterprises; support activities for mining; research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences; private colleges, universities, and professional schools; and electric power generation, transmission, and distribution. Some were self-employed.

Within the federal government, most jobs are as Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) inspectors, who enforce U.S. Department of Labor regulations that ensure adequate safety principles, practices, and techniques are applied in workplaces. Employers may be fined for violations of OSHA standards. Within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, occupational health and safety specialists working for the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) provide private companies with an avenue to evaluate the health and safety of their employees without the risk of being fined. Most large government agencies also employ occupational health and safety specialists and technicians who work to protect agency employees.

Most private companies either employ their own safety personnel or contract safety professionals to ensure OSHA compliance, as needed.

Employment of occupational health and safety specialists is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2018, 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 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 in the private sector is somewhat affected by general economic fluctuations. Federal, State, and local governments, which employ about 2 out of 5 of all specialists and technicians, provide considerable job security; workers are less likely to be affected by changes in the economy.

More InformationCouncil on Certification of Health, Environmental, and Safety Technologists, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Office of Communication, American Society of Safety Engineers, American Board of Industrial Hygiene, American Industrial Hygiene Association, Board of Certified Safety Professionals

ReferencesBureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Occupational Health and Safety Specialists and Technicians, on the Internet at
http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos323.htm

O*NET OnLine, on the Internet at
http://online.onetcenter.org/link/summary/29-9011.00