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Occupational Health and Safety Technicians

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Occupational Health and Safety Technicians Overview

Many occupational health and safety technicians work in government agencies that implement rules on health, safety, and the environment. Occupational health and safety technicians can enter this profession by attending a postsecondary school or training through work experience. The best job prospects for occupational health and safety technicians are for those who are knowledgeable in more than one safety specialty.

Nature of the Work for Occupational Health and Safety Technicians

Occupational Health and Safety Technicians

The work of an occupational health and safety technician involves preventing harm to property, the public, the environment or other workers by working with occupational health and safety specialists. An example of such work might include inspecting machines or designing safe work spaces. Some occupational health and safety technicians working for governments may also conduct safety inspections as well as impose fines. Occupational health and safety technicians may also help to increase worker productivity by lowering insurance premiums and worker’s compensation payments as well as reducing equipment downtime. Tasks of an occupational health and safety technician include collecting workplace data and taking measurements for routing inspection. An occupational health and safety technician may focus on elements such as water, air, and machine testing by collecting data for occupational health and safety specialists to analyze. Occupational health and safety technicians may also help evaluate or implement safety programs under the supervision of specialists.

Occupational health and safety technicians may also regulate and prepare scientific equipment to measure any hazards in noise or radiation. Collecting dust, gas or vapor samples may also be apart of the job. Occupational health and safety technicians may also make sure machine and equipment are safe by examining and testing the machinery and equipment. In terms of regulations, they may also check if protective eyewear or hardhats are being used accordingly. Occupational health and safety technicians may also test areas for any potential hazards or accidents, check that hazardous materials are correctly stored as well as other workplace inspections. Inspecting the workplace can include talking with other workers while observing them as they work or inspecting the work environment such as lighting or equipment.

The role and responsibilities of an occupational health and safety technician vary by industry and workplace. Examples would include mine examiners who inspect mines, environmental protection technicians who evaluate and test hazards affecting the environment, and industrial hygiene technicians who test workplaces for asbestos, pesticide or lead exposure.

Occupational health and safety technicians can work in a wide variety of locations, such as an office, factory or mine. A lot of fieldwork is usually required for an occupational health and safety technician.

Stress for an occupational health and safety technician can stem from facing dangerous or strenuous conditions similar to what an industrial employee would face as well as the possibility that an organization may disagree with their recommendations.

The typical workweek of an occupational health and safety technician is 40 hours, while some may work overtime or irregular hours.

Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement for Occupational Health and Safety Technicians

Occupational health and safety technicians enter this career by either attending a postsecondary school and earning a certificate or associates degree. Others are trained through work experience. Classroom and on-the-job training allow occupational health and safety technicians to become trained in inspection procedures and applicable laws.

For those who enter the workplace by training on the job, many tend to volunteer to take on health and safety responsibilities from their current employer. Some sort of formal education as well as on-the-job training is then awarded to the worker.

High schools courses in mathematics, English, biology, chemistry, and physics are recommended to those looking to enter the field.

Many employers encourage their employees to get a credential. Credentialing is offered by The Council on Certification of Health, Environmental, and Safety Technologists.

Those looking to become occupational health and safety technicians should like detailed work, be responsible, and be able to communicate well.

Those working for the Federal Government can advance to a specified full-performance level while those at supervisory positions can advance based on the needs of the agency and the talent of the individual.

The best opportunities for occupational health and safety technicians are for those who are well versed in business functions, have experience as well as some broad education. Joining a professional society is a way that occupational health and safety technicians can keep up with current professional developments where journals, conferences and education courses are usually offered.

Occupational health and safety technicians can become occupational health and safety specialists by obtaining a bachelor’s degree or advanced degree.

Top 10 Most Popular Occupational Safety and Health Technology/Technician Schools

1. Keene State College (Keene, New Hampshire)
2. Southeastern Oklahoma State University (Durant, Oklahoma)
3. Murray State University (Murray, Kentucky)
4. Columbiana County Career & Technical Center (Lisbon, Ohio)
5. Anne Arundel Community College (Arnold, Maryland)
6. Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Main Campus (Indiana, Pennsylvania)
7. Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania (Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania)
8. University of Central Oklahoma (Edmond, Oklahoma)
9. Community College of the Air Force (Montgomery, Alabama)
10. Odessa College (Odessa, Texas)

See All Occupational Safety and Health Technology/Technician Schools

Employment and Job Outlook for Occupational Health and Safety Technicians

Number of People in Profession

10,070

Changing Employment (2008-2018)

Employment is projected to grow faster than average (increase 14 - 19%).

Many private companies either contract or hire their own occupational health and safety technicians. Many occupational health and safety technicians work for government agencies, manufacturing firms, educational services, administrative and support services, and public and private hospitals.

Occupational health and safety technicians who are knowledgeable in more than one health and safety specialty will have the best job prospects available to them. The demand for a safe and healthy work environment increases the need for occupational health and safety technicians.

Changes in regulations, increasing public expectations, safety equipment and threats will all require the work of an occupational health and safety technician. Little or no supervision is usually required for occupational health and safety technicians when completing routine job tasks, even though many work under the supervision of occupational health and safety specialists. Since little supervision is required, many employers work with more technicians and fewer specialists. The increase in those working from home as well as industry firms off shoring their operations may hinder the amount of work necessary for an occupational health and safety technician.

Those who retire, leave the workplace or transfer will create more jobs for occupational health and safety technicians.

Occupational health and safety technicians working for the Federal, State, or local government may feel more secure in their job since they are less likely to be affected by the economy, unlike technicians working in the private sector.

Earnings and Salary for Occupational Health and Safety Technicians

Median annual wages of occupational health and safety technicians are $44,830. The middle 50 percent earn between $34,980 and $57,130. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $27,080, and the highest 10 percent earn more than $72,300.

Annual Salary for Occupational Health and Safety Technicians

On average, Occupational Health and Safety Technicians earn $44,830 per year.

10% 25% 75% 90% $27,080/yr $34,980/yr $57,130/yr $72,300/yr

Hourly Wage for Occupational Health and Safety Technicians

On average, Occupational Health and Safety Technicians earn $21.56 per hour.

10% 25% 75% 90% $13.02 $16.82 $27.47 $34.76

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook