Occupational Health and Safety Specialist Career

Job Description: 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.


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Occupational Health and Safety Specialist Career

What Occupational Health and Safety Specialists do:

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

What work activities are most important?

Importance Activities

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material - Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

Provide Consultation and Advice to Others - Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.

Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Interacting With Computers - Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Developing and Building Teams - Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.

Communicating with Persons Outside Organization - Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

Developing Objectives and Strategies - Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.

Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information - Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.

Scheduling Work and Activities - Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others - Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.

Thinking Creatively - Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

Selling or Influencing Others - Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.

Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others - Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates - Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.

Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People - Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.

Coaching and Developing Others - Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.

Assisting and Caring for Others - Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.

Performing Administrative Activities - Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.

Monitoring and Controlling Resources - Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.

Staffing Organizational Units - Recruiting, interviewing, selecting, hiring, and promoting employees in an organization.

Performing for or Working Directly with the Public - Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.

Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment - Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.

Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment - Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.

Performing General Physical Activities - Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.

Controlling Machines and Processes - Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).

Holland Code Chart for an Occupational Health and Safety Specialist