Careers and Wage Info
What can I do with a degree in Occupational Safety and Health?
Occupational Safety and Health is a very broad career field. You may end up with a career in industrial hygiene, environmental health, public health inspector, working for a healthcare facility or as a safety manager and professional. These are a few examples that you might do on the job:
Making sure that people follow rules, laws and regulations. Day care facilities must follow certain rules ensuring the health and safety of the children that they care for. As an environmental health specialist you might inspect a day care facility to determine if workers are handling food safely, making sure the facility has up to date immunization records, and whether the general sanitation is adequate. Based upon your findings you make recommendations to the city as to whether or not the facility should keep their license. You may also inspect other facilities, such as restaurants, schools, solid waste facilities, water wells, public pools and worksites.
You might interview employees who have been exposed to hazardous materials as part of an investigation. Workers who are exposed to chemicals or other dangerous substances may be complaining of illnesses.As an occupational health specialist you would interview the workers about their work routine, projects, and other lifestyle factors to determine how they were exposed to the chemicals, what chemicals they were exposed to, and if they are the cause of their illness.
You might respond to complaints. As a corporate occupational health and safety a pregnant woman may ask you if she should change her job, job tasks, or stop working all together because she is concerned that the chemicals she works with may be harmful to her unborn baby. You are responsible for determining if the working conditions are safe
Providing trainings is also part of your job. As an occupational health professional you might train food service workers how to safely handle and prepare food, or you may be responible for training employees on the safe and proper use of Personal Protective Equipment(PPE).
Making recommendations to improve health and safety in the workplace. As an occupational health and safety specialist, you will be responsible for improving the health and safety of employees. This can range from increasing the lighting or ventilation system to modifying the process of how certain tasks and procedures are performed.
You may collect samples for laboratory analysis. You may be asked to collect water samples from a well to see if it is contaminated. You may also monitor workers exposure to radiation, chemicals and other harmful substances with the use of sampling equipment including monitors, badges and personal sampling pumps.
You may be responsible for filling out OSHA reports. These include the 300 Log, 300A and 301 Forms as well as calculating the incident and DART rates.
Education and Certifications
While you can be hired with a bachelor's degree, many require a graduate degree or further training along professional credentials. Some common certifications include the CIH, CSP.