What do Occupational Health and Safety Specialists do?

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. Includes environmental protection officers.

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

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