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How to become a health and safety engineer

Accidents can occur at any time and in any place. If they are extreme enough, they will do significant harm to valuable properties. With reasonable precautions and appropriate safety protocols, the risks of an accident occurring are nearly none. A health and safety engineer will assist with safety concerns. They devise methods to deter occupational injuries in offices and other facilities.

The role of a safety engineer varies depending on the sector in which they are working. However, their duties entail overseeing the execution of legislation and safety procedures through maintenance reviews and frequent evaluations, collaborating with department representatives to gather information, identify risks, and establish preventive actions.

Safety Engineers ensure that the workplace is both efficient and healthy for workers. Many businesses and private companies employ committed applicants, paying at least $21.21 per hour. A bachelor's degree in health and safety is necessary for such jobs, but many practitioners in the industry have a master's certification.

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What is the role of a Safety Engineer?

Health and safety engineers create processes and mechanisms to protect individuals from becoming ill or wounded and to protect the infrastructure. They employ their knowledge and experience to determine that chemicals, equipment, electronics, furniture, and other consumer goods do not hurt people or destroy structures.

Duties of Health and Safety engineer

The duties of health and safety engineers involve the following:

  • Examine proposals and designs for modern machinery and facilities to ensure they follow safety standards.
  • Inspect buildings, vehicles, and protective devices to identify and fix possible dangers.
  • Examine the efficacy of different industrial control systems.
  • Check that facilities or goods comply with health and safety requirements, particularly after an assessment that revealed improvements.
  • Install or guide the application of safety equipment on machinery.
  • Examine occupational protection policies and make suggestions for changes.
  • Keep existing laws, rules, and manufacturing procedures in perspective and apply them.

Health and safety experts analyze industrial crashes, damages, and workplace disorders to identify their origins and whether the occurrence is avoidable in the future. They conduct interviews with employers and staff to hear about working conditions and events that result in fatalities. They assess the fixes made to address violations noticed during health inspections.

Engineers who work in health and safety are also involved in two different areas: workplace wellness and occupational hygiene. The consequences of chemical, physical, and biological substances are the subject of industrial hygiene. They identify, assess, and monitor these factors to prevent people from being ill or hurt.

For instance, they can predict that a production method may emit various harmful chemicals and suggest either a process change or a mechanism to capture and regulate the chemical. In industrial hygiene, health and safety engineers analyze the workplace climate and then employ science and engineering to measures improvements to keep employees from getting ill or wounded.

They assist employers and staff in better understanding risks and improving working standards and procedures. For example, they may notice that the sound level in a facility is likely to impact workers' listening and suggest solutions to limit the noise level. Safety officers can modify buildings, such as reducing exposure duration or enabling employees to wear effective protective equipment.

Types of Health and Safety Engineers

Health and safety engineering is a diverse discipline that encompasses a wide range of tasks. Here is a list of the types of health and safety engineers;

  • Aerospace safety engineers monitor warheads, radars, and satellites to ensure it is working as intended.
  • Fire prevention and protection engineers construct fire prevention mechanisms for all types of structures. During the planning process of new developments or repairs, they frequently work with architects. They must be certified and up to date with fire policies and standards.
  • Product safety engineers identify the cause of fatalities that may have occurred due to the use or exploitation of an item. They develop strategies that mitigate or remove food safety concerns. They also assist in the development of new products to reduce deaths, infections, and collateral loss.
  • Systems safety engineers specialize in different areas, like aerospace, and expanding into new ones, including software protection, clinical safety, and environment protection. Such engineers use a framework to classify risks to prevent collisions and wounds.

Steps on how to become a Health and Safety Engineer

A college degree, usually in an engineering field like chemical, mechanical, automotive, or systems integration, is necessary to become a health and safety engineers. Occupational or industrial health is another relevant area of research. Companies appreciate hands-on training, but cooperative-education engineering courses at colleges are beneficial as well.

Education

Students in high school who want to become health and safety engineers should take math and science classes in high schools, like arithmetic, calculus, arithmetic, chemistry, physics. A bachelor's degree is essential for entry jobs. Bachelor's degree courses are usually four years long and involve classroom, research, and fieldwork.

Students who want to work as health and safety professional may take courses in occupational safety and health, workplace health, ergonomic design, and environmental protection. Courses in mechanical, electrical, and structural engineering and classes in systems integration and fire safety engineering provide excellent training for this career. ABET certifies engineering courses.  

Students who want to work in the latest area of software safety engineering must consider pursuing a computer science degree.

Cooperative training services are available at many educational institutions, allowing students to obtain professional knowledge when pursuing their studies.

A few academic institutions have 5-year accelerated courses that enable students to earn both a bachelor's and a master's degree. Engineers with a master's degree can enter the industry at a higher job position.

Qualities of a Health and Safety Engineer

  1. Creativity - Health and safety engineers create drawings that depict possible challenges and solutions. To cope with problems that are peculiar to a project, they have to be innovative.
  2. Critical-thinking abilities - Health and safety engineers should be capable of detecting threats to people and property in the office or at home until they incur material harm or pose a health risk.
  3. Observational skills - Engineers have to study and understand how procedures work to recognize threats to persons and property. It necessitates the need to consider in terms of general organizational processes. Then they can propose structural improvements to reduce damages.
  4. Problem-solving skills - Health and safety engineers must consider procedures from several systems while implementing strategies for whole corporate activities. Besides this, they must attempt to predict a broad range of human responses to the modifications they suggest.
  5. Reading abilities - Engineers should have reading skills to grasp federal and state regulations and their purposes to suggest suitable designs for specific job environments.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Entry-level jobs do not need licenses. One should obtain a Professional Engineering certification, which leads to higher standards of management and flexibility. A PE may supervise the activities of other professionals, check off on projects, and offer relevant services to the people.

The requirements for state licensure are;

  • An education degree from an ABET-authorized course.
  • Completing the Fundamentals of an Engineering test.
  • Job experience that is appropriate, usually at least four years.

After completing a degree, one will sit for the first FE test. Professionals who finish this test are engineers in training or engineer interns. Since obtaining the job experience criteria, EITs and EIs are eligible to take the second test, known as the Principles and Practice of Engineering.

Although a few states need authorized health and safety engineers. Licenses are for those seeking a career in systems safety engineering. Engineers must typically complete continued education to hold their credentials in states that need authorization. Many states accept licenses from other states whether the authorizing state's standards are equivalent to or surpass their license criteria. In most cases, certification is necessary to progress into managerial roles.

Relevant certifications for health and safety engineers usually include the following;

  • Industrial Hygienist Certification (CIH)
  • Certified Systems Engineering Professional (CSEP)
  • Certified Safety Professional (CSP)
  • Certificate in Safety Management (CSM)
  • Associate Safety Professional (ASP)
  • Occupational Health and Safety Technologist (OHST)

In most cases, new health and safety engineers operate under the direction of more qualified engineers. A graduate degree like a master's degree in engineering or a Master's in Public Health course is to perform more complex tasks with maximum flexibility.

A master's degree enables an engineer to design and execute safety systems. For most leadership roles, a credential as a safety specialist or an occupational hygienist is a requirement. 

Role of Health & Safety Engineer

The occupational health and safety officer is constantly on the lookout for possible hazards that may result in actual or potential harm. As per the National Safety Council, constant caution is necessary. The NSC's workplace safety audits also expose office and warehouse risks such as damp surfaces, loose fences, blocked fire escapes, and defective electric cables.

Protection may be designed into conveyor belt construction and manufacturing machinery by collaborating with architects and engineers. An ergonomic overview is also vital in determining how to modify jobs to reduce the chance of repetitive motion conditions, chemical exposure, limb loss, and muscle twists. 

The objective of the safety officer is to prevent accidents while simultaneously minimizing the employer's liability in occupational accident cases and litigation. The occupational health and safety officer must oversee and review the workplace continuously. For example, machine guards on conveyors must monitor to ensure they are in position and examine electrical equipment regularly to avoid injuries.

Safety Training

Another aspect of the occupational health and safety engineer is to educate employees on the corporation's safety procedures. Provide educational services either online or on-site. Give protective equipment if necessary, as well as directions for correct use to the employees. Live presentations and hands-on experience will help to improve occupational safety even more.

Managing materials, dealing with hydraulic systems, handling power drills, lifting strategies, and protective gear for loud noise are only a few of the things that an occupational health and safety engineer might cover. Training instructions are compiled into several languages to ensure that the employees understand how to stay well.

Salary and Job Growth Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies health and safety inspectors as occupational safety professionals or engineers. As per the BLS, occupational health and safety professionals usually have a graduate degree and receive a total annual wage of $71,780 in May 2017. Engineers have an associate's or bachelor's degree, a diploma, or on-the-job experience, and they earn an annual salary of $49,960.

From 2016 to 2026, the market for workplace health and safety professionals and engineers will rise by 4%. Throughout this period, 8,600 jobs will be available. In May 2017, about 101,800 workers in the United States were working in this profession.

Health & Safety Engineering Job Description

Companies consider maintaining a stable and secure environment. A Health and Safety Engineer's job is to ensure the well-being of employees, customers, and guests in the office. The following skills are necessary for this role;

  • A Bachelor's degree in an area of research such as security or technological engineering.
  • Outstanding computer and technical interaction qualifications are vital.
  • Determination to perform professionally as well as working in a team.
  • Obtain knowledge about health and safety development technologies and values.
  • Offer health and safety training to management and staff.  
  • Regularly conduct health and safety reviews and evaluations.
  • Skill to keep correct records and notes on inspection data.
  • Create countermeasures based on review outcomes and guide workers to carry them out.
  • Taking care of worker's injury proceedings and remain vigilant about occupational accidents, assess case specifics and protocols to prevent injury recurrence.
  • Establish the required personal protective equipment for the place of work that items are well supplied.
  • Conform with all health and safety legislation and rules, and make sure that employees do as well.
  • Strengthen and preserve the health and welfare of all workers.

A Senior Health and Safety Engineer may coordinate and administer significantly bigger health and safety projects. Many of the qualifications for a senior role are often essential for an entry-level job role.

  • Acquire a college degree in a safety or mechanical engineering area of study and many years of management and professional expertise in the health and safety sector.
  • Potential to relay technical information to various audiences in a simple way.
  • Ability to indicate that disciplinary decisions are ready and coherently generating reports.
  • Create safety training methods and procedures and provide them to the workers.
  • Create comprehensive budgets detailing the business's health and safety requirements like necessary PPE and any repair costs of disciplinary measures.
  • Maintain and plan health and safety policies and services.
  • Create health and safety plans and practices.
  • Supervise the development of proactive steps to ensure that they are achievable as quickly as possible.
  • Review all facets of workplace inquiries relating to health and safety.
  • Encourage a healthy working atmosphere for both employees, clients, and guests.

FAQs

Q1. What qualifications are required to be a safety engineer?

Answer: A college degree in engineering, industrial technology, systems engineering, or business administration from a reputed institution is mandatory to become a health and safety engineer.

Q2. What is the difference between a safety officer and a safety engineer?

Answer: Safety officer

Work health & safety experts are also called safety officials. They primarily pursue workplace health and safety and must have a graduate degree. Their job can require them to move around a lot and access tight, cramped spaces when carrying out their duties. Their responsibilities include upholding occupational policies to ensure that their workers' working conditions are clean. The average salary of a safety officer is $70,480, and 6percent rise in jobs from 2018-2028 as per the Bureau of labor statistics. Their job responsibilities involve the following;

  • Conducting inspections to determine possible safety risks.
  • Make sure the workplace adheres to relevant safety standards.
  • Speaking with staff about injuries or events that require investigation.
  • Giving suggestions for improvements to promote security.
  • Educating employees on how to relate to workplace incidents.

Safety engineer

A college degree is necessary to pursue a career as a safety engineer. They usually focus on manufacturing, but they may also specialize in workplace health and safety. Safety engineers work in production and building firms, and they operate mainly in an office setting. They may have to attend construction sites on occasion. The average salary of a safety engineer is $91,410, and a 5percent rise in jobs from 2018-2028 as per the BLS.

Their job responsibilities entail;

  • Going to construction projects or other places.
  • Choosing acceptable safety procedures for utilizing the equipment.
  • Examining existing rules to ensure compliance.
  • Update safety guidelines for staff protection.
  • Evaluating accidents at work.

Q3. How long does it take to become a safety engineer?

Answer

  • Education - Bachelor's degree required
  • Degree Field - Industrial, electrical, mechanical, or chemical engineering or other related fields
  • 2 to 5 years of experience 

Q4. In which industry a health and safety engineer work?

Answer: A health and safety engineer's employment is measurable by their experience and background. They may work in developing substances, engineering, or health and safety devices. The vast majority of H&S Engineers operate in the manufacturing sector. Their duties vary in this framework. They may function in the real world by checking that the facility is as secure as necessary for the workers. Construction employs 21% of the workforce, attaining much in the same positions. They can work on-site to maintain that the procedures, systems, and technologies are secure for anyone who works there. They are in charge of receiving, installing and repairing facilities. 10% of trained health and safety professionals serve in government - both state and federal. They can develop and incorporate structures and technologies for public areas to assure staff and visitor safety. 8% will operate in technical services. And the remaining 4% will function in management and science services. Irrespective of their workplace, they devote most of their time to carry out site visits.

Q5. What type of professional bodies or associations do health and safety engineers have?

Answer:  Occupational Health & Safety Professional bodies/ Associations

  • National Safety Council (NSC)
  • American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA)
  • World Safety Organization (WSO)
  • American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP)

Environmental Associations

  • American Academy of Environmental Engineers (AAEES)
  • National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP)
  • Air & Waste Management Association (AWMA)
  • National Association for EHS&S Management (NAEM)
  • National Environmental Health Association (NEHA)

Industry-specific associations

  • ASM International (ASM)
  • SAE International (SAE)
  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE)
  • Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (SME)

Q6. What are the different Occupational health and safety careers?

Answer: 

  1. Occupational Health and Safety Technicians utilize their qualification to ensure that all staff are functioning optimally in the office and are not unintentionally causing unsafe scenarios that may result in their accidents or conditions that harm others. These engineers check that all protective equipment operated on construction sites is accessible to the workers who require it and employs it adequately. They are also accountable for maintaining and implementing safety practices and procedures. These are called entry-level safety workers, but the total annual salary is up to $55,000, based on the sector.
  2.  Health and safety specialists may have a college degree as well as any industry knowledge. They are also well-paid among health and safety workers, with average annual salaries above $70,000. Specialists are frequently health and safety practitioners who started as technicians and advanced to the next stage after acquiring business expertise. These experts are the people who do the testing, design, and implementation of the requirements. They may also direct the activities of technicians, directly monitoring or testing to achieve the maximum degree of protection on the job.
  3. Occupational health and safety positions often necessitate the development of services or processes that entail using engineering abilities. Some educational institutions deliver engineering courses or specializations as part of their occupational health and safety courses or receive dual programs in safety and engineering to qualify for this specific major. Engineering workers in the area of safety view entire offices or work processes to develop policies and protocols that secure staff during the work period. These include developing advanced tools, reconfiguring the office structure, or providing new procedures that raise safety levels. The estimated annual salary for health and safety engineers is $88,510.

Q7. What are the top countries with the highest health and safety engineer salaries?

Answer: 

  1. Canada - $83,025
  2. Australia - $77,763
  3. United States - $88,700
  4. United Kingdom - $48,473
  5. Switzerland - $125,646
  6. Japan - $49,417
  7. Germany - $72,507
  8. Ireland - $73,265
  9. Austria - $47,655
  10. Belgium - $77,712

To apply for a health and safety engineer job positions, you will need a resume, check out this resource on how to write a health and safety engineer resume.

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