Occupational Health and Safety Technician

What Does an Occupational Health and Safety Technician Do?
Occupational health and safety is the field of ensuring that the work place is safe for everyone and everything that it affects, especially in factory and industrial environments. Occupational health and science technicians work under occupational health and safety specialists in making the work place safe for employees, business properties, the environment, and the general public. To do so, the technicians routinely take samples of the air and water in the work place and analyze it to make certain that it is free of harmful elements so that employee health for the short and long term is not compromised. They also measure noise and radiation levels and scrutinize potentially toxic materials, such as dust, gases, and liquids. Technicians are responsible for testing the safety and regulation of work place machinery as well. This is especially important when workers are operating big machinery that can be potentially deadly if not kept well-maintained. They check that workers are wearing regulatory safety equipment like hardhats and respirators and that the machinery is operating within safety standards.

What Is the Employment and Salary Outlook for an Occupational Health and Safety Technician?
The outlook for occupational health and safety technicians is a positive one. The role will grow as technology advances, inevitably creating more technological and environmental hazards in the work place, according to Kilgore College. This spike in potential work place hazards will boost the demand for experts in safety, especially occupational health and safety technicians. In fact, there will be more demand for technicians than specialists because technicians can function with very little supervision, making it more feasible to employ fewer specialists and more technicians. In addition to new openings from job growth itself, job openings will also come about from current technicians who are retiring, advancing to another position, or leaving the industry. Employment opportunities for occupational health and safety technicians will grow 14 percent through 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The salary for occupational health and safety technicians is substantial as well, with the national average settling in at a cool $45,360 annually, according to the latest information available from the Bureau.

How Can I Become an Occupational Health and Safety Technician?
Aspiring occupational health and safety technicians should expect to take a combination of formal schooling and on-the-job training. Most employers seek out technicians who have an associate degree. The field of study the technicians focus on is not heavily regulated, though earning an associate degree in business or a health-related field would be the most beneficial to future occupational health and safety technicians. An associate degree typically takes about two years to earn. Students should take courses in chemistry, biology, ethics, law, and other topics that will increase their understanding of industrial work environments and human safety. After completing an associate degree program, prospective occupational health and safety technicians have the option of receiving certification. Most employers prefer those who have earned certification, so it is in any serious technician’s best interest to obtain certification. Other job specific skills, such as inspection procedures and legal regulations of machinery, are taught to new technicians on the job site.