Career Spotlight: Safety Technician
The role of the safety technician in today’s workplace is an important one. Safety technicians help ensure that workplaces of all types, from factories to office buildings, are safe for employees.
Their role is primarily one of prevention: stopping injuries and accidents before they happen, especially those that could lead to injuries and illness. Employees aren’t the only concern, however. Safety technicians are also charged with protecting damage to property and any on-site equipment.
Safety technicians should have an understanding of OSHA regulations and be able to identify workplace hazards and risks. A bachelor’s degree in occupational health and safety, such as the online program offered by Eastern Kentucky University, can provide the type of comprehensive background graduates need for careers as safety technicians or similar roles in the occupational safety field.
Responsibilities of Safety Technicians
The safety technician job description, according to OSHAcademy, is to protect employees, facilities, the public, and the environment from occupational hazards. Common responsibilities can include:
- Collecting data on safety and overall health of surroundings
- Conducting extensive tests and measuring hazards
- Working in a wide variety of spaces, including offices, factories, or mines
- Evaluating equipment to ensure that workers and managers adhere to government regulations
- Collecting samples of possibly toxic materials for analysis
- Demonstrating proper use of safety equipment
Duties or qualifications commonly associated with a safety technician can include:
- Working with specialists to collect samples of possible hazards, such as dust
- Understanding and following all appropriate government rules, standards, and regulations
- Finding solutions that serve to combat and control workplace hazards
- Traveling when necessary, especially in the case of an emergency
- Using technical skills to operate computers or testing equipment
Technicians aren’t limited to maintaining health and safety. In many cases, they also help save their organizations financially.
“Technicians work with specialists to increase worker productivity by reducing the number of worker absences and equipment downtime,” according to Truity Psychometrics, which creates research-based personality and career assessments. “These actions save companies money by lowering insurance premiums and workers’ compensation payments, preventing government fines, and improving productivity and product quality.”
Possible Career Paths
In general, those studying toward or working in safety careers enjoy what they do. Reasons include appreciating the variety of their responsibilities, which can range from day-to-day tasks to assisting directly in employees’ welfare.
According to a survey by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP), 90% of people in health and safety occupations are either “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their safety careers.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, at least 101,800 health and safety technicians are working nationwide. Job growth is estimated at 8%.
Other occupational health and safety careers may include full-time, part-time, and consultant roles as safety consultants, safety managers, safety trainers, or safety specialists. More specialized roles include health physics technicians, industrial or occupational hygiene technicians, and mine examiners.
While salaries vary according to the level of education, experience, and credentials earned, an entry-level safety technician can expect to earn $30,000 a year or more, according to according to OSHAcademy.
Median salary in 2018 was $50,780, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Safety technicians with additional experience and credentials can earn $80,000 a year or more.
Future Career Trends
The BLS predicts that overall employment of occupational health and safety specialists and technicians is projected to grow at an average-to-steady rate through 2026.
Even though a growth rate of 8% is considered to average for all occupational health and safety careers, jobs specifically for safety technicians are expected to grow slightly quicker than their counterparts.
“Employment of occupational health and safety technicians is projected to grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations,” according to the BLS.
About Eastern Kentucky University’s Online Bachelor of Science in Occupational Safety
Eastern Kentucky University’s online Bachelor of Science in Occupational Safety can prepare students for a range of occupational health and safety careers, including positions as safety technicians.
Coursework may include classes in hazard identification and control, workers’ compensation, environmental law and management, and human factors in occupational safety.
The program’s online format allows students to pursue their degree while maintaining professional and personal responsibilities. For more information, contact EKU now.
Definition: Career Paths in Safety: OSHA
Occupational health and safety technician: Truity
Career paths: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Salary potential: OSHA
Career trends: Bureau of Labor Statistics