Career Spotlight: Safety Technician

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A safety technician holding blueprints speaks into a two-way radio.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 harm 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 can provide the type of comprehensive background graduates need for careers as safety technicians or similar roles in the occupational safety field.

Safety Technician Job Description

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.”

Safety Technician Salary

While salaries vary, an entry-level safety technician can expect to earn $30,000 a year or more, according to OSHAcademy. The median annual salary associated with the role in 2019 was $51,550, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The highest 10% of safety technicians earn an annual median salary of $89,720. Salaries can range based on job location, organization, years of experience, education level and other factors.

Safety Technician Job Outlook

The BLS predicts the overall employment of occupational health and safety specialists and technicians is projected to grow at an average-to-steady rate through 2029. A growth rate of  4% is considered average for all occupational health and safety careers. Safety technicians jobs are expected to grow slightly quicker, with 5% projected growth between 2019 and 2029.

How to Become a Safety Technician

Those who are looking to work in the field of occupational health and safety can prepare for the role of a safety technician by earning a degree. A Bachelor of Science in Occupational Safety or a related field can provide individuals with a strong educational foundation. Some relevant courses can include: Workplace Risk Factors, Development of Safety Programs, Emergency Management, Construction Safety, Corporate Compliance, and Management Techniques.

After earning a degree, an individual can gain experience through volunteer work or on-the-job training. Learning to recognize safety hazards and risks is an essential aspect of becoming a safety technician. Conducting tests in accord with safety standards and adhering to state or federal regulations is an important component of a technician’s training.

Some employers may require certification, while others may only recommend it. Different organizations, such as the Board of Certified Safety Professionals, offer various certifications. Some certifications include: Certified Safety Professional (CSP), Associate Safety Professional (ASP), Occupational Health and Safety Technologist (OHST) and Construction Health and Safety Technician (CHST).

Types of Safety Technician Jobs

In general, those studying toward or working in safety careers enjoy what they do. They appreciate 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 BLS, at least 122,600 health and safety technicians are working nationwide. Other occupational health and safety careers may include full-time, part-time and contract roles as safety consultants, safety managers, safety trainers or safety specialists. More specialized roles include the following.

Child Passenger Safety Technician

Child passenger safety technicians stay updated about the latest technologies and regulations regarding child passenger safety. They host seminars, presentations or training sessions, and teach classes about child safety seats. They regularly provide valuable information for communities, parents, legal guardians and caregivers regarding the safety and well-being of infant and child passengers. They can work independently, for community centers or hold positions in health care organizations.

Construction Health and Safety Technician

Construction health and safety technicians work primarily with construction management teams. They identify potential risks and safety hazards, and develop plans specific to the needs of certain job sites. They examine and analyze safety contracts for organizations and maintain records of site inspections and hazards. Additionally, they assess the safety needs of construction workers and provide them with important training materials or conduct training sessions.

Occupational Health and Safety Technician

According to the BLS, 21% of occupational health and safety technicians work in manufacturing. They also hold positions in government organizations, construction, management and hospitals. Primary duties include inspecting and creating written reports of workplace environments, investigating past workplace incidents and providing training sessions for workers to prevent workplace incidents from occurring again.

Earn Your Occupational Safety Degree

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 such as: Hazard Identification and Control, Workers’ Compensation, Environmental Law and Management, and Human Factors in Occupational Safety. The program’s online format enables students to pursue their degree while maintaining professional and personal responsibilities.

Recommended Readings

Identifying and Analyzing Workplace Hazards

Top 6 Hurdles to Implementing a Successful Safety Program

Occupational Safety and Sustainability

Sources:

National CPS Certification, Become  a CPS Technician”

OSHA, Career Paths in Safety

Truity, Occupational Health and Safety Technician

United Rentals, What Is a Construction Health and Safety Technician?

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Health and Safety Specialists and Technicians