Since the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 took effect and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) formed, the number of careers available in the field of safety and environmental management has skyrocketed. And with the rapid rate of technological advancements and biological breakthroughs, the need for protection against safety threats is in high demand.
Safety and environmental management professionals serve as heroes to the community and are constantly needed to fill new positions. These individuals work together to ensure that each workplace meets all safety requirements set by OSHA and that workers can do their jobs without harm. Although professionals in this field share the same common goal, the roles they fill vary widely and encompass specific responsibilities.
Safety and Environmental Management Careers and Salaries
Along with its array of careers, the safety and environmental management field offers a range of competitive salaries that vary based on position and experience. The role you choose to pursue will determine your daily responsibilities and salary, so it's important to know the differences in the field's most popular positions.
Environmental Health and Safety Manager
An environmental health and safety (EHS) manager's primary responsibility is to maintain a company's compliance with OSHA. These professionals ensure compliance by installing proactive safety measures and training workers on safety policies and requirements. EHS managers also investigate accidents and improve safety standards for the prevention of future safety hazards. Annual salaries for this position typically begin at $52,000.
Safety Director (Construction)
Often in collaboration with an EHS manager, a safety director develops field safety training plans for employees of a workplace. This position is also responsible for the enforcement of safety policies and the implementation of risk management protocols while ensuring OSHA compliance. Annual salaries for this role generally range from $47,000 to $120,000.
Environmental Health and Safety Director
When emergencies strike, an environmental health and safety director comes to the rescue. Along with handling all types of safety crises within the workplace, EHS directors develop environmental policies and safety best practices to rectify accidents and prevent future environmental health and safety threats. Annual salaries for this position range between $68,000 and $150,000.
Environmental Health and Safety Advisor
The primary goal of this job is to provide safety training to company employees. Additionally, an environmental health and safety advisor is responsible for investigating safety concerns in the workplace. This individual is required to visit different departments and areas to identify potential safety hazards and provide immediate correction. EHS advisors also update documents regarding safety procedures and supply information necessary for future safety standards. The annual salary for this position typically falls between $52,000 and $116,000.
Like EHS advisors, safety managers also investigate accidents in the workplace. These professionals strive to keep the workplace safe by regulating safety inspections and conducting research to develop new methods of preventing workplace injuries. Annual salaries for this position start around $46,000 and can exceed $98,000.
Industries That Hire Safety and Environmental Management Professionals
Because safety is of significant concern at every workplace, professionals in the field of safety and environmental management are needed across nearly all industries. While some workplaces are relatively simple to maintain in terms of safety, others are much more dangerous and require the diligent work of safety and environmental management professionals to ensure they remain safe.
One of the world's largest, the automotive industry has also proved to be one of the most dangerous. From clunker repairs to building new models, professionals in the automotive industry face responsibilities that can involve heavy machinery and chemicals, both of which can potentially lead to disaster. Whether the task at hand involves welding metals, casting new materials or even cleaning machinery, the most important part of the job must always be safety.
Safety and environmental managers keep automotive professionals safe with unique machine-guarding materials and safety regulations developed specifically for the prevention of workplace accidents. Safety and environmental managers also conduct compliance audits to ensure that each workplace is up to par with the latest OSHA requirements.
Petrochemical professionals work closely with both chemical and natural energy sources to produce compounds needed for mass manufacturing facilities. While often working closely with harsh and very dangerous chemicals, it's vital that professionals in this field follow guidelines and conduct careful practice safety procedures during every moment on the job.
Safety and environmental managers in petrochemical workplaces are most concerned with protecting employees from unsafe levels of chemicals in the air, wastewater exposure and intense noises caused by chemical reactions that could potentially damage the employees' hearing. Safety and environmental managers offer protection in these types of workplaces by conducting regular inspections and audits and continuously updating safety policies that are in accordance with OSHA standards.
The manufacturing industry is one of great diversity. Producing everything from chemicals to household items, manufacturing facilities face safety risks daily. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 30 percent of all occupational illnesses and accidents occur among manufacturing workers.
With this alarmingly high rate of health and safety incidents, manufacturers rely on the critical support of safety and environmental management professionals to ensure safe workplaces. In addition to regulating machinery best practices and controlling air emissions, safety and environmental managers at manufacturing facilities must also prepare emergency protocols for potential accidents.
Become a Hero at the University of Findlay
The University of Findlay offers an online Master of Science in Environmental, Safety and Health Management degree that was ranked as one of best environmental science programs by Affordable Colleges Online in 2016. Students can earn their degree conveniently on their own schedules and prepare for a wide variety of careers. In addition, students can pursue a graduate certificate in one or more specialized areas:
- Emergency and disaster management
- Environmental management
- Occupational health and safety management