Environmental health and safety engineers are involved in planning, implementing, and coordinating the health and safety programs in a work environment to eliminate the potential hazards affecting the overall safety measures implemented in the workplace. They need to apply the engineering principles and technology for identifying, monitoring, and eliminating the potential hazards like risk of injury, workplace damage, etc., from the workplace.
The main task of an environmental health and safety engineer is to design and install safety devices like fire alarms, fire extinguishers, etc., in and around the workplace, monitor and maintain the temperature, air quality, radiation, noise level, etc., in the workplace which affects the overall safety of workers and the workplace. They also need to coordinate with external environmental health and safety organizations like fire department or Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) for ensuring the workplace safety in case of emergencies. Apart from this, they also need to design a health and safety program for the workers, which includes training the workers on practicing appropriate safety procedures, handling the safety equipment and devices, and designing safety uniforms for them.
The key responsibilities of an environmental health and safety engineer comprise:
Required Qualifications and Skills
The basic qualification requirement for obtaining a post in this profile is a Bachelor's degree in engineering. Along with this, for working as an environmental health and safety engineer, one has to obtain a license for the same. For getting the license, one is required to have a degree from an accredited engineering program, relevant work experience of approximately four years, and obtain a passing score on a state examination. A special certification program by The American Society of Safety Engineers is also available in this field. A candidate applying in federal, state, or government regulatory agencies needs to take an additional civil service examination for obtaining a post in this position. The candidates applying in private manufacturing firms are not required to take this exam.
Demand for environmental health and safety engineers is expected to grow at the average rate by the year 2014, and the demand for these professionals may increase with increase in demand for maintaining healthy and safe workplace.
The average median salary of an environmental health and safety professional falls around $63,730 annually, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. As the person gets experience, he is given more important projects, and thus it gets him the potential to earn more than $92,870 per year.
An environmental health and safety engineer needs to perform various roles and responsibilities for accomplishing the task assigned to him. His work schedule comprises performing both indoor and outdoor activities, dealing with workplace hazards, and maintaining the environmental health and safety. It is an high level job which requires one to have expertise knowledge and qualifications. Knowing about the environmental health and safety responsibilities will guide you in regarding the career steps you should take for acquiring your goal.