Career Development

What Does a Safety Engineer Do?

Find out what a safety engineer does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a safety engineer.

Safety engineers are responsible for ensuring that their company or organization is operating in a safe manner. They commonly work with industrial equipment, chemicals, and other materials that could be dangerous if handled improperly. Safety engineers also commonly develop safety policies and procedures to ensure that employees know how to safely handle these materials.

Safety Engineer Job Duties

A safety engineer typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Conducting research on new technologies to improve safety measures or reducing risk factors involved in an accident
  • Providing training and instruction on safety protocols, procedures, and equipment to employees
  • Conducting investigations into accidents to determine their causes and effects, including interviewing witnesses and examining evidence of damage to machinery or other items involved in the accident
  • Inspecting equipment or facilities to ensure they are safe for use
  • Developing, reviewing, and updating safety policies, procedures, and plans for the workplace or facility
  • Reviewing safety records to identify potential hazards and implement corrective measures
  • Evaluating employee performance to ensure safety compliance
  • Performing accident investigations to determine causes and contributing factors
  • Creating and implementing workplace or facility safety plans to prevent accidents or mitigate potential damages caused by accidents

Safety Engineer Salary & Outlook

Safety engineers’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the size and industry of the company. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses.

  • Median Annual Salary: $92,500 ($44.47/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $275,000 ($132.21/hour)

The employment of safety engineers is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Safety engineers will be needed to ensure that companies continue to provide a safe work environment for their employees. In addition, demand for these workers should increase as more companies hire safety engineers to help them comply with OSHA regulations and other safety standards.

Related: 25 Safety Engineer Interview Questions and Answers

Safety Engineer Job Requirements

A safety engineer typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Safety engineers are typically required to have a bachelor’s degree in safety, health, risk management or a related field. Some of the coursework that these programs include is risk assessment, safety management, safety auditing, safety program development and safety program implementation.

Training & Experience: Much of a safety engineer’s training will take place while obtaining their education. Students will learn about safety regulations, safety procedures and how to apply them in the workplace. They will also learn about the different types of hazards and how to prevent them.

Once hired, a safety engineer will receive on-the-job training to learn more about the company’s specific safety procedures. They will also learn about the equipment and machinery used in the workplace.

Certifications & Licenses: Safety engineers can acquire several certifications that demonstrate their expertise in the field. Some employers require these certifications. Other safety engineers may choose to acquire these credentials to improve their qualifications before seeking a new job or to advance their career once they have been hired.

Safety Engineer Skills

Safety engineers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Technical skills: Safety engineers need technical skills to understand and use the tools and technology used in their profession. They may need to read and interpret technical manuals, use computer programs to create safety plans and analyze data to identify potential hazards.

Communication skills: Safety engineers use their communication skills to convey information to their team and clients. They also use their communication skills to review safety procedures with employees and to train new employees.

Problem-solving skills: Safety engineers use problem-solving skills to identify potential hazards and develop solutions to prevent accidents. They use this skill to develop safety protocols, train employees and develop emergency response plans. Safety engineers use problem-solving skills to identify the root cause of accidents and determine the best way to prevent them from happening again.

Analytical skills: Safety engineers use analytical skills to review and evaluate workplace hazards, identify potential risks and develop strategies to mitigate them. They use analytical skills to review and evaluate workplace safety procedures, conduct inspections and assess the effectiveness of safety measures.

Leadership skills: Safety engineers often work with other professionals in their field, including other safety engineers, supervisors and managers. Leadership skills can help you work with others to create a safe work environment. You can use your leadership skills to motivate your team to follow safety protocols and procedures.

Safety Engineer Work Environment

Safety engineers work in a variety of settings, including office buildings, factories, and construction sites. They may spend time in both indoor and outdoor environments, depending on their employer and the specific job duties. Safety engineers typically work full time, and some may work more than 40 hours per week to meet deadlines or to respond to emergencies. Some safety engineers travel to worksites around the country or internationally to conduct safety audits or to provide training on safety procedures.

Safety Engineer Trends

Here are three trends influencing how safety engineers work. Safety engineers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for a More Integrated Approach to Safety

The need for a more integrated approach to safety is becoming increasingly important as businesses become more global and complex. This trend is leading to an increased demand for safety engineers who can provide a more comprehensive view of the risks that employees and customers face.

Safety engineers can capitalize on this trend by developing skills in areas such as risk assessment, incident investigation, and product design. They can also work to build relationships with other departments within their company, such as HR and marketing, in order to create a more cohesive safety culture.

More Focus on Cybersecurity

As businesses become more reliant on technology, the need for cybersecurity professionals will continue to grow.

Safety engineers are in a unique position to take advantage of this trend, as they have the expertise needed to protect both people and property from cyber threats. By focusing on cybersecurity, safety engineers can set themselves apart from the competition and ensure that their clients are protected from the latest threats.

A Greater Emphasis on Resilience Engineering

Resilience engineering is a relatively new field that focuses on designing systems to be more resilient to failure. This includes things like creating backup systems and redundancies, as well as testing products to make sure that they can withstand different types of failures.

As resilience engineering becomes more popular, safety engineers will need to learn how to implement these principles into their designs. This will help to ensure that products are safe and reliable, even in the event of unexpected failures.

How to Become a Safety Engineer

A career as a safety engineer can be rewarding in many ways. It offers the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives, to help create a safer environment for workers and the public, and to contribute to the development of new technologies that can improve safety.

As a safety engineer, you will need to have a strong understanding of the engineering principles related to safety, such as biomechanics, materials science, and human factors. You will also need to be able to apply these principles to real-world situations and develop solutions that are both effective and practical.

In addition to your technical skills, it is important that you have good communication and problem-solving skills. As a safety engineer, you will often be required to work with other professionals from different disciplines, so it is important that you can communicate effectively and collaborate effectively with others.

Advancement Prospects

Safety engineers typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering, although some jobs may require a master’s degree. Many safety engineers have degrees in occupational safety. In addition, safety engineers must be familiar with a variety of computer software programs, including those used for statistical analysis, engineering analysis, and database management.

As with most engineering occupations, experience is important for safety engineers. Many safety engineers start their careers as safety technicians or industrial hygienists. With experience, they may advance to positions such as safety manager, director of safety, or corporate safety director. Some safety engineers eventually become consultants.

Safety Engineer Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we are committed to providing a safe and healthy work environment for our employees. We are looking for a Safety Engineer to join our team and help us maintain our high standards of safety. The ideal candidate will have a degree in Occupational Safety and Health or a related field, as well as experience conducting safety audits and investigations. He or she will be responsible for developing and implementing safety programs, conducting safety training, and investigating accidents. The Safety Engineer will also be responsible for maintaining compliance with safety regulations.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Investigate industrial accidents, injuries, and occupational diseases to determine their causes and to prescribe methods to prevent their recurrence
  • Inspect buildings, machinery, equipment, and working conditions to ensure compliance with safety standards and government regulations
  • Collect data on work environments for analysis by occupational health and safety specialists
  • Develop and conduct educational programs on topics such as accident prevention, fire fighting, and chemical handling
  • Investigate complaints of unsafe or unhealthy working conditions
  • Plan and implement safety policies, procedures, and systems to minimize the risk of injury, illness, and property damage
  • Review plans and specifications for new machinery and equipment to make sure that they meet safety requirements
  • Select personal protective equipment and designs, or modify existing designs to protect workers from hazardous materials or dangerous situations
  • Prepare safety reports that document findings and recommend corrective actions
  • Conduct or coordinate safety audits of facilities, operations, and processes
  • Collaborate with other engineers and professionals to address health and safety issues
  • Keep abreast of advances in technology that could affect health and safety in the workplace

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in engineering, safety, or related field
  • 5+ years experience in safety engineering or management
  • Working knowledge of safety regulations (OSHA, MSHA, etc.)
  • Thorough understanding of industrial processes and hazards
  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Strong communication and presentation skills

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in engineering, safety, or related field
  • Professional safety certification (ASSE, CSP, etc.)
  • 7+ years experience in safety engineering or management
  • Experience developing and implementing safety programs
  • Familiarity with incident reporting software


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