Career Development

What Does a Safety Specialist Do?

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

Safety specialists are responsible for ensuring that their company or organization is safe and hazard-free. They commonly work with a team of other safety professionals to develop, implement, and enforce safety policies and procedures.

Safety specialists may also be tasked with investigating accidents or incidents in order to determine the cause and how it could have been prevented. This information can then be used to inform future safety training programs or policy changes.

Safety Specialist Job Duties

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

  • Conducting investigations into accidents or incidents in order to determine causes and recommend measures to prevent similar occurrences in the future
  • Instructing workers on proper safety procedures and practices to follow at work
  • Coordinating with other personnel to ensure that the workplace is safe for employees to work in
  • Performing inspections of machinery and equipment to ensure that they are in good working order and safe to use
  • Recommending changes to processes or procedures that could improve safety in the workplace
  • Developing policies, training programs, and checklists for safe work practices for employees to follow
  • Conducting safety audits to identify hazards and recommend solutions for improvements
  • Evaluating and enforcing OSHA standards or other regulations related to safety in the workplace
  • Conducting training sessions on safety topics such as first aid or fire prevention

Safety Specialist Salary & Outlook

Safety specialists’ 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: $62,500 ($30.05/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $125,000 ($60.1/hour)

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

Employment growth will be driven by the need for workers to ensure the safety of workers and equipment in a variety of industries. In addition, the need to improve workplace safety will continue to drive demand for these workers.

Related: 25 Safety Specialist Interview Questions and Answers

Safety Specialist Job Requirements

A safety specialist typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Safety specialists are typically required to have a bachelor’s degree in occupational safety, health, engineering or a related field. Some of the coursework that these programs include is risk assessment, safety management, hazard control and safety auditing.

Training & Experience: Safety specialists typically receive on-the-job training. This training may include learning the company’s policies and procedures, as well as the equipment and machinery they use. Safety specialists may also receive training in first aid and CPR.

Certifications & Licenses: Safety specialists do not often earn certifications. However, some safety specialists may earn certifications to demonstrate their knowledge in a specific topic or to increase the likelihood that they will be a desirable candidate for employers.

Safety Specialist Skills

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

Communication skills: Safety specialists use communication skills to relay information to their team and supervisors. They also use these skills to communicate with clients and customers to explain safety procedures and regulations. Safety specialists use written communication skills to create reports and documentation.

Technical knowledge: Safety specialists need to have a basic understanding of electrical, mechanical and computer systems to ensure the safety of their workplace. They need to know how to operate and maintain equipment and machinery, as well as how to identify potential hazards and risks. Safety specialists also need to understand how to use and interpret safety regulations and standards.

Problem-solving skills: Safety specialists use problem-solving skills to identify hazards and develop solutions to prevent accidents. They use this skill to develop safety programs and train employees on how to handle emergency situations. Safety specialists also use problem-solving skills to identify the cause of accidents and determine the best way to handle the situation.

Attention to detail: Safety specialists need to be able to notice small details that may affect the safety of their team or the public. For example, they may notice a change in weather conditions that could affect the safety of a construction site. They may also notice a change in the behavior of a coworker that could indicate they are experiencing a mental health issue.

Leadership: Safety specialists often work in teams with other safety professionals, so leadership skills can be an asset in this profession. Safety specialists can use their leadership skills to motivate their team members, delegate tasks and encourage collaboration.

Safety Specialist Work Environment

Safety specialists work in a variety of settings, including office buildings, factories, mines, and construction sites. They typically work full time, and some may work more than 40 hours per week. Many safety specialists travel to different worksites to conduct safety audits or to provide training. Some safety specialists may be exposed to hazardous materials, such as asbestos, lead, or chemicals. Others may be exposed to noise levels that could damage their hearing. Safety specialists must take precautions to protect themselves from these hazards.

Safety Specialist Trends

Here are three trends influencing how safety specialists work. Safety specialists 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 More Cybersecurity Professionals

The need for more cybersecurity professionals is a trend that is quickly becoming apparent as businesses become increasingly reliant on technology. As more and more data is stored online, it becomes a target for hackers who are looking to steal valuable information or disrupt operations.

Safety specialists can capitalize on this trend by becoming certified in cybersecurity and developing the skills needed to protect businesses from cyberattacks. In addition, safety specialists can also work to educate employees about the dangers of phishing scams and other types of social engineering attacks.

More Focus on Preventative Measures

As businesses become more aware of the risks associated with workplace accidents, they are beginning to focus more on preventative measures. This means that safety specialists will need to be able to identify potential hazards and come up with ways to mitigate them.

In order to be successful in this field, safety specialists will need to be familiar with a wide range of products and technologies that can help to keep workers safe. They will also need to be able to communicate effectively with both management and employees in order to get buy-in for their ideas.

Greater Emphasis on Employee Engagement

Employee engagement has become an increasingly important topic in recent years as businesses have realized the impact that a disengaged workforce can have on productivity and profitability.

As safety specialists, you can play a key role in helping to improve employee engagement by providing support and guidance on how to create a safe and productive workplace environment. You can also help to promote a culture of communication and transparency between employees and management.

How to Become a Safety Specialist

A safety specialist career can be a great way to use your skills and experience in the field of safety. There are many different ways you can go about this, but one of the best ways is to become certified by an organization such as the National Safety Council (NSC). This will show employers that you have the necessary knowledge and skills to do the job well.

You can also build your resume by volunteering for local or state government agencies that deal with public safety. This will give you the opportunity to work with professionals in the field and learn from them. You can also take online courses or attend workshops on topics such as OSHA regulations, first aid, and CPR.

Advancement Prospects

There are many ways to advance in the field of safety, depending on the individual’s goals and interests. One way to advance is to get more education, which can lead to positions such as safety manager or safety director. Those interested in teaching or research may become safety consultants or safety instructors. Some safety specialists may move into management positions, such as plant manager or operations manager. Others may start their own safety consulting businesses.

Safety Specialist Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we are committed to providing a safe and healthy work environment for our employees, customers, and visitors. We are looking for a Safety Specialist to join our team to help us achieve our goal of zero accidents. The ideal candidate will have experience conducting safety audits and investigations, as well as developing and implementing safety programs. He or she will be knowledgeable of OSHA regulations and have the ability to train employees on safety procedures. The Safety Specialist will be responsible for reducing the number of accidents and injuries by identifying and correcting potential hazards.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Serve as the primary point of contact for all safety-related inquiries, concerns, and issues
  • Develop and implement safety policies, procedures, and programs to ensure a safe work environment
  • Conduct regular safety audits and inspections, and report findings to management
  • Investigate accidents and incidents, identify root causes, and recommend corrective actions
  • Monitor compliance with OSHA regulations and other safety standards
  • Keep abreast of new developments in safety technology and methods
  • Train employees on safety procedures and equipment
  • Maintain accurate records of safety training and certifications
  • Assist in the development of emergency response plans
  • Coordinate with outside agencies, such as fire and police departments, as needed
  • Serve on the company’s Safety Committee
  • Perform other duties as assigned

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in safety, engineering, or related field
  • 3+ years experience in a safety-related role
  • Working knowledge of OSHA standards and regulations
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to develop and deliver presentations
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in safety, engineering, or related field
  • 5+ years experience in a safety-related role
  • Certification from ASSE, Board of Certified Safety Professionals, or similar organization
  • Experience developing and implementing safety programs
  • Familiarity with industrial hygiene principles


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