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What is a Safety and Occupational Health Specialist

What Safety and Occupational Health Specialists Do

Safety and Occupational Health Specialists analyze many types of work environments and work procedures. Specialists inspect workplaces for adherence to regulations on safety, health, and the environment. They also design programs to prevent disease or injury to workers and damage to the environment.


Occupational health and safety specialists typically do the following:

  • Identify hazards in the workplace
  • Collect samples of potentially toxic materials for analysis
  • Inspect and evaluate workplace environments, equipment, and practices for compliance with corporate and government health and safety standards and regulations
  • Design and implement workplace processes and procedures that help protect workers from potentially hazardous work conditions
  • Investigate accidents and incidents to identify their causes and to determine how they might be prevented in the future
  • Conduct training on a variety of topics such as emergency preparedness

Safety and Occupational Health Specialists examine lighting, equipment, ventilation, and other conditions and materials in the workplace that could affect employee health, safety, comfort, and performance. Specialists seek to increase worker productivity by reducing absenteeism and equipment downtime. They also seek to save money by lowering insurance premiums and workers’ compensation payments and by preventing government fines.

Some specialists develop and conduct employee safety and training programs. These programs cover a range of topics, such as how to use safety equipment correctly and how to respond in an emergency.

The City of Las Cruces employs three Safety and Occupational Health Specialists to develop and conduct safety and training programs for the 1,500 employees of the City of Las Cruces. They rotate going on-call for 2 weeks at a time to be able to respond to after hours city employee involved vehicle crashes and incidents where there is damage to city property.