Occupational Health and Safety Technicians

Career, Salary and Education Information

Top 3 Occupational Health Technician Jobs

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Top 3 Safety Technician Jobs

  • Health & Safety Technician - Rettew Associates - York, PA

    Perform safety consulting and training under the direction of the Safety Consulting Director • Uses prescribed methods to perform specific and

  • Building Maintenance / HVAC - California Commercial Real Estate Services - Salinas, CA

    Plumbing. Additional requirements include: • 2-5 years' experience in building maintenance • A clean driving record • Excellent oral

  • Reefer Technician - WP Rawl - Pelion, SC

    Diagnose complex mechanical, refrigerant, and electrical problems related to all Reefer systems

See all Safety Technician jobs

What Occupational Health and Safety Technicians Do[About this section] [To Top]

Occupational health and safety technicians collect data on the health and safety conditions of the workplace. Technicians work with occupational health and safety specialists in conducting tests and measuring hazards to help prevent harm to workers, property, the environment, and the general public.

Duties of Occupational Health and Safety Technicians

Occupational health and safety technicians typically do the following:

  • Inspect, test, and evaluate workplace environments, equipment, and practices to ensure that they follow safety standards and government regulations
  • Collect samples of potentially toxic materials
  • Work with occupational health and safety specialists to fix hazardous conditions or equipment
  • Evaluate programs on workplace health and safety
  • Educate employers and workers about workplace safety
  • Demonstrate the correct use of safety equipment
  • Investigate incidents and accidents to identify what caused them and how they might be prevented

Technicians conduct tests and collect samples and measurements as part of workplace inspections. For example, they may collect and handle samples of dust, mold, gases, vapors, or other hazardous materials. They conduct both routine and special inspections that an occupational health and safety specialist orders.

Technicians inspect workplace environments and practices. They may examine machinery and equipment, such as scaffolding and lifting devices, to be sure that they meet appropriate safety regulations. Technicians may check to make sure that workers are using required protective gear, such as masks and hardhats. Technicians also check to ensure that hazardous materials are stored correctly.

In addition to working to maintain employee health and safety, technicians work with specialists to increase worker productivity by reducing absences and equipment downtime. These actions save companies money by lowering insurance premiums and workers’ compensation payments, preventing government fines, and improving productivity and product quality.

Although all occupational health and safety technicians work to maintain the health of workers and the environment, their responsibilities vary by the type of industry and workplace they work in and the hazards that might affect the employees. For example, a technician may test the levels of dangerous gases at a waste-processing plant or may inspect the lighting and ventilation in an office setting. Both of these inspections are focused on maintaining the health of the workers and the environment.

The following are examples of types of occupational health and safety technicians:

Health physics technicians work in places that use radiation and radioactive material. Their goal is to protect people and the environment from hazardous radiation exposure.

Industrial or occupational hygiene technicians examine the workplace for health hazards, such as exposure to lead, asbestos, pesticides, or contagious diseases.

Mine examiners inspect mines for proper airflow and potential health hazards, such as the buildup of methane or other harmful gases.

Work Environment for Occupational Health and Safety Technicians[About this section] [To Top]

Occupational health and safety technicians hold about 15,100 jobs. The industries that employ the most occupational health and safety technicians are as follows:

Government 18%
Manufacturing 16
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services 10
Hospitals; state, local, and private 7
Support activities for mining 6

Occupational health and safety technicians work in a variety of settings, including offices, factories, and mines. Most private companies either employ their own occupational health and safety workers or contract with firms that provide such services.

Their jobs often involve considerable fieldwork and travel. In addition, occupational health and safety technicians may be exposed to strenuous, dangerous, or stressful conditions. Injuries are minimized by the use of gloves, helmets, and other safety equipment.

Occupational Health and Safety Technician Work Schedules

Most occupational health and safety technicians work full time. Some technicians may work weekends or irregular hours in emergencies.

How to Become an Occupational Health and Safety Technician[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Occupational Health and Safety Technicians near you!

Occupational health and safety technicians typically enter the occupation through one of two paths. Some technicians learn through on-the-job training; others enter with postsecondary education, such as an associate’s degree or certificate.

Occupational Health and Safety Technician Education

Employers typically require technicians to have at least a high school diploma. High school students interested in this occupation should complete courses in English, mathematics, chemistry, biology, and physics.

Some employers prefer to hire technicians who have earned an associate’s degree or certificate from a community college or vocational school. These programs typically take 2 years or less. They include courses in respiratory protection, hazard communication, and material-handling and storage procedures.

Postsecondary programs include instruction on standard laws and procedures; however, some on-the-job training usually is required to familiarize the technician with specific work environments.

Occupational Health and Safety Technician Training

Technicians usually receive on-the-job training. They learn about specific laws and inspection procedures, and learn to conduct tests and recognize hazards. The length of training varies with the employee’s level of experience, education, and industry in which he or she works.

Some technicians enter the occupation through a combination of related work experience and training. They may take on health and safety tasks at the company where they are employed. For example, an employee may volunteer to complete annual workstation inspections for an office in which he or she already works.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Certification is not required for someone to become an occupational health and safety technician; however, many employers encourage it.

To apply for certification, technicians must have earned a high school diploma, possess related on-the-job experience, and pass a standardized health and safety exam. The Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) offers the following certifications at the technician level:

The Construction Health and Safety Technician (CHST) Certification requires the applicant to have specific education or experience in construction safety. These technicians protect workers on construction sites from injury or illness.

The Occupational Health and Safety Technologist (OHST) Certification is designed for workers who perform occupational health and safety tasks full or part time as part of their job duties.

Important Qualities for Occupational Health and Safety Technicians

Ability to use technology. Occupational health and safety technicians often work with computers and complex testing equipment.

Communication skills. Occupational health and safety technicians must be able to work with specialists to collect and test samples of possible hazards, such as dust or vapors, in the workplace.

Detail oriented. Occupational health and safety technicians must be able to understand and follow safety standards and complex government regulations.

Physical stamina. Occupational health and safety technicians must be able to stay on their feet for long periods and travel on a regular basis.

Problem-solving skills. Occupational health and safety technicians must be able to solve problems in order to assist specialists in protecting workers from hazardous work conditions.

Advancement for Occupational Health and Safety Technicians

Occupational health and safety technicians can become occupational health and safety specialists by earning a bachelor’s degree or advanced degree.

Occupational Health and Safety Technician Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for occupational health and safety technicians is $48,070. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $30,610, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $77,780.

The median annual wages for occupational health and safety technicians in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Government $48,740
Support activities for mining 47,540
Manufacturing 46,400
Management, scientific, and technical consulting services 44,930
Hospitals; state, local, and private 42,010

Most occupational health and safety technicians work full time. Some technicians may work weekends or irregular hours in emergencies.

Job Outlook for Occupational Health and Safety Technicians[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of occupational health and safety technicians is projected to grow 9 percent over the next ten years, faster than the average for all occupations. Technicians will be needed to conduct tests, measure hazards, and ensure that employers are adhering to existing and new safety and health regulations.

In addition, technological advances will allow for the use of new machinery, and technicians will be needed to conduct inspections and evaluate usage of the machinery with regard to worker health and safety.

Insurance and workers’ compensation costs have become a concern for many employers and insurance companies. Because older workers usually have a greater incidence of workers’ compensation claims, these costs can become higher with an aging population remaining in the workforce longer. Occupational health and safety technicians will be needed to work with occupational health and safety specialists in maintaining safety for all workers.

Although most occupational health and safety technicians work under the supervision of specialists, technicians can complete many routine tasks with little or no supervision. As a result, some employers may operate with more technicians because they are more cost effective than specialists.

Occupational Health and Safety Technicians Job Prospects

Applicants for jobs as occupational health and safety technicians with knowledge or a background in the sciences and experience in more than one area of health and safety or certification will have the best prospects.

Employment projections data for Occupational Health and Safety Technicians, 2014-24
Occupational Title Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24
Percent Numeric
Occupational health and safety technicians 15,100 16,500 9 1,400


*Some content used by permission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

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