In general, people who want to enter this occupation should be responsible and like detailed work. Occupational health and safety specialists and technicians also should be able to communicate well. Recommended high school courses include English, mathematics, chemistry, biology, and physics.
So, what exactly does the work entail?
The job of occupational health and safety specialists and technicians is to help prevent harm to workers, property, the environment, and the general public.
Their work involves analyzing work environments and designing programmes to control, eliminate, and prevent disease or injury which includes chemical, physical, radiological, and biological hazards.
Specialists may help companies to increase worker productivity; and save money by lowering insurance premiums and workers’ compensation payments, and preventing government fines by conducting inspections to inform an organization’s management of areas not in compliance with State and Federal laws or employer policies.
Some specialists and technicians work for governments, conducting safety inspections and imposing fines.
Specialists also might conduct safety training for management, supervisors, and workers. Training sessions might show how to recognize hazards, for example, or explain new regulations and production processes.
Occupational health and safety technicians often need to collect data for analysis. They must properly collect and handle samples of dust, gases, vapors, and other potentially toxic materials to ensure personal safety and accurate test results. Others may test that machinery and equipment complies with appropriate safety regulations.
If an injury or illness occurs, occupational health and safety specialists and technicians help investigate its causes and then recommend remedial action. Specialists and technicians write reports, including accident reports, and may prepare documents used in legal proceedings and give testimony in court. Experts in specific areas may develop occupational health and safety systems, including policies, procedures, and manuals.
Employment and places of work
The job of occupational health and safety specialists and technicians often involve considerable fieldwork though some may work in an office setting. Frequent travel is common, as with long irregular hours.
Some occupational health and safety specialists and technicians may be exposed to many of the same strenuous, dangerous, or stressful conditions faced by industrial employees.
Areas Covered by Programmes
All occupational health and safety specialists and technicians are trained through some combination of classroom and on-the-job training. Requirements range from a bachelor’s degree in occupational health, safety, or a related field, to a master’s degree. Certification through an organisation is often desirable.
A technician working for NIOSH (National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health) needs a minimum qualification of a Science Diploma whilst a trainer, facilitator, examiner, consultant or researcher for R&D projects requires a Master’s degree in occupational or public health.
NIOSH is under the Ministry of Human Resources Malaysia and offers a Master in Occupational Safety & Health together with UUM; and an Executive Diploma in Occupational Safety & Health with Open University Malaysia. NIOSH also offers programmes for Occupational Safety & Health practitioners such as:
- Higher Education & Training Development
1. Accident Investigation & Reporting Workshop (CEP)
2. Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment & Risk Control (HIRARC) (CEP)
3. Occupational Safety & Health Act 1994
4. OSH in Agriculture
5. OSH for Service Sector
6. Safety & Health Committee (CEP)
7. Safety & Health Officer Examination Workshop
8. Understanding & Implementing OSHA & Its Regulations
- Occupational Safety Division
1. Crisis Management
2. Emergency Response Plan & Preparedness (CEP)
3. Occupational Safety & Health Auditing (Internal) (CEP)
4. Occupational Safety & Health Management System (CEP)
5. OSH for Supervisor
6. Planning & Managing OSH for Construction Activities (CEP)
7. Managing Steam Boiler for Steam Engineer
8. Steam Boiler for Boilerman
9. OSH Motivation for Employees
10. Working at Height
- Occupational Health Division
1. Hearing Loss Prevention & Audiometric testing Programme
2. Lung Function Testing & Analysis
3. Managing Emerging Health Relates Programme at Work
- Industrial Hygiene Division
1. Safety in the Use of Chemicals (CEP)
2. Monitoring of Noise Exposure (CEP)
3. Use & Standard of Exposure of Chemicals Hazardous to Health Reg. 2000 (CEP)
- Ergonomics Division
1. Ergonomics in the Office
2. Ergonomics & Manual Handling (*CEP)
3. Back Protection Programme.