Depending on the type of business involved and the organization's needs, the role of safety professional in the workplace will vary.
Safety Professional Training
A person interested in working in a safety professional role will likely have a background in studying math and science at the post-secondary level. This individual may have also completed specialized courses in a number of subjects, including:
- Environmental safety
- Fire protection
- Product safety
Taking courses in business or management will also help the safety professional be successful on the job. To stay up to date with current safety regulations and changes in health and safety legislation, a person working in this capacity will need to complete continuing education courses after his or her formal training has finished.
National Association of Safety Professionals
The National Association of Safety Professionals (NASP) is a non-profit organization offering a number of professional and topic-specific courses to safety professionals. A person who is interested in becoming a Certified Safety Manager can do so by successfully completing two courses offered by the Association.
NASP offers general safety courses, as well as ones targeted to the special needs of the construction industry. The organization offers distance learning options, as well as online testing to students enrolled in its training courses.
The Role of a Safety Professional in the Workplace
The job description for a safety professional in the workplace may include elements of hazard resolution, Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) programs and general safety education.
Part of a safety professional's job is to inspect the workplace to detect hazards that may be harmful to workers. The inspection should be expected to uncover any equipment presents a danger. Materials storage procedures are reviewed as part of this process.
Environmental contamination by materials used in the workplace puts the general public at risk, and the safety professional's inspection should cover this circumstance as well. Once an issue has been detected, the safety professional will advise the company management of the issue and help devise a plan to effectively deal with the situation.
Material Safety Data Sheet Programs
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires companies to have information sheets on the materials being handled by employees while on the job. Product manufacturers may provide this information with a shipment.
The MSDS sheets provide information about the product's chemical makeup, as well as instructions for handling and storing it safely. Emergency treatment procedures to be used after exposure are included. The safety professional in the workplace may be asked to help interpret this information as part of his or her responsibilities.
General Safety Education
The role of safety professional in the workplace may also include offering tips and advice to workers about the correct way to lift items to lower the risk of a back injury and the proper way to store materials in the workplace. This person would also be consulted about ways to structure the work environment to reduce the likelihood of injury from employees tripping or falling on the job.
The safety expert may conduct workplace seminars on safety topics, including First Aid or CPR for employees and management. He or she may also offer information about specific topics that would be interesting and relevant to employees, such as safety on the factory floor, machine shop or construction site.