Job safety and health programs, such as the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, require job-site inspections to ensure employer compliance with regulations. Inspections are carried out in situations that pose an imminent danger to employees; after a job-site catastrophe or fatality; and in response to a complaint. In high-hazard industries, inspections are scheduled regularly. To become an OSHA inspector, you must satisfy formal education requirements and acquire specialized training regarding job-site inspection procedures and related laws.
Occupational Health and Safety Specialist
OSHA inspectors are educated and trained as specialists in the field of occupational health and safety. To pursue a degree in this field, you must acquire a good foundation in English, math and science in high school and obtain a bachelor’s degree in the field of occupational health and safety or a related field, such as science or engineering. A master’s degree may be required for advanced positions, such as an industrial hygienist or safety engineer. These professionals participate in the development of industry standards, in addition to performing inspections. Work experience and training are essential to learn the specific inspection standards and laws for differing work environments, such as industrial factories, retail grocery stores and restaurants.
Occupational Health and Safety Technician
Another pathway to becoming an occupational health and safety specialist is to first become an occupational health and safety technician. As a technician, you work with a specialist to collect data on workplace hazards through testing and measuring workplace conditions. The education requirement for a technician is an associate’s degree from a junior college or vocational school. On-the-job training is also important, and certification is possible through the Board of Certified Safety Professionals. By earning a bachelor’s degree, a technician can become a specialist.
Federal and State OSHA Programs
Occupational health and safety specialist are hired by the U.S. Department of Labor to conduct OSHA inspections in those states and U.S. territories where OSHA regulations apply. Some states have developed their own job safety and health programs that meet or exceed OSHA standards. For example, Cal-OSHA in California and MIOSHA in Michigan are run by their respective states and are responsible for hiring their own inspectors to conduct job-site inspections. The Department of Labor’s website provides information on all the states with their own OSHA-type program.
Applying for Inspector Jobs
OSHA job postings for inspectors, as well as all other federal jobs postings, are available through the website USAJOBS. A search engine is available on the site that allows you to search for job postings in a number of ways, including general position title, location or specific vacancies within the Department of Labor. If no inspector positions are available when you search, you can create an account to receive notifications of job postings as they occur.
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Stone, Joe. “OSHA Inspector Careers.” Work – Chron.com, http://work.chron.com/osha-inspector-careers-15282.html. Accessed 05 August 2018.
Stone, Joe. (n.d.). OSHA Inspector Careers. Work – Chron.com. Retrieved from http://work.chron.com/osha-inspector-careers-15282.html
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