How do I Become a Health and Safety Engineer?

A health and safety engineer may be tasked with ensuring factory workers follow important protocols.
Health and safety engineers often work with high-risk industries including metalworking, machining and manufacturing.
A health and safety engineer may give expert advice on how to identify dangerous working conditions.
A safety engineer needs to have a thorough understanding of mechanical engineering as it applies to health and safety laws.
A health and safety engineer may be tasked with testing equipment to ensure it operates properly and without creating unnecessary hazards.
Health and safety engineers may have a background in the construction industry.
Ensuring the safety of workers is a large part of the role of a health and safety engineer.
Some jurisdictions require special licensing to become a health and safety engineer, at places like construction sites.
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  • Written By: T. L. Childree
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 07 November 2015
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A health and safety engineer is generally responsible for keeping employees safe from workplace hazards. Engineers working in the health and safety field are typically used to design product and workplace safety procedures for mines, industrial plants, and stores, as well as transportation systems and construction sites. In order to become a health and safety engineer, you will usually need at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering with courses of study in subjects such as physics, mathematics, computer science, and safety engineering. In some cases, you may also need to be licensed by a local or regional governing board prior to employment. You will probably need to become certified by a professional engineering society as well.

Although a bachelor’s degree in engineering is typically required to become a health and safety engineer, some employers prefer to hire people who specialize in a particular area of this field. These specialized degrees often include areas such as occupational health and safety as well as safety management. In addition to general engineering studies, you will also need to complete coursework in medical, social, and behavioral sciences. You may also be required to participate in some type of internship program prior to graduation. If you live in the U.S., you may be able to obtain a list of colleges that offer degree programs in health and safety engineering from the American Society of Safety Engineers.


After you have become a health and safety engineer, you may want to apply for your professional engineer’s license as well. In order to be tested for this license, you will typically need a degree in health and safety engineering from an approved college, along with at least four years of relevant work experience. The examination for this professional license is usually taken in two parts. The first part of the exam is taken immediately after graduation, and the second part is taken after the work experience requirement has been met. After you have passed the first part of this exam you will be known as an engineer in training. Once you have passed the second part of the exam, you will be a licensed professional engineer.

If you want to become a health and safety engineer, it would probably be a good idea for you to begin making preparations while you are in high school by taking courses such as advanced mathematics and science, as well as computer science. In addition to having the necessary educational skills for this career, you will also need to be a logical, curious, detail-oriented person who possesses excellent problem-solving skills. Since health and safety engineers frequently meet with managers, workers, and clients, you should also be able to communicate effectively with other people.


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