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A health and safety inspector is responsible for assessing workplaces with the goal of reducing the possibility of harm. Some work as active inspectors, evaluating spaces and issuing reports, while others work as advisers, bringing their expertise to companies that wish to ensure that they are as healthy and safe as possible. Work in this field is expanding, especially in areas that are experiencing growth, which requires more inspectors to ensure that working conditions are up to safety standards.
In order to become a health and safety inspector, someone usually needs a bachelor's degree in occupational safety or a related field. He or she must also be willing to participate in continuing education and training to keep up with developments in the field, and most health and safety inspectors also keep up with regulations and news in the field. If someone wants to work as a health and safety adviser, he or she may pursue additional certification in fields like workplace ergonomics.
When a person works as an inspector, it is usually in the capacity of a government agent. Most governments have strict laws that are designed to keep workplaces safe, and these laws are enforced by inspectors who conduct random site visits. When the health and safety inspector arrives, the workplace is inspected for compliance with things like the health code in the region, and warnings may be issued if there are violations.
In the capacity of a consultant, health and safety advisers enter a workplace and offer suggestions on how to make it safer, healthier, and more pleasant to work in. Some insurance companies actually require companies to be inspected for health and safety to reduce absenteeism and insurance claims for workplace-related injuries and health problems. Other businesses voluntarily seek out consultants because they want their employees to stay healthy.
In order to work in this field, someone must be prepared to travel and to visit a wide assortment of places. A health and safety inspector may also be required to exercise the art of diplomacy, as some business owners become quite hostile when they are informed about safety violations. It also helps to know the relevant health and safety codes backward and forwards to ensure that specific citations can be provided for each warning of a violation.