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What Does a Health and Safety Technician Do?

Heath and safety officers may be exposed to the same environmental hazards that employees face.
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  • Written By: B. McTeer
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 27 September 2014
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A health and safety technician manages an organization's health and safety activities. The goal of the technician's work is to protect employees, facilities, the public and the environment from occupational hazards. Someone employed as a health and safety technician works hard to create safe work environments. He or she might compile guidelines or hold safety classes to educate employees on correct work practices. Upon identification of potential biological, chemical or physical hazards, the technician works with the company's management to develop solutions.

Technicians often enter the field after obtaining college degrees or significant on-the-job training, and some are employed by governments to conduct official inspections and issue noncompliance fines at various organizations. Others are retained by consultants who contract out to industrial companies that do not have technicians on staff. Organizations that utilize health and safety technicians avoid high safety penalties and often have their insurance premiums lowered. Their employees are happier, healthier and more productive because of the efforts of health and safety technicians.

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A health and safety technician is responsible for writing various reports about injuries, accidents and malfunctions. The technician also compiles raw data about safety. A typical report might include the number of incidents that forklift operators have experienced. The health and safety technician also needs strong analytical skills to interpret the safety data, because he or she will be expected to propose ways to reduce future incidents. In addition to reports, a health and safety technician might write employee safety newsletters that highlight statistics, tips and merits.

Health and safety technicians often are exposed to the same hazards that regular employees face. They must posses the knowledge and skills to protect themselves and others from potentially damaging hazards. Technicians are required to keep up to date with the stringent standards of industrial safety. They regularly review and take courses on local, state and federal safety laws. Health and safety technicians must document safety procedures regularly to avoid penalties from external inspectors.

Strong people skills are helpful for health and safety technicians because they not only must look out for industrial hazards, they also must be able to identify and counsel employees on personal health issues. Smart technicians recognize that healthy employees are happy employees. They often will provide ways to keep healthy on and off the job in order to reduce absences and long-term medical leave.

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