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Safety Manager

Education and Training: Bachelor’s or master’s degree in occupational safety related discipline required
Average Salary: $115,837 per year
Job Outlook: Good

Safety managers work in a variety of industries identifying safety risks, training employees to follow safety procedures, and ensuring safety procedures are in compliance with industry standards. Safety hazards can include chemical, biological, and physical. Safety mangers also participate with OSHA officials in conducting inspections by providing access to facilities, records, paperwork and data. Their main goal is to mitigate safety hazards and reduce safety incidents that cost the company time, money, and loss of personnel. They typically report to a department head. They perform a variety of tasks such as data analysis and trending, procedure writing, safety inspections, and presenting findings to upper management.

Some safety professionals also help implement company wide safety campaigns that encourage safe practices and increase company morale and sense of community. Safety managers must also possess string leadership and management skills to effectively lead subordinates under their authority.

Education and Training Requirements

Safety managers typically have bachelor’s or master’s degrees in occupational safety, engineering, manufacturing, biological sciences, or related fields. On the job training is an essential element. Safety managers are responsible for understanding OSHA requirements, standards, and procedures which are updated on a regular basis. They also receive industry specific training.

Getting the Job

Safety manager positions are not entry level and require extensive safety and industry experience. Most safety manager jobs require at least ten years experience. Most safety managers work their way up from a position as a safety inspector or industrial hygienist or safety related career. Most safety managers stay within the same industry such as demolition and decommissioning, construction, and nuclear safety. Getting the job requires a track record of success in implementing and enforcing safety procedures that reduce accident rates.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

Job growth is expected to increase approximately 14% through 2018. Job growth is influenced by changing safety standards and emerging technology. Tighter safety regulations by government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and OSHA also effect job growth due to new personnel needing to be hired to meet tougher standards.

The typical career path starts with an entry level safety position where the future manager gains industry, safety and management experience. Most safety managers move into higher ranking management positions in the same industry. Some venture out and become private safety consultants that provide safety recommendations to a variety of clients.

Working Conditions and Environment

Working conditions are a mixture of being in an office environment and out in the field conducting safety surveys and analysis. Office work includes personnel management and paperwork. Due to the nature of the work the environment can be dangerous. To minimize safety occurrences safety managers must wear personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect themselves from harm. PPE includes protective clothing, hard hats, safety glasses and protective footwear. The job can be stressful at times especially as safety violations occur where people are injured and production drops off. Safety managers generally work over 40 per week Monday-Friday.

Salary and Benefits

The average safety manager makes an annual salary of nearly $116,000. Full benefits packages including 401(k) retirement, pensions, medical insurance, dental insurance, vision, and supplemental insurance are typically part of the compensation.

Where to Go for More Information

National Safety Council
1121 Spring Lake Dr.
Itasca, IL 60143-3201
(800) 621-7615

U.S. Department of Labor – Occupational Safety & Health Administration
200 Constitution Ave.
Washington, D.C. 20210

World Safety Organization
PO Box 518
Warrensburg Missouri 64093
(660) 747-3132

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesBusiness