If you fancy yourself as a protector of the environment, the health and safety of your fellow man, or simply like to make sure that everything goes smoothly without any hitch then maybe a career in health and safety engineering is your calling. Health and safety engineers are employed by companies to ensure that they are adhering to the standards that they have set for their business. This includes meticulous inspection and logging through EHS software, reporting and finally deciding on the direction of EHS for the company.
What do Health and Safety Engineers do
The modern world has always put an emphasis in safety as advancement upon advancement start posing threats that have never even existed before. Granted that safety and health have improved dramatically throughout the centuries, we have now better knowledge and instruments to ensure that no life has to be endangered or wasted because of negligence. Employee and customer health are obligations that the state have required of the businesses. States have put in safety nets and policies to ensure that general guidelines are followed to get ever closer to an accident free society.
As a health and safety engineer, your job is to design and implement schemes, plans and procedures to make sure that the company or government institution that hired them operates knowing that they are in safe hands. As engineers, they try to bridge the gap between all the latest advancements that technology has to offer to the industries itself so as to maximize the application.
If after reading the previous statement, you feel discouraged that being an health and safety engineer meant having a desk job. And you will be set in your office nudging through a million of data in your computer using EHS software. Then you do not have to worry because there are other ways that you can work, namely right on the field. As an engineer in the field, you will be tasked to inspect areas in operation that are susceptible to accidents and are health or safety risk.
Health and safety engineers usually come from varying backgrounds which serve as their base expertise with health and safety being their specialization. This diversity is necessary in order to create health and safety engineers that are more knowledgeable about particular areas of various industries. For instance, an electrical health and safety engineer would be in charge of creating policies that relate to the use of electricity. They are also the ones who inspect equipment that generate electricity or generators as well as machines that require tremendous amounts power like factory engines. Another example is the computer health and safety engineer which are in charge of the health and safety of everything computer related in the company. They make sure that the company computers are safe from hacking attempts or other forms of software based threats.
The main attribute that each health and safety engineer should have is being proactive rather than reactive. The difference between the two is that proactive work means finding faults before they even occur rather than being reactive wherein they wait for trouble to happen before making a move. Because, most of the time, this work entails life and death situations, it is vital to have a proactive attitude. This means constantly looking for risks and forecast developing ones so it can be prevented before it can hurt anybody.
Place of work
Same with most engineering disciplines, health and safety engineering can take you to any place in the domain of the company. Here are some examples
- As a field engineer, you will be in charge of seeing to it that the policies that have been agreed upon are upheld by the company personnel to the letter. This takes dedication and a meticulous eye given that every minor detail has to be up to standard to ensure the health and safety of the ones that are involved.
- Health and safety for any business is a matter of drafting and testing out policies and plans that keep the place safe and sound. This includes the use of EHS software and making sure that information obtained from it are all accurate.
- As most people say, there is no greater gift than the gift of knowledge and this is quite true in health and safety. Sometimes, practicing engineers start realizing the inspiration derived from making the place a better place. And no where can you showcase everything that you have learned to help other people than to teach.
Will you find work
As a fairly new career path as compared to other engineering careers, there might be a reluctance for companies to hire more than what is the bare minimum to simply just comply with the policies set by the government. However, the good news is that the trend is going upward and even without the exact title of being a health and safety engineer, the training that you gained is invaluable and could be applied to any situation regardless of the job title or role.
Obviously, one needs to be an engineer specializing in a field before he can become a health and safety engineer. What comes after varies widely depending of where you are situated. For instance, if you intend to use practical skill as the basis for your resume, then you could follow a path that leads you into being a health and safety engineer through experience. If you however prefer to work behind a desk and simply dictate plans and monitor the status of the company, you can choose to further your education by getting a masters or a doctorate degree.
Health and safety engineers carry an important function for companies and the customers that they serve. While it is definitely not one of the more easier path towards a stable career, it is one that is quite meaningful and fulfilling. As you decide to pursue this path, then you should keep all of these in mind.