As a safety management professional, you will develop and implement worker safety so that a safe work environment is maintained. Safety management professionals handle the removal of biological, physical and chemical hazards, and also are responsible for the training of employers on worker safety policies, regulations and procedures. They also verify compliance with federal and state health and safety regulations, and manage the participation with OSHA inspectors during their safety audits.
A safety management degree typically combines health science and business education. Students usually complete a safety management internship and may focus on such areas as occupational safety, emergency safety and response, accident prevention, fire safety and risk assessment.
What Is Safety Management?
Safety management is the management of business activities and applying appropriate frameworks, principles and processes to prevent accidents and injuries in the workplace and in other environments. A key part of work in safety management is the development of safety management systems (SMS), which includes the major features of safety policy and objectives; safety risk management; safety assurance; and safety promotion.
With a degree in safety management, students have a sound foundation in key principles such as safety management, management of organizations, human factors, domestic terrorism, industrial safety, hygiene and loss prevention. Typical concentrations available in a safety management degree are:
- Occupational safety
- Industrial safety
- Violence and safety technology
- Systems safety management
- Industrial hygiene
- Industrial loss prevention
- Fire protection law
With this degree, you will be qualified to work in these types of positions:
- Loss Control Manager
- Risk Manager
- Safety Administrator
- Safety Consultant
- Safety Director
- Safety Engineer
- Safety Specialist
- Safety Manager
- Fire Safety Manager
- Compliance Officer
- Safety Coordinator
- Safety Inspector
- Security Manager
As the US economy is growing stronger many years after the last financial downturn, it is likely we will see an increased need for safety management professionals who ensure that public and private organizations are being run in a safe manner. The more employers there are in fields where worker safety is an issue, the more there will be a need for safety managers.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports job demand for occupational health and safety managers and specialists will increase 8% by 2026, which is about as fast as average when compared with other jobs. For occupational health and safety technicians, there will be an increase of demand of 10%, which is faster than average. These are two of the most common positions that professionals with a safety management degree work in.
These workplace specialists and technicians will be needed more than during the last downturn to work for a variety of government agencies and in many industries to ensure that different employers are adhering to worker safety regulations. Also, specialists will be needed because of workers compensation and insurance costs that have become a major concern for many employers. As our population is older and working longer, older workers usually have a higher number of workers’ compensation claims.
BLS states there are 83,300 occupational health and safety specialists working as of 2016 in these industries:
- Government: 26%
- Manufacturing: 15%
- Construction: 8%
- Management, scientific, technical consulting services: 6%
- Hospitals: 4%
There were 18,100 occupational health and safety technicians working in 2016 in these areas:
- Government: 17%
- Manufacturing: 15%
- Construction: 9%
- Management, scientific and technical consulting: 8%
- Hospitals: 7%
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median salary for occupational health and safety specialists was $71,800 in May 2017. The lowest 10% earned less than $41,600 and the top 10% earned more than $105,000. Meanwhile, the median salary for occupational health and safety technicians was $49,900 with the top 10% earning more than $82,000.
Specialists earned varying salaries in these industries:
- Hospitals: $73,200
- Manufacturing: $72,500
- Construction: $71,300
- Government: $69,500
Technicians earned varying salaries in these industries:
- Construction: $57,000
- Government: $49,900
- Manufacturing: $47,800
- Hospitals: $45,100
According to Salary.com, the median salary for a health and safety manager with this degree is $105,100. The range is usually between $84,300 and $117,400. Payscale.com reports the salary range for safety managers is $45,000 to $98,000, with a median of $66,900.
Occupational health and safety specialists and technicians typically work for local, state and federal government organizations in an inspection capacity, but they also can work for private companies. Some of the companies that are hiring in this field today according to Indeed.com are:
- US Navy
- Exelon Corporation
- Johnson Controls
- Atlantic Pacific Safety and Rescue
- Adventist Health System
- BHI Energy
- Newmont Mining
Companies that currently are hiring safety managers include:
- Georgia Pacific
- Turner Construction
- Kiewit Corporation
- Tyson Foods
- Conagra Brands
- International Paper
A bachelor’s degree in safety management (BSSM) helps graduates to meet important safety challenges in a constantly changing regulatory environment. The typical undergraduate program is designed to develop a new generation of safety managers who will be in charge of making all types of workplaces more safe and responsive to emergency events and hazardous situations. Typically, this type of bachelor’s degree has such concentrations as emergency management, occupational safety management, aviation safety management and construction safety management.
A master of science in safety management is the typical background for upper level managers to manage emergency and workplace safety environments. Graduates of these programs are able to ensure public and private organizations are run in a safe manner.
With a master’s degree, you will be able to identify hazards in the workplace, design safe procedures to provide worker protection, and investigate workplace accidents. Some master’s programs in safety management will focus more on emergency management and disaster preparedness, depending upon the concentration you choose. Most who graduate from this type of master’s program work in safety management in manufacturing, construction, transportation, government or aviation.
To be admitted to a typical master’s program in safety management, you usually need to have these type of qualifications:
- 75 GPA or higher
- Prerequisite courses in safety management and sciences
- Two or three professional recommendations
- GRE scores may be required
- Resume with related work experience
A typical curriculum for a bachelor’s program in safety management includes these core courses, in addition to standard liberal arts education courses:
- Introduction to Health, Occupational and Transportation Safety
- Principles of Accident Investigation
- Fundamentals of Occupational Safety and Health
- Environmental Compliance and Safety
- System Safety
- Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology
- System Safety Management
- Fire Related Human Behavior
- Fundamentals of Emergency Management
You can get financial assistance to help with tuition and related costs for your safety management degree. Below are some solid options:
- SESHA Scholarship for Occupational Health and Safety: $1000
- 3M Occupational Health and Environmental Safety Scholarship: Various amounts
- Deep South Center for Occupational Health and Safety Scholarship: Various amounts
- American Society of Safety Engineers Scholarship: $1000 to $5000
- Joseph A. Holmes Safety Association: Various amounts
- Campus Safety Health and Environmental Management Association: $2000
Safety management professionals may consider earning their Certificate in Safety Management (CSM) from the American Society of Safety Engineers. This certification provides you with the skills and knowledge to implement the appropriate safety management program for your company or organization. Completing this certificate is often a great opportunity for career training, development and recognition.
Professionals who desire a safety management career may wish to become active in these associations for educational and networking purposes:
- National Safety Management Society
- National Association of Safety Professionals
- Safety Management Council
- International Association of Safety Professionals
- International Safety Quality Environment Management Association
As more companies are being created and expanding, it is likely there will be a greater need for safety management professionals and related positions. By earning bachelor’s or master’s in safety management, you will be in a strong position to work in this rapidly growing field.
- Bachelor of Science in Safety Management. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://erau.edu/degrees/bachelor/safety-management/
- Occupational Health and Safety Specialists and Technicians. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/occupational-health-and-safety-specialists-and-technicians.htm
- Certificate in Safety Management. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.asse.org/education/certsftymgmt/