EHS is an incredibly diverse, rewarding field. You can have a group of safety professionals in the same room who all work on completely different things. And if you’re a brand-new professional, one of the first steps in your career is figuring out your focus area.
Here’s a closer look at three professional areas of health and safety you might choose to pursue as an EHS worker.
Workplace Health and Safety
Workplace health and safety is one of the central areas of EHS, if not the central focus of EHS. Broadly speaking, occupational health and safety is a public health field studying workplace accidents, illnesses and injuries in worker populations, proposing strategies and policies to counteract those trends. It encompasses a huge array of disciplines from toxicology to ergonomics.
In this case, we’re specifically looking at the promotion of workplace health, which complements all other safety efforts by employers and EHS teams. Basically, this is the area where EHS teams strive to create a healthier and safer workforce by educating them and providing prevention and assistance programs.
This could be a stress reduction seminar every month. It could be a library of health resources tailored for employees. Nonetheless, the goal is the same: to create a happier, healthier, and safer workforce.
Hazardous work is a slightly different focus area under the umbrella of occupational safety and health.
All jobs have their own unique dangers, but some jobs and tasks are more hazardous than others. The goal of hazardous work safety is to protect workers in these diverse hazardous conditions.
This area is often tailored based on your industry. In construction, for example, hazardous work could include everything from electrical work to machine hazards, whereas in a laboratory, for example, you’re more likely to deal with hazardous biological agents, hazardous chemicals, and pathogens.
Last but not least is chemical safety, the practice of using occupational chemicals in a manner that protects the health and safety of workers and the work environment.
Because there are many diverse chemical hazards, chemical safety is an equally diverse focus area. Your work involves staying up-to-date on the latest chemical safety regulations, training workers in safe chemical handling, and maintaining effective hazard communication, to name a few.
Choosing Your Professional Areas of Health and Safety
This article looks at just three aspects out of the many areas in EHS. The benefit of all these professional areas of health and safety is the same: no matter what you focus on, you still get to spend every single day keeping your colleagues safe. It’s hard to beat a work reward like that.
If you’re a new EHS professional looking to hone your skills, or a seasoned professional looking to continue learning, make sure to check out our blog for more great posts for professional growth, like this post on analytical skills for EHS professionals or these key habits of outstanding EHS professionals.