A safety consultant must be knowledgeable about safety issues in a wide variety of work environments. The consultant’s primary responsibility is to inspect workplaces to ensure they comply with federal, state and local safety codes.
The safety consultant also designs programs with worker safety in mind. The programs designed by the consultant must also meet environmental guidelines.
One of the primary tasks of a safety consultant is to assess workplace safety. Depending on the terms of his contract, the safety consultant performs periodic inspections of the workplace. He checks the personal protective equipment (PPE) provided for employees and looks for the proper placement of warning signs throughout the workplace. Electrical equipment should have appropriate lockout/tagout signage so employees cannot turn it on while repairs are in progress. Once the consultant makes his initial inspection, he provides a list of safety issues to the management team. Along with the list, the safety consultant provides a list of specific procedures the management team can perform to remedy problems.
Safety consultants offer training to employees in a variety of safety concerns. For example, a safety consultant might demonstrate the proper use of a fire extinguisher to office workers. He might train warehouse workers how to use a forklift properly. The initial workplace safety evaluation often indicates what type of safety training is best for a particular workplace environment. After all the employees receive the necessary training, the consultant might spend additional time with a designated employee giving additional training so the worker can teach the safety lessons to any new hires.
Many safety consultants also create a workplace safety manual. Working with the management team, the safety manual details the company’s role in maintaining workplace safety. Any specific plans, such as fire escape routes, are included in the manual. The manual might also specify the type of training each employee needs. The safety manual often becomes part of the human resources packet given to all employees to help them follow proper safety procedures on the job.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates the number of safety consultant jobs will increase by 9% between 2010 and 2020, which is slower than the average increase of all other occupations. As new environmental regulations go into effect, more consultants will be necessary to help employers meet the new guidelines. The average annual salary for safety consultants in 2010 was $64,660. Consultants typically work full time during the work week. Some might also work weekends or extra hours in emergencies.
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