Corporate Safety Manager Careers: Job Description & Salary Info

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Learn about a corporate safety manager's job duties, salary and education requirements. Get straight talk about the pros and cons of a corporate safety manager career.
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Pros and Cons of a Corporate Safety Manager Career

The occupational health and safety management field provides a variety of areas of specialization. Examine the pros and cons of a career as a corporate safety manager to make an informed decision about your career.

Pros of a Corporate Safety Manager Career
Above average wages ($69,210 median annual salary)*
High level of job satisfaction**
Specializations are available (such as environmental protection officers, industrial hygienists or loss prevention specialists)*
Safety management professionals specializing in loss prevention should experience good job growth*

Cons of a Corporate Safety Manager Career
Some positions expose managers to dangerous or strenuous work conditions*
Irregular hours may be required in emergencies*
Bachelor's degree is necessary for entry to the field*
Slow job growth (7% job growth between 2012 and 2022)*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Grand Valley State University.

Career Information

Job Description and Duties

In the role of a corporate safety manager, you will analyze work processes and workplace environments to identify potential risks to worker safety. Safety managers, or occupational health and safety specialists, design programs for work environments that prevent injuries to employees. Safety managers investigate workplace accidents to determine the cause and develop a plan to prevent future occurrences. Managers develop and implement safety programs, such as training and safety inspection teams.

Occupational health and safety specialists may specialize in an area of workplace safety, such as ergonomics, which evaluates the design of a workspace to identify potential hazards to employee safety, health and productivity. Safety managers specializing in loss prevention work for the insurance companies that provide workers' compensation policies to businesses. Loss prevention specialists inspect the employer's workplace to identify potential hazards and make suggestions to prevent employee accidents and injuries, which may result in workers' compensation claims.

Job Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the growth for occupational health and safety specialists between 2012 and 2022 is expected to be 7%. Safety managers working in loss prevention should have good job prospects as companies look to control worker's compensation claims. The median annual salary for occupational health and safety specialists was $69,210 in 2014, according to the BLS.

Education and Training Requirements

Most employers will require you to have a bachelor's degree to work as a safety manager. The degree may be in occupational health and safety, engineering or a technical field. Employers also prefer candidates with experience in safety and the specific work environment, such as manufacturing. Training in government regulations for workplace safety is also essential for a position.

Job Postings from Real Employers

Most employers of safety managers will require you to have at least a 4-year degree and some experience in safety. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) governs safety in the workplace. As a result, employers may require job candidates have experience and knowledge in OSHA regulations and compliance. The following are real job postings for safety managers in April 2012.

  • A Florida employer in the transportation industry is seeking a safety and worker compensation manager to oversee the processing of worker's compensation claims. Candidates with a bachelor's degree or the equivalent experience in human resources or safety is preferred. In addition, job applicants must have 3-5 years of experience in safety and workers' compensation.
  • An employer in California in the manufacturing industry is looking for a safety and workers' compensation manager to develop and implement the company's workers' compensation and safety programs. The manager must also analyze the employer's work environment and develop programs to prevent worker injury. The job candidate must have a bachelor's degree and 5 years of experience in safety in a manufacturing environment.
  • An Alabama company in manufacturing is seeking a safety manager who is experienced in government regulations and compliance, lock out/tag out procedures and 2-5 years of experience as a safety manager. The candidate needs a high school education to qualify for the position.
  • A Pennsylvania employer in manufacturing is searching for a safety manager to develop, implement and direct a company safety program. The job candidate must have a bachelor's degree in occupational safety and hygiene management or a related field. The employer also requires at least 5 years of experience in safety management in a manufacturing environment.

How to Get an Edge in the Field

Get Certified

Employers may not require certification for a position, but completing the requirements for safety credentials may help you stand out in the field. The Board of Certified Safety Professionals, the American Board of Industrial Hygiene and the American Biological Safety Association provide certifications for safety professionals. Requirements for the credentials can include graduation from a degree program and work experience in the area of specialization.

Alternative Career Paths

Health and safety engineers perform many of the same duties as safety managers, such as analyzing work processes and machinery for safety and developing procedures to keep employees safe. The median annual salary for a health and safety engineer in 2011 was $75,000 with a projected job growth of 13% between 2010 and 2020, according to the BLS. Health and safety engineers must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree education in an engineering field.

Occupational health and safety technicians work with specialists and managers to evaluate workplace environments for potential hazards. While the BLS reports the annual median salary for a technician is $46,000, you can enter the field with an associate's degree or on-the-job training.

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