Safety specialists or coordinators are responsible for preventing or reducing accidents in the workplace. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the demand for safety coordinators will increase by nine percent through 2016, resulting in the creation of 5,200 new jobs.
Approximately two out of every five safety coordinators work for federal, state or local government agencies. Coordinators can also work directly for a company or a consulting service that is paid to work for many different companies.
Government-employed safety coordinators inspect workplaces and work sites both on a scheduled and surprise basis to identify and document violations of federal, state or local safety laws. Private safety coordinators are responsible for identifying dangers for their company or companies, but then develop plans to correct problems before injuries can occur.
Unless employed by one company or a small local government, safety coordinators are often required to travel frequently. Because of the nature of their work, safety coordinators risk exposure to dangerous conditions, and the role of a safety coordinator can be stressful when a company being inspected becomes argumentative about findings.
Most safety coordinators hold a four-year bachelor's degree in a field like safety science, occupational health, biology, or engineering, but some employers prefer candidates with a masters degree in the field. In addition, there are two-year associate's and one year diploma programs available in safety science or occupational health, but these course are more appropriate for those who assist coordinators in the field.
In November 2009, the average annual salary for safety coordinators was $52,000, according to Indeed.com.