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Career and Education Opportunities for Occupational Safety and Health Inspectors in Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for occupational safety and health inspectors. There are currently 830 working occupational safety and health inspectors in Alabama; this should grow by 16% to 960 working occupational safety and health inspectors in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for occupational safety and health inspectors, which sees this job pool growing by about 11.2% over the next eight years. Occupational safety and health inspectors generally review, evaluate, and analyze work environments and design programs and procedures to control, eliminate, and prevent disease or injury caused by chemical, physical, and biological agents or ergonomic factors.

Occupational safety and health inspectors earn approximately $30 hourly or $64,410 annually on average in Alabama. Nationally they average about $29 hourly or $62,250 yearly. Occupational safety and health inspectors earn less than people working in the category of Athletic and Occupational generally in Alabama and less than people in the Athletic and Occupational category nationally. Occupational safety and health inspectors work in a variety of jobs, including: quarantine inspector, radiological health specialist, and loss control consultant.

There are fifteen schools of higher education in the Birmingham area, including one within twenty-five miles of Birmingham where you can get a degree to start your career as an occupational safety and health inspector. The most common level of education for occupational safety and health inspectors is a Bachelor's degree. You can expect to spend about four years training to become an occupational safety and health inspector if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Occupational Safety and Health Inspector

Occupational Safety and Health Inspector video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, occupational safety and health inspectors review, evaluate, and analyze work environments and design programs and procedures to control, eliminate, and prevent disease or injury caused by chemical, physical, and biological agents or ergonomic factors. They also may conduct inspections and enforce adherence to laws and regulations governing the health and safety of individuals.

Occupational safety and health inspectors conduct safety training and education programs, and demonstrate the use of safety apparatus. They also recommend measures to help protect staff from potentially hazardous work methods or materials. Equally important, occupational safety and health inspectors have to inspect specified areas to insure the presence of fire prevention apparatus and first-aid supplies. They are often called upon to furnish new-employee health and safety orientations, and design materials for these presentations. They are expected to inspect and evaluate workplace environments and practices, in order to insure adherence to safety standards and government regulations. Finally, occupational safety and health inspectors conduct audits at hazardous waste sites or industrial sites, and participate in hazardous waste site investigations.

Every day, occupational safety and health inspectors are expected to be able to evaluate problems as they arise. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for occupational safety and health inspectors to collect samples of hazardous materials, or manage sample collection. They are often called upon to maintain inventories of hazardous materials and hazardous wastes, using waste tracking systems to insure that materials are handled properly. They also design and maintain medical monitoring programs for employees. They are sometimes expected to maintain and update emergency response plans and procedures. Somewhat less frequently, occupational safety and health inspectors are also expected to conduct safety training and education programs, and demonstrate the use of safety apparatus.

And finally, they sometimes have to perform laboratory analyses and physical inspections of samples in order to uncover disease or to gauge purity or cleanliness.

Like many other jobs, occupational safety and health inspectors must have exceptional integrity and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Birmingham include:

  • Physical Therapist. Assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that improve mobility, relieve pain, and decrease or prevent deformity of patients suffering from disease or injury.
  • Sports Trainer. Evaluate, advise, and treat athletes to assist recovery from injury, avoid injury, or maintain peak physical fitness.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Occupational Safety and Health Inspector Training

University of Alabama at Birmingham - Birmingham, AL

University of Alabama at Birmingham, Administration Bldg Suite 1070, Birmingham, AL 35294-0110. University of Alabama at Birmingham is a large university located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 16,149 students and an admission rate of 85%. University of Alabama at Birmingham has a doctor's degree program in Environmental Health which graduated two students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Professional Ergonomist: The BCPE was established to provide a formal process for recognizing practitioners of human factors/ergonomics.

For more information, see the Board of Certification in Professional Ergonomics website.

Associate Safety Professional: The Associate Safety Professional (ASP) designation is the start of the process toward achieving the CSP certification.

For more information, see the Board of Certified Safety Professionals website.

Construction Health and Safety Technician: Candidates for the CHST certification are typically employed as safety and health specialists on construction job sites, serving in either full-time or part-time positions.

For more information, see the Council on Certification of Health, Environmental and Safety Technologists website.

Occupational Health and Safety Technologist: This program is intended for persons who work in occupational health and safety.

For more information, see the Council on Certification of Health, Environmental and Safety Technologists website.

Incident Safety Officer - Fire Suppression Certification: A fire department incident safety officer's mission is to promote safety standards and practices in the fire, rescue and emergency services community.

For more information, see the Fire Department Safety Officers Association website.

Health & Safety Officer Certification: Standard on Fire Department Occupational Safety and Health Programs.

For more information, see the Fire Department Safety Officers Association website.

Certified Healthcare Protection Administrator: Through the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety Commission on Certification, directors of security, safety, emergency preparedness and risk management administrators can achieve the highly coveted Certified Healthcare Protection Administrator (CHPA) designation.

For more information, see the International Association of Healthcare Security and Safety website.

Registered Environmental Health Specialist/Registered Sanitarian: The REHS/RS is the premiere NEHA credential.

For more information, see the National Environmental Health Association website.

Certified Environmental Health Technician: CEHT is for individuals who are interested in field intensive environmental health activities--such as testing, sampling, and inspections, and who are required to provide information on safe environmental health practices and to eliminate environmental health hazards.

For more information, see the National Environmental Health Association website.

Inspection and Testing of Water-Based Systems: This certification program was designed for engineering technicians in the automatic fire sprinkler industry who are engaged in the physical and mechanical aspects of inspection, testing, and maintenance of water-based systems including foam and foam-water systems.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama photo by Eric_in_SF

Birmingham is located in Jefferson County, Alabama. It has a population of over 228,798, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Birmingham, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Birmingham cost $187,300 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, one hundred thirty-two new homes were built in Birmingham, down from two hundred thirty-two the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Birmingham are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 24 minutes. More than 18.5% of Birmingham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Birmingham is 12.5%, which is greater than Alabama's average of 10.7%.

The percentage of Birmingham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.1%, is more than both the national and state average. Williams Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Westminister Presbyterian Church and West End Methodist Church are all churches located in Birmingham. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Birmingham is home to the Mineral Park Municipal Golf Course and the Cooper Green Golf Course as well as Avondale Mills Park and Smithfield Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Acipco Shopping Center, Altadena Square Shopping Center and Parkway East Huffman Shopping Center. Visitors to Birmingham can choose from Marriott Hotel Birmingham, Rime Garden Extended Stay Suites and Studioplus for temporary stays in the area.