Occupational health and safety inspector

An ocupational health and safety inspector in a mine


Occupational health and safety inspectors perform workplace audits to ensure compliance with government and environment legislation. They also investigate work accidents. Occupational health and safety inspectors interview employees to ensure the work environment is compliant with health and safety rules, inspect the physical work site and analyse legal paperwork.

The duties of an occupational health and safety inspector typically include, but are not limited to:

  • Conducting inspections of workplaces to identify potential hazards and ensure compliance with safety regulations.
  • Investigating accidents and incidents to determine their causes and recommend measures to prevent future occurrences.
  • Developing and implementing programs to educate employers and employees on workplace safety.
  • Analyzing data and trends related to workplace injuries and illnesses, and recommending changes to policies and procedures to improve safety.
  • Collaborating with employers, employees, and other stakeholders to identify and address workplace safety concerns.
  • Enforcing compliance with safety regulations and issuing citations or penalties when necessary.
  • Keeping detailed records of inspections, investigations, and other activities related to workplace safety.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to occupational health and safety inspector:

environmental health inspector
factory inspector
environmental health officer
HSE inspector
regulatory health and safety inspector
safety officer
health and safety inspector
workplace health and safety inspector

Working conditions

Occupational health and safety inspectors may work in a variety of settings, including factories, construction sites, healthcare facilities, and government offices. They may need to wear protective gear, such as hard hats, safety glasses, and respirators, when working in hazardous environments. Inspectors may also need to work irregular hours or be on call to respond to emergencies.

Minimum qualifications

Employers typically require a bachelor’s degree in occupational health and safety, environmental health, or a related field. Some employers may accept candidates with a high school diploma or equivalent if they have significant work experience in the field. Certification may be required or preferred by some employers or government agencies, and is available through professional organizations such as the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP). On-the-job training is typically provided to new inspectors, and continuing education is often required to maintain certification and stay current with changing regulations and best practices.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Occupational health and safety inspector is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Occupational health and safety inspector career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to occupational health and safety inspector.

healthcare inspector
incinerator operator
social security inspector
environmental health inspector
health and safety inspector

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of occupational health and safety inspector. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of occupational health and safety inspector with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

health and safety officer
emergency response coordinator
environmental policy officer
environmental programme coordinator

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of occupational health and safety inspector.

  • Health, safety and hygiene legislation: The set of health, safety and hygiene standards and items of legislation applicable in a specific sector.
  • Interview techniques: The techniques for getting information out of people by asking the right questions in the right way and to make them feel comfortable.
  • Audit techniques: The techniques and methods that support a systematic and independent examination of data, policies, operations and performances using computer-assisted audit tools and techniques (CAATs) such as spreadsheets, databases, statistical analysis and business intelligence software.
  • Risk management: The process of identifying, assessing, and prioritising of all types of risks and where they could come from, such as natural causes, legal changes, or uncertainty in any given context, and the methods on dealing with risks effectively.
  • Health and safety regulations: Necessary health, safety, hygiene and environmental standards and legislation rules in the sector of particular activity.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of occupational health and safety inspector.

  • Communicate health and safety measures: Inform about applicable rules, guidelines and measures to avoid accidents and hazards in the workplace.
  • Advise on risk management: Provide advice on risk management policies and prevention strategies and their implementation, being aware of different kinds of risks to a specific organisation.
  • Conduct workplace audits: Conduct work site audits and inspections in order to ensure compliance with rules and regulations.
  • Identify hazards in the workplace: Perform safety audits and inspections on workplaces and workplace equipment. Ensure that they meet safety regulations and identify hazards and risks.
  • Identify policy breach: Identify instances of non-compliance to set plans and policies in an organisation, and take the appropriate course of action by issuing penalties and outlining the changes which need to be made.
  • Conduct research interview: Use professional researching and interviewing methods and techniques to gather relevant data, facts or information, to gain new insights and to fully comprehend the message of the interviewee.
  • Monitor legislation developments: Monitor changes in rules, policies and legislation, and identify how they may influence the organisation, existing operations, or a specific case or situation.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of occupational health and safety inspector. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Environmental policy: Local, national and international policies dealing with the promotion of environmental sustainability and the development of projects which reduce negative environmental impact and improve the state of the environment.
  • Hazardous waste treatment: The methods applied in the treatment and disposal of hazardous waste such as asbestos, dangerous chemicals, and various contaminants, as well as the surrounding environmental regulations and legislation.
  • Pollution legislation: Be familiar with European and National legislation regarding the risk of pollution.
  • Hazardous waste types: The different types of waste which poses risks to the environment or public health and safety, such as radioactive waste, chemicals and solvents, electronics, and mercury-containing waste.
  • Environmental legislation: The environmental policies and legislation applicable in a certain domain.
  • Employment law: The law which mediates the relationship between employees and employers. It concerns employees’ rights at work which are binding by the work contract.
  • Hazardous waste storage: The regulations and procedures surrounding the safekeeping of materials and substances which pose health and safety risks.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of occupational health and safety inspector. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Ensure compliance with environmental legislation: Monitor activities and perform tasks ensuring compliance with standards involving environmental protection and sustainability, and amend activities in the case of changes in environmental legislation. Ensure that the processes are compliant with environment regulations and best practices.
  • Monitor environmental parameters: Check the impact of manufacturing machinery on the environment, analysing temperature levels, water quality and air pollution.
  • Issue licences: Issue official documentation which grants licence holders with official permission to perform certain activities, after having investigated the application and processed the necessary documentation.
  • Draw up risk assessment: Assess risks, propose improvements and describe measures to be taken at the organisational level.
  • Analyse environmental data: Analyse data that interpret correlations between human activities and environmental effects.
  • Advise on conflict management: Advise private or public organisations on monitoring possible conflict risk and development, and on conflict resolution methods specific to the identified conflicts.
  • Analyse ergonomics in different workplaces: Analyse how people interact with machinery, equipment, and work spaces from an ergonomic point of view.
  • Advise on environmental risk management systems: Evaluate requirements and advise on systems for environmental risk management. Ensure the customer does his part in preventing or limiting adverse environmental impact through the use of technology. Ensure required licenses and permits are obtained.
  • Provide improvement strategies: Identify root causes of problems and submit proposals for effective and long-term solutions.
  • Educate employees on occupational hazards: Provide information and advice to employees related to the possible occupational hazards, such as industrial solvents, radiation, noise and vibration.

ISCO group and title

3257 – Environmental and occupational health inspectors and associates

  1. Occupational health and safety inspector – ESCO
  2. What Is the Health and Safety Inspector’s Role in the Workplace? | Indeed.com
  3. What is the Role of an Occupational Health and Safety Inspector? – Health Science Degree Guide
  4. How Can I Become a Health and Safety Inspector – Learn.org
  5. Featured image: By Department of Labor. – https://catalog.archives.gov/id/81202704, Public Domain
Last updated on April 26, 2023

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