Environmental health and safety (EHS) officers are responsible for all aspects of an organizations compliance with occupational and environmental laws and regulations. This responsibility encompasses a wide array of activities. EHS officers must design a program to train employees and managers in all relevant laws, rules, and regulations, with special instruction for each type of employee as it relates to their specific position and responsibilities. They handle any regulatory questions employees or managers may have, as well as analyze activities at every company site to ensure complete regulatory compliance. EHS officers must be proactive in working with regulatory agencies to learn about upcoming changes and prepare their organization to meet changing regulatory requirements. If a violation does occur, EHS officers serve as the go-between for the regulatory agencies/investigators and the organization. They help repair damage and develop strategies to prevent future violations from occurring.
Environmental health & safety (EHS) officers work in a variety of environments. They make frequent site visits to ensure regulatory compliance and to give training to employees and managers. They meet with regulators to discuss issues and learn about new rules, as well as discuss compliance status with organization management. EHS officers interact with every level of an organization to maintain lawful status. Additionally, they must attend training themselves to receive continuing education on industry standards and occupational and environmental law changes.
EHS officers are required to hold an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in environmental health and safety, business, or a related field. Several years’ experience in the organization's field is preferred, so that they have developed a familiarity with the regulatory landscape of the industry. Certification in specific aspects of the industry may be necessary, such as first aid/CPR training or a certified safety professional (CSP) designation.
Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) Officer Tasks
- Coordinate safety and environmental audits and actions to remedy faults and remediate.
- Consult with all departments to provide expertise and ensure compliance with standards, processes and permits.
- Oversee and review health and safety documentation and data.
- Develop and implement health and safety plans, data capture and ongoing analysis.
- Set up and implement hazardous waste, wastewater or toxin management programs.