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Safety Director Duties and Responsibilities

Safety directors perform various job duties depending on the size of the staff, the number of workplaces and jobsites they inspect, and the number of incidents and accidents occurring within the business. However, these core job tasks are the same across the field:

Develop Safety Standards Safety directors develop company-wide safety standards for all departments and employees to follow.

Conduct Audits Safety directors audit all work processes to look for potential safety hazards by physically inspecting work areas and jobsites.

Review Incident Reports Safety directors review incident reports to determine where changes need to be made to prevent future similar accidents.

Maintain Regulations Safety directors ensure that all company and OSHA safety standards are being followed by all employees at all times.

Write Reports Safety directors write reports analyzing safety programs and safety compliance company-wide, pointing out potential hazards and areas of improvement.

Coordinate with Investigators Safety directors coordinate with claims adjusters and investigators following workplace incidents.

Design Safety Training Programs Safety directors design safety training programs and presentations for employees and upper management.

Conduct Safety Meetings Safety directors conduct and lead regular safety meetings updating employees on safety policies and any changes to workplace safety practices.


Safety Director Skills and Qualifications

Safety directors need analytical skills and good attention to detail to spot potential safety hazards and design effective plans to reduce incidents and injuries of all types. Employers hire safety directors who have the following essential skills:
  • Analytical thinking - safety directors use analytical skills to assess jobsites and workplaces and to spot potential risks that could compromise safety for any employee
  • Communication skills - good verbal and written communication skills are essential for safety directors, who collaborate with accident investigators and write detailed safety reports
  • Attention to detail - safety directors use attention to detail to investigate workplaces and jobsites and spot potential safety risks
  • Multitasking - because safety directors work on many tasks at once, good multitasking abilities are essential for this job
  • Leadership - safety directors give presentations, lead meetings attended by all employees, and design training programs, all of which require strong leadership skills

Safety Director Education and Training

Education requirements for safety directors vary by employer and by industry. Many employers require safety directors to have a bachelor's degree in an industry-specific field, such as environmental chemistry or environmental microbiology, in addition to past work experience. Equivalent work experience can suffice for formal education for some employers. Paid job training is provided to safety directors. During this period, they become familiar with current workplace practices and safety standards while working closely with a member of the upper management team. This training period varies by employer and may last for several weeks.

Safety Director Salary and Outlook

PayScale data shows that safety directors earn $74,428 in median annual income. According to job data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), occupational health and safety specialists and technicians (who perform many of the same duties as safety directors) earn $67,720 in median annual income. The BLS estimates that this field will grow 8 percent through 2026, a rate that is as fast as the national job growth average. A majority of employers provide safety directors with benefits packages that include dental, vision, and medical insurance coverage. Life insurance is also a standard benefit. Most safety directors receive paid vacation, holiday, and sick days as well. Some employers provide safety directors with monetary bonuses for reducing workplace risk and meeting safety goals.

Helpful Resources

Look for safety director job openings, career strategies, training programs, and news updates with these resources:

National Association of Safety Professionals - visit the NASP website for training courses, certification program information, and job listings

So You're the Safety Director! An Introduction to Loss Control and Safety Management - learn more about the guidelines safety directors need to follow in this book that outlines OSHA compliance practices and other business safety standards

International Public Safety Association - take webinars, find training programs, search upcoming events, and explore safety publications at this website

The Risk Management of Safety and Dependability: A Guide for Directors, Managers and Engineers - learn more about risk management with this book designed to help safety directors improve safety in the workplace

American Society of Safety Engineers - explore the newsroom, find professional development resources, and search for jobs at this website for safety engineers and directors

Environment, Health and Safety Governance and Leadership: The Making of High Reliability Organizations - delve into best practice safety standards with this book that explores environmental, health, and safety management in business

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