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Safety Manager Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: September 27, 2023

A Safety Manager, or Safety Officer, is in charge of making sure that employees follow health and safety regulations and supervising operations to promote the wellbeing of their team. Their duties include using safety research to create policies that eliminate workplace hazards, documenting accidents in the workplace and investigating the circumstances of an illness or injury.

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Safety Manager duties and responsibilities

The Safety Manager is responsible for continuously monitoring and adapting safety procedures and operations to ensure a safe and fully compliant work environment for all employees. The main duties and responsibilities for this position include:

  • Monitor the removal of biological, physical or chemical hazards from a workplace
  • Provide safety training for employees on policies, regulations and procedures
  • Advise the company’s administrative team on safety issues and compliance in specific projects and operations
  • Inspect and verify company compliance with relevant safety regulations
  • Maintain accurate and current records in accordance with guidelines
  • Analyze incident reports, metrics and injury case studies in order to institute changes that lead to a safer environment
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What does a Safety Manager do?

Safety Managers generally work on job sites like construction areas, manufacturing plants and warehouses to monitor safety practices and respond to incidents. The role of a Safety Manager is to act as a resource for coworkers about how to uphold regulatory safety standards and complete tasks while limiting risk of bodily injury. Safety Managers share knowledge with their team by conducting training and creating informational materials that they post around the workplace.

Safety Managers also handle administrative aspects of workplace safety like applying for permits, purchasing safety equipment and investing in designs that limit risk. They confirm that all of their employees have the appropriate certifications to operate heavy machinery and set standards for testing and maintenance to prevent dangerous malfunctions.

Safety Manager skills and qualifications

Safety Managers need a mix of skills and qualifications to succeed, including:

  • A bachelor’s degree in environmental health and safety or a related field
  • In-depth knowledge of OSHA and EPA standards
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Ability to lead and teach a team
  • Great attention to detail
  • Critical-thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Ability to explain technical concepts in simple terms
  • Excellent organizational skills

Safety Manager salary expectations

A Safety Manager makes an average of $75,215 per year. Salary may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location.

Safety Manager education and training requirements

Safety Managers need to at least hold a bachelor’s degree in engineering, environmental safety or a similar field. This education should include courses or training in managing hazardous materials and some business management courses to provide the organization and leadership skills they will need on the job. While no certifications are required, some are available, such as the Construction Health and Safety Technician, Certified Safety Manager and others. Many of these can be specialized to particular industries, such as construction or manufacturing.

Safety Manager experience requirements

Most positions require three to five years of experience in a safety role in the same field. If that experience is not in a management or leadership position, they should have additional years of experience or additional qualifications that demonstrate their ability to oversee safety protocols and lead training sessions. Safety Managers from a different field may require additional experience.

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Frequently asked questions about Safety Managers

What is the difference between a Safety Manager and a Safety Inspector?

Safety Managers and Safety Inspectors are both involved in upholding health and safety standards in the workplace. Safety Managers work to establish safe systems in the workplace and make sure that there are procedures in place to protect employees from workplace hazards and other dangerous situations. Safety Inspectors are responsible for examining those systems and making sure they function properly.

Safety Managers are employed in-house to implement safety measures and maintain compliance with local laws and regulations. Safety Inspectors work for outside institutions like local health departments and government regulatory boards. They’re responsible for determining if the Safety Managers and other company leaders are implementing safe practices. Safety Inspectors use checklists to address all factors influencing safety.

What are the daily duties of a Safety Manager?

Safety Managers visit job sites and examine current safety procedures in action. They make notes on possible changes that could help limit the risk of exposure or injury on the job. Safety Managers review accident reports to determine common causes of workplace injuries and brainstorm ways to address those problems. They develop emergency evacuation plans and share them with their team to enforce a consistent plan that keeps everyone safe.

Safety Managers research developments in safety technology and recommend new equipment or methods to the head of operations. They schedule safety training for employees in different areas such as emergency response, mechanical safety, chemical hazards and environmental regulations. Safety Managers manage systems to track accidents and analyze various safety metrics.

What are the characteristics of a good Safety Manager?

Good Safety Managers pay attention to their surroundings, using a detail-oriented mindset and personal caution to identify potential risks in the workplace. They’re organized people who take the initiative to document their findings and address every issue they encounter. Good Safety Managers use foresight and analytical skills to prevent accidents before they happen and make sure that everyone on their team is committed to a culture of safety and support. A successful Safety Manager should be proactive about issues and willing to confront unsafe practices that put employees at risk.

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