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Health and Safety Inspector Job Description

April 14, 2024

A safe and healthy workplace is crucial for both employees and employers. The goal of a health and safety inspector is to verify workplaces are meeting or exceeding state and federal safety regulations. Before becoming a certified inspector, however, prospective students should review the educational requirements and responsibilities of this critical role.

The Role of a Health and Safety Inspector

Organizations are responsible for providing a safe environment for employees, customers, and visitors. To ensure this, several local, state, and federal regulations outline required health and safety measures. Inspectors must understand the fire, environmental, food, and other safety regulations relevant to each business and make note of any violations.

The specific regulations that govern a workplace can vary. A health and safety inspector should be aware of the following key organizations and the workplace regulations they set.

  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Department of Transportation (DOT)
  • Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA)

Any workplace found not in compliance with relevant regulations can be given a written warning, a fine, or other suitable response to a health or safety violation. In some cases, inspectors can also recommend practices to improve the work environment.

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Key Responsibilities

To accomplish their goal of promoting health and ensuring safe work environments, health and safety inspectors have a variety of job duties. Here are some of the key responsibilities of inspectors.

  • Remaining up to date with local and national regulations
  • Inspecting equipment and workplace environments for hazardous conditions
  • Documenting and reporting conditions
  • Recommending health and safety improvements

Depending on the role, some inspectors can also take on educational responsibilities. These inspectors work with organizations and employees to teach them about basic first aid, workplace rights, and other health and safety topics.

Work Environments

Health and safety inspectors can be employed by governmental bodies or private firms to provide external inspections of many different workplaces. For most inspectors, their work will take them to one or more of the following job settings.

  • Construction sites
  • Hospitals
  • Schools
  • Manufacturing facilities
  • Mines
  • Offices

Inspectors spend much of their work hours in office settings but frequently travel to and inspect workplace environments. A thorough tour of a workplace, as well as inspecting relevant equipment, is key to providing a complete health and safety report.

Salary Expectations for Health and Safety Inspectors

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), occupational health and safety specialists and technicians earned a median annual salary of $78,570, as of May 2022. This accounts for all health and safety professionals. Salaries can vary based on the job location, a candidate’s years of experience, and other factors.

Job openings in health and safety are expected to grow much faster than the U.S. employment market as a whole, according to BLS data. The number of specialists and technicians in the field is expected to increase by 13 percent between 2022 and 2032.

How to Become a Health and Safety Inspector

Those interested in a career as an inspector should review specific job postings to see employer requirements. For many entry-level positions, however, prospective professionals should have the following education, certifications, and relevant skills.

 Educational Requirements

Most inspector positions require at least a bachelor’s degree in occupational health and safety or a related field. Many inspectors go on to earn a master’s degree in industrial hygiene, public health, or a related field. This further training can not only qualify inspectors for raises and promotions but can also further their expertise in the field. A master’s degree can also help qualify inspectors for the industrial hygienist certification exam.


Relevant certification is required for health and safety inspectors to perform their duties. The specific required certification depends on the workplace setting and area of experience. These are some of the more common certifications available.

  • Construction Health and Safety Technician (CHST): Inspectors at construction sites need this certification. To receive this credential, inspectors need to have at least three years of experience in the occupational health or construction industries.
  • Associate Safety Professional (ASP): As an entry-level certificate, this allows new inspectors to review basic health and safety factors in workplaces.
  • Certified Safety Professional (CSP): After earning a bachelor’s degree, inspectors can complete this certification and inspect a broad range of health and safety risks in many workplaces.
  • Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH): Inspecting workplaces with potential biohazards and other chemistry-related issues requires a CIH certification, administered by the American Board of Industrial Hygienists.

Relevant Skills

Safety inspectors must use many skills to safely and effectively perform their duties.

  • Professional communication: Inspectors are expected to review employer policies, ask questions, communicate health and safety requirements, and sometimes lead educational programming for employees. All of these tasks require strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Attention to detail: The nature of inspecting means these professionals must be able to notice even the most minor details that could lead to workplace health and safety hazards.
  • Knowledge of industry: It is helpful for inspectors to understand the equipment and basic tasks undertaken in a workplace, whether at a manufacturing facility, hospital, or other location.

Explore Your Educational Opportunities at Tulane University

If you are considering a career as a health and safety inspector, it is time to learn more about the Tulane University Online Master of Science in Public Health in Industrial Hygiene program. Find out how you can earn one year of credit toward your Certified Industrial Hygienist exam, and learn from field-tested faculty to make a difference in the health and safety of workplaces.

Advance Your Public Health Career with an MSPH in Industrial Hygiene

Pursue Your Degree Online From Tulane University
Find Out More

Recommended Readings

Types of Hazards in the Workplace

Tips for Accident Prevention in the Workplace

5 High-Paying Industrial Hygiene Jobs


4 Corner Resources, “Health and Safety Inspector”

Board for Global EHS Credentialing, Applying for the Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) Credential 

Board of Certified Safety Professionals, Credentials At-A-Glance

Indeed, “FAQ: What Is the Health and Safety Inspector’s Role in the Workplace?”

Indeed, “How to Become a Safety Inspector”

Indeed, “How to Become an OSHA Inspector in 7 Steps (Plus Salary)”

Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Safety and Health Fundamentals Certificate Program

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Health and Safety Specialists and Technicians

ZipRecruiter, What Is a Safety Inspector and How to Become One