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How Product Safety Engineers Promote Workplace Safety

April 14, 2024

A key facet of public health is safety in the workplace. Product safety engineers conduct research to not only ensure a product is safe, but that the overall work environment associated with making that product is also safe. This specialized engineering role covers several research, prevention, consulting, and engineering tasks. As a result, it is important for prospective product safety engineers to review the responsibilities and career outlook of this role when considering furthering their education in public health and industrial hygiene.

Product Safety Engineer: Responsibilities

As a specialized role in the health and safety engineering field, product safety engineers primarily conduct tests to review product compliance with industry and government safety standards. All sorts and types of products are tested by safety engineers, ranging from computer systems to nuclear submarine reactors.

Key Responsibilities of Product Safety Engineers

In addition to testing products, engineers can also perform the following duties.

  • Review workplace health and safety
  • Identify hazards posed by products or workplace environment
  • Install safety devices as necessary
  • Communicate safety concerns with relevant parties
  • Monitor industry and government safety standards

Where do Product Safety Engineers Work?

The specific work environment of a health and safety engineer depends on their employment type. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the industry that employs the most health and safety engineers is the manufacturing sector. These professionals typically work in office settings and on the shop floor of manufacturing facilities, monitoring products and workplace environments.

A large number of health and safety engineers also work in the construction industry, where they must schedule time to travel to job sites to observe workplace safety. Engineers in government or scientific settings may spend most or all of their working hours in office settings.

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How Engineers Facilitate Workplace Safety

Product safety engineers may also handle workplace safety duties. These duties ensure offices, job sites, and other work environments are free from hazards. Below are a few steps engineers can take to reduce the risk of injuries and illnesses in work settings.

Safety Audits

Reviewing best practices in health and safety can help engineers identify areas of weakness or non-compliance in a workplace. This can include inspecting the following areas.

  • Physical elements of the building
  • Equipment and tools used by employees
  • Workplace layout
  • Storage of materials and equipment

Emergency Plan Review

Safety engineers must also ensure emergency plans are in place for common hazards, such as a fire or workplace accident. Plans should include emergency exit routes and verifying the location of alarms, fire extinguishers, and other required safety equipment.

Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) Training

Failure to wear personal protection equipment can put employees at risk of injury and/or illness. Health and safety engineers must ensure proper PPE training and periodically review the effective use of PPE on the job site.

Salary Expectations of Product Safety Engineers

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows product safety engineers, along with other health and safety engineers, earned a median annual wage of $100,660 in May 2022. Salaries can vary based on factors such as location, years of experience, and employer. For example, the top 10 percent of earners commanded salaries over $152,550 per year, according to the BLS.

Career Outlook

Job openings for health and safety engineers in the U.S. are expected to increase by 4 percent between 2022 and 2032, according to the BLS. This is about the same as the U.S. job market as a whole during that same time period.

How to Become a Product Safety Engineer

Prospective product safety engineers should review specific job descriptions to learn more about the exact steps required for each position. The following educational requirements and relevant skills, however, apply to many entry-level and experienced engineering positions.


Most entry-level safety engineers must have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant engineering discipline. While health and safety engineering is the most applicable area, other engineering degrees can still qualify graduates to apply for positions.

For more advanced positions and competitive roles, professionals should consider earning a master’s degree in engineering or a master’s degree in public health in industrial hygiene.


Licensing qualifications for safety engineers vary by state, but in some states a professional engineer (PE) license is preferred for employment. To earn this license, prospective engineers must pass both the fundamentals of engineering (FE) and PE exams. Engineers can also choose to earn one or more of these additional certifications to highlight their specialized knowledge in health and safety.

  • American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH) certification
  • Board of Certified Safety Professional (BCSP) certification

Relevant Skills

Engineers working in product safety need to master and apply the following skills.

  • Critical thinking: Identifying hazards that may not be immediately obvious is just one example of a common situation where health and safety engineers must think critically.
  • Creativity: Engineers in this field face many situations and safety problems that do not have a straightforward answer, so they must use creativity to explore new options that promote safety in the workplace.
  • Professional communication: Finding a safe solution for a workplace situation also requires engineers to successfully and professionally communicate that solution to employees, supervisors, and other relevant parties.
  • Attention to detail: Even minor workplace violations or safety missteps can have major consequences for the health and safety of employees. Engineers must continue to monitor even the smallest details regarding products and the workplace to promote safety.

Learn More About Product Safety Engineering

If you are passionate about promoting healthy attitudes and procedures in the workplace, then it may be time to take the next steps in your product safety engineering career. Explore Tulane University’s Online Master of Science in Public Health in Industrial Hygiene (MSPH-IH) program. 

See how you can learn from field-tested faculty and embark on your path toward a career as an industrial hygienist.

Advance Your Public Health Career with an MSPH in Industrial Hygiene

Pursue Your Degree Online From Tulane University
Find Out More

Recommended Readings

5 High-Paying Industrial Hygiene Jobs

Workplace Ergonomics and Safety: Tips, Equipment, and Examples

Tips for Accident Prevention in the Workplace


Boster, Kobayashi, and Associates, “4 Ways to Promote Workplace Safety”

Houston Chronicle, “Ideas for Promoting Safety in the Engineering Workplace”

O*NET Online, Health and Safety Engineers, Except Mining Safety Engineers and Inspectors

NES Fircroft, “How Can Engineers Stay Safe in the Workplace?”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Health and Safety Engineers

Zippia, Product Safety Engineer Overview

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