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The environment seems to be on everybody’s mind these days. For that reason, and many others, the EH&S (Environmental Health & Safety) Manager job outlook continues to improve. The EH&S manager’s work is dynamic and requires administrative, organizational, technical, and solid leadership skills.

How exactly do these professionals work, and what are their career expectations? Let’s find out. In this article, we will focus mostly on the EH&S manager’s role in the waste industry.

What Does an EH&S Manager Do?

In general terms, the EH&S manager makes the workplace safer and minimizes the effects of the workplace on the environment. EH&S managers can work in companies, non-profits, government agencies, or any other organization. Also, these highly skilled professionals may be employed by the organization or work as a consultant.

A central part of the EH&S manager’s responsibility is to ensure an organization is in compliance with any legislation regarding workplace safety and environmental regulations. As entities become more complex – and due to the increasing concern about the environment – the EH&S manager role continues to climb in importance.

When dealing with the waste industry, the EH&S manager enables businesses and organizations to satisfy any guidelines or regulations regarding the generation, storage, transport, treatment, disposal, and destruction of hazardous / regulated waste.

Are EH&S Managers Full-Time or Contract Based?

EH&S managers may be full-time employees or work in freelance / contract based agreements. Larger organizations, or those that produce large amounts of hazardous waste, may require an entire department dedicated to EH&S management. Any company that works with hazardous waste transport, storage, or treatment requires in depth environmental health & safety expertise.

How Much Do EH&S Managers Earn?

The average annual salary for an EH&S manager is $81,760. Senior level EH&S managers who oversee large or multiple health and safety teams may earn up to $110,000 or more. When an EH&S manager works on a contract basis, the terms are agreed upon prior to starting work.

What Kind of Education or Training Does an EH&S Manager Need?

The EH&S Manager position typically requires a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Health, Safety Engineering, or Occupational Health. In some cases, degrees in biology, chemistry, or industrial engineering might also qualify.

For a manager level position, an additional five years of related experience in environmental health and safety are usually required. Senior level or EH&S Department chiefs may need a Master’s degree in Environmental Health, Safety Engineering or Occupational Health.

It’s not unusual for on the job training to be required for specific sectors. For example, the criteria for working with medical waste differs from the mining or petroleum industry. The company that hires the EH&S Manager may provide the training or specialized third party sponsored courses might be offered.

What Do EH&S Managers Do on a Daily Basis?

Some of the responsibilities of an EH&S manager may include:

  • Verify compliance with health and safety codes, regulations, laws and policies pertaining to the health and safety of the facility and its operations.
  • File permits pertaining to health and safety, such as environmental permits, fire safety permits, and operating permits.
  • Manage documentation related to hazardous waste (e.g. waste profile, manifests, etc.)
  • Train and manage employees or teams in regard to health and safety regulations.
  • Travel to facilities to oversee environmental, health, and safety operations.
  • Ensure that employees, visitors, and contractors, entering site facility are properly trained and controlled for all risks and hazards.
  • Prepare logs, reports, inspections or audits for administrative teams.
  • Provide workshops, seminars, and training.
  • Remain up to date to ensure that personal knowledge and certifications are current.
  • Create, train, and manage incident management and emergency response team.

Not Just the EPA

While the EPA sets the national standard on environmental concerns, many other agencies also regulate the management of hazardous waste. For this reason, EH&S managers must have working knowledge of those organizations, such as:

  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates employee risk of exposure to hazardous substances.
  • The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) deals with workplace products that impact public health.
  • Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) regulates controlled substances disposal.
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regulates the handling of radioactive substances.
  • U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has regulations concerning the transport of hazardous material.
  • Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regulates issues around infectious or disease-causing waste.

State based entities must comply with all federal standards, however, additional individual state regulations may also exist. Therefore, EH&S managers should have expertise at the state and, if necessary, local level regarding hazardous waste regulation.

What is The Job Market Status for EH&S Managers?

The EH&S job market in the US is expected to grow over the next 5-10 years at a rate of approximately 11 percent. This is faster than the average employment growth predicted which is expected to be around 6.5 percent. The demand for EH&S managers can also fluctuate with changes in political administrations and depending on the waste sector (e.g. medical, petroleum, mining, nuclear, etc.).

Is an EH&S Manager Career Right For You?

If you enjoy a challenge that involves some technical know-how, then a career in Environmental Health & Safety Management could be for you. Also, since the industry is constantly expanding and diversifying, there’s plenty of room for career growth to pursue a particular interest.

EH&S management requires dynamic leadership and assessment skills and the desire to keep abreast of the latest developments in the sector. In the end, an EH&S manager is a key player for any organization’s continued success and sustainability.

* The featured image used for this blog post is by the NAVAL AIR STATION NORTH ISLAND, Calif, and can be found here.

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