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What Does a Global Health and Safety Manager Do?

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Workplace safety is a term widely used to encompass everything from safe storage of stepladders and hazardous waste disposal to fire drill planning and zero-tolerance drug policies. In each situation, standards must be rigorously upheld and applied without exception. Regularly scheduled inspections and checks must be consistent. And cost should never be the deciding factor when management is faced with the prospect of improving safety measures.

However, there is more to creating safe places than locking up dangerous equipment and controlled substances and passing mandated inspections. The direct and indirect effects of the recent pandemic-related health crisis, the far-reaching impacts of climate change and workers’ increased dependence on technology affect every place of employment.

Whether in education, agriculture, construction, shipping, mining or general industry, workplace safety must encompass what is best for the facilities and the workers and the welfare of local and global communities. Trained professionals with the right education and expertise can find rewarding careers protecting workers as global health and safety managers.

Safety Manager

Global Health and Safety Manager Job Description

Workplace health and safety issues came to the front and center of public attention with the rise of the Industrial Revolution. Initially, the concerns prompted simple solutions such as better ventilation, machine gear and belt guards, and fire escapes. Because of recent advances in technology, chemical innovations and new forms of energy, however, health and safety managers now must oversee much more complex systems that define, assess and prevent risks to workers, customers and the environment.

The Role of a Health and Safety Manager

Although global health and safety managers continue to prepare for mandated safety inspections by local, state and federal officials, their responsibilities reach far beyond the walls of a factory, school, farm or office building. They analyze working conditions to determine how innovative safety measures can be introduced to avoid accidents as well as improve employee health and the impact of the industry and its practices on the environment.

The role of global health and safety managers changes along with innovation and modernization. In addition, as a result of international concerns such as ongoing wars and the COVID-19 pandemic, health and safety professionals have become integral to monitoring both the mental and physical health of employees and maintaining the integrity of information circulated between and among organizational stakeholders.

Employment Settings for Health and Safety Managers

The global impact of the pandemic, the increased speed of both the development and delivery of products and services and the interconnectedness of the world in general have created the need for global health and safety managers in almost every industry. These jobs can be found in local businesses as well as in international companies and organizations.

Specialists in this area are regularly employed by consulting services in science and technology; by local, state and federal governments; and by the oil, gas and mining industries. Positions with varying responsibilities are also found in insurance, construction and manufacturing companies; health care facilities; school systems; and the transportation industry.

Key Job Responsibilities of a Health and Safety Manager

Global health and safety managers do not simply follow generic safety checklists in anticipation of spot or scheduled visits from a safety official. Their responsibilities may include:

  • Developing, implementing and monitoring safety programs for day-to-day production and to minimize the risks caused by local, national and global emergencies
  • Providing rigorous and regular safety training
  • Collecting and analyzing data for safety and health audits and reports
  • Investigating workplace accidents
  • Examining plans for new construction and equipment
  • Inspecting existing work sites
  • Monitoring workplace conditions, such as noise and temperature levels and air quality
  • Ensuring compliance with the policies and mandates enforced by all countries where multinational companies have a presence

Responsibilities requiring soft skills can be equally important in these positions, such as:

  • Communicating openly and often with management, employees, customers, suppliers and the community
  • Creating a sense of trust within the organization by disseminating accurate information about industry and worldwide issues and concerns
  • Keeping abreast of current safety and health issues
  • Promoting worker well-being not only in the areas of physical and mental health but also in the workers’ pursuit of full lives and achieving their full potential

Qualifications to Become a Global Health and Safety Manager

Highly qualified global health and safety managers — the ones in demand by modern multinational corporations — have a strong education background, work experience and certification in the field.

Education and Experience

Although not always required for employment, a bachelor’s degree and a postgraduate degree related to occupational safety and health, such as a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree, are often prerequisites for landing even an entry-level position in this field. The fields of study could be health and safety, public health, engineering or biology, to name a few.

Gaining work experience within the industry or organizations closely identified with a specific area of interest is commonly required for management positions. One entry-level position that can offer experience is that of safety technician, which is a job working for a local or state governing body conducting official inspections for workplace safety compliance. Another is that of safety trainer, which is a job working with employees in a single industry, often using specific equipment, and training them in appropriate safety protocol and practices.


To enhance their health education and work experience, candidates for positions in health and safety can benefit from obtaining a relevant certification, many of which focus on a particular area or industry. Here are some widely recognized health and safety certificates:

  • Certified safety professional (CSP)
  • Certified industrial hygienist
  • Institute of occupational safety and health level 3 certification
  • Qualified environmental professional

Global Health and Safety Manager Salary and Job Outlook

As of July 2022, Payscale reported that health and safety managers in the top 10% of earners had annual salaries of around $116,000. Salary figures can vary based on education, location, position, employer and more.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects positions for occupational health and safety specialists to grow by 7% between 2020 and 2030. In addition, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on employment will be felt far into the future.

As employers move to enhance safety protocols and mitigate the effects of future public safety threats, health and safety managers will be key to improving workplace conditions, focusing on issues from mental health awareness and appropriate clothing to enhanced virtual working accommodations and an increased on-site medical presence.

Finding Your Place in Global Health and Safety Management

The lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been felt by individuals, communities, industries and organizations. As exposure to the virus spread, workers felt the weight of attempting to stay healthy, caring for family members, working from home, and juggling career and child care responsibilities. Executives at even the highest levels recognized quickly that caring for the health and welfare of their workforce was essential to their company’s success.

Prepare for the challenge of global health and safety management with a Master of Public Health (MPH) from the Keck School of Medicine of USC. With 100% online coursework and six concentrations to choose from, USC’s MPH program can help prepare future leaders in the field. Take the first step to a rewarding future today.

Recommended Readings

The Public Health Implications of Easing Coronavirus Lockdowns

MPH Concentrations: What You Need to Know


Board for Global EHS Credentialing, What Is the Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) Credential?

Board for Global EHS Credentialing, What Is the Qualified Environmental Professional (QEP) Credential?

Board of Certified Safety Professionals, Certified Safety Professional (CSP)

Board of Certified Safety Professionals, 7 Steps to Safety Certification

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “An Expanded Focus for Occupational Safety and Health”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Exploring the Future of Worker Health and Safety in the Post-Pandemic World”

Chron, “Job Description of an Environmental Health and Safety Manager”

ClickSafety, “Top 10 Occupational Health & Safety Certifications for EHS Leaders”

Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, “Brain Health Consequences of Digital Technology Use”

Environmental Resources Management, “Global Health & Safety Survey — Towards Building a Thriving Workforce”

Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, “Perceptions, Experiences and Opportunities for Occupational Safety and Health Professionals Arising out of the COVID-19 Pandemic”

Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, Level 3 Certificate

The Journal of Climate Change and Health, “Climate Change, Health and Safety of Workers in Developing Economies: A Scoping Review”

National Safety Council, “Drugs at Work: What Employers Need to Know”

OSHAcademy, “Career Paths in Safety”

Payscale, Average Health and Safety Manager Salary

Perillon, “13 Best EHS Certifications to Add to Your Resume”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics: Occupational Health and Safety Specialists

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

U.S. Department of Labor, “The Job Safety Law of 1970: Its Passage Was Perilous”