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. Every place of employment is affected by the lingering direct and indirect effects of the recent pandemic-related health crisis, the far-reaching impacts of climate change, workers’ increased dependence on technology and other evolving situations.
Whether in education, agriculture, construction, shipping, mining or general industry, workplace safety must encompass what is best for the facilities, for the workers and for the welfare of local and global communities. Trained professionals with a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree and the right expertise can find rewarding careers protecting workers as global health and safety managers.
What Is Global Health and Safety?
Global health and safety is a strategy to keep workers safe from various forms of harm. These hazards can pertain to specific work environments such as equipment or chemicals that could cause injury or threats to individual health such as airborne disease.
In the United States, health and safety regulations are mandated by government agencies via various acts and organizations. The most prominent of these organizations is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which regulates the safety conditions of workplaces and workforces. Other organizations oversee specific industries, such as the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), which protects the health and safety of those working in the mining and mineral processing industries.
Internationally, bodies such as the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Africa Foundation (OSHAfrica) oversee similar sets of regulations aimed at protecting workers from harm.
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.
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. They also work to improve employee health and the impact of the industry and its practices on the environment.
The global health and safety manager job description changes along with innovation and modernization. As a result of international concerns such as ongoing wars and disease outbreaks, for example, health and safety professionals have taken on additional responsibilities. They now 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 Global Health and Safety Managers
The protracted 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; local, state and federal governments; and 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 Global Health and Safety Manager
Global health and safety managers do not simply follow generic safety checklists in anticipation of unannounced or scheduled visits from a safety official. Their responsibilities may include:
- Developing, implementing and monitoring safety programs for day-to-day production and minimizing 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 workers’ pursuit of full lives and achieving their full potential
Global Health and Safety Manager Salary and Job Outlook
The median annual health and safety manager salary was approximately $81,200 in March 2023, according to the salary aggregate site Payscale, with the top 10% of earners in the field making a median annual salary of about $117,000. Salary figures can vary based on factors such as experience, education and location.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects positions for occupational health and safety specialists to increase by 5% between 2021 and 2031. 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. These effects encompass a wide range of issues to consider for professionals equipped with a global health MPH specialization. These include monitoring nonstandard work setups, work-related violence and a greater emphasis on worker mental health.
Qualifications to Become a Global Health and Safety Manager
Highly qualified global health and safety managers — those in demand by modern multinational corporations — have a strong educational 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 in fields such as health and safety, public health, engineering or biology are often prerequisites for landing even an entry-level position in this field. The Global health and safety manager is just one of many careers with an MPH open to graduates.
Gaining work experience in the industry or with 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 the safety technician, which works in a local or state governing body conducting official inspections for workplace safety compliance. Another is that of a safety trainer, which works with employees in a single industry, often using specific equipment and training them in appropriate safety protocols 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 (CIH)
- Institute of Occupational Safety and Health Level 3 Certification
- Qualified Environmental Professional (QEP)
Finding Your Place in Global Health and Safety Management
The persistent effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still being felt by individuals, communities, industries and organizations. As the threat of the virus wanes and new workplace challenges arise, organizations are redefining work conditions and new health and safety strategies are emerging. Successful global health and safety managers monitor these issues and adapt as the working world changes — again. An online Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from USC can help you navigate these challenges with confidence.
With 100% online coursework and five concentrations to choose from, USC’s MPH program can help prepare future leaders in the field. Take the first step to a rewarding future in public health today.