I work in industry at my company’s headquarters (mid-size company). I have been working as a safety professional for four years… prior to that I was an analytical chemist.
I just wanted to ask others in an industrial setting if they could give me any information on how their company’s safety personnel are organized and who they report to. Does anyone work for a company that has their safety personnel in one department reporting to one senior safety professional?
The company I work for has all of our safety personnel reporting to someone different, and in all cases, not a safety professional. I have expressed concern over this within my company and they have indicated they will hear me out if I would like to suggest something different. I feel fortunate to work for such a company.
The structure now within my company does not allow for the safety personnel to learn new tasks, since the other safety personnel work for other departments and different departments generally don’t want their employees swapping tasks with other employees in other departments, even if the intent is to increase learning and acquire new skills. I also feel that my opportunities are limited by the fact that I do not report to a safety professional, and non-safety managers often do not really appreciate the work of the safety staff because we do not directly generate revenue. Additionally, non-safety management does not always even know if a safety person is doing a good job.
I am interested in obtaining the CSP certification, because I feel it is becoming more and more an expectation of high quality employers, but I don’t think the management above me knows anything about it. I will most likely have to pay for it myself, along with any other training I want that is not required by a regulatory agency. They would prefer to sink any training money they have into people who are doing the actual lab testing and who generate revenue. I paid for my CHO exam myself.
Just wanted to see what others have to say about this, and if they are in the same situation, how they deal with these issues. Perhaps someone knows of some good references as well, where I could study this further.
Pat Peifer, CCHO
Safety and Chemical Hygiene Specialist
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