The 4 Critical Skills You Will Need to be a Successful Safety Professional

In the coming decade, the certified safety professional (CSP) will be in high demand because companies can no longer afford for accidents and disasters to increase insurance rates, scar their reputations and sink their stock prices. In response to the rise in safety compliance positions, we decided to explore what skills employers want in the safety professionals. Here are some of our findings .

    1.  The ability to create and implement safety programs across cultures: One of my clients recently said,“What works in Peoria, IL may not work in Pune, India. I need a safety manager who understands that concept.” In the global workplace, there is no such thing as a “cookie cutter” safety program. Safety professionals have to be sensitive to the cultures, communication styles and languages of the people across their companies because miscommunication can lead to accidents or disasters. Companies will be looking for safety professionals who understand how to deliver and manage multicultural programs.
    2.  The ability to communicate in financial terms: Safety professionals must be able to communicate the benefits of their safety programs in financial terms such as Return on Investment (ROI), Triple Bottom Line (3BL) and Internal Rate of Return (IRR). Communicating in these terms will help assure corporate managers that investments in safety equipment and programs are not only protecting the lives of their workers but averting the chance of large disaster related insurance payouts as well.
    3. Crisis Management & Situational Leadership: “When it comes to emergency response, safety managers have to have nerves of steel and the mind of a battlefield commander.” The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident and the BP oil spill have brought crisis management and situational leadership to the forefront in the corporate board room, the media and the general public. Successful safety professionals will need training and experience in these areas to handle complex emergencies and intense media scrutiny.
    4. Advanced knowledge of Long Term Assessments: Companies want their customers, shareholders and stakeholders to know they are responsible in their operations. Safety professionals may be called upon to do long term assessments to help companies understand the long term health & safety impacts of their operations on workers and suggest changes which will reduce repetitive work-related injuries, chemical exposures and other medical related issues. The goal of these assessments will be to improve immediate worker health & safety and reduce long term medical costs.


A Point to Remember

The job market of the next decade will favor those who deliver strong results, embrace continuing education and build lasting professional relationships through networking. As a CSP, you are in a unique position to accomplish these objectives. The question is: Are you doing these things?

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Special Report: What We Have Learned From The Oil Spills

The Gulf Oil Spill has taught us that a spill is not a singular event but a series of  poor decisions; lax regulatory enforcement or maintenance;a lack of qualified/well-trained people and bottom line thinking. One question that I have been asked about this situation is “What have we learned that can help combat future oil spills” . Here are some of the things we have learned from the oil spill.

  1. America has received “crash” courses in petroleum and safety engineering, marine biology, forensics (accident reconstruction), geology, hazardous materials response and environmental engineering and was interested to hear more . One of the most interesting issues about all of these fields  is they are some of the very same fields where there are shortages of qualified people. Don’t believe me? (Search “petroleum” on Career Builder). I  have written numerous times about the growth predictions for STEM (Science, Technology and Mathematics), related jobs from and other places. These opportunities are real and they will grow even more in the coming years as  more of the “Baby Boomer” workforce retires. It is my sincere hope that someone was influenced to look at these career fields as their future career choice.
  2. The Federal government needs more qualified inspectors for offshore energy facilities: Many news outlets including the Wall Street Journal and  Washington Post reported the fact that Mineral Materials Management Service (MMS) only had 60 inspectors to oversee 4,000 rigs. The testimony of Mary Kendall, the Inspector General highlighted the fact that inspectors received “On the job training” and that ” inspector training and training programs have not kept pace with the technological advancements occurring within the industry.” With that assessment and the impending overhaul of the agency, there will be some additional job opportunities with MMS for those who are interested in environmental, health & safety (EH&S) careers. The CSP or Certified Safety Professional is a great certification to have when looking at these job opportunities.
  3. The Oil & Gas industry, Federal Authorities and Gulf State governments will need an on-call cadre of cleanup workers: It is expected that the authorities and industry will put together a well-trained clean up task force for future spills to alleviate confusion and streamline operations in the future. However, training workers from scratch to clean up a hazardous material like oil is a huge undertaking which presents a host of problems. 40 hour HAZWOPER training is a good start but it is not enough. We can also expect these new workers to get advanced emergency management training such as incident command training as the government looks at ways to prepare for future incidents. Job seekers who want to be on the front lines of hazardous material clean up should look to get the Certified Hazardous Material Manager  (CHMM), Hazardous Material Manager in Training certifications (HMMT) or Certified Hazardous Materials Practitioner (CHMP). These certifications will give more in-depth knowledge on protocol and safety procedures.
  4. Environmental clean up technology companies will receive more investment to develop better technology.: We learned very quickly that our country does not have enough skimmers, booms, vacuums and other equipment to handle a large spill or other disaster of this type. Kevin Costner showed everyone that a great idea, some money and a lot of patience will do wonders for investments in oil clean up technology. You can expect investment to flow into these companies once the government agencies overhaul the regulations. Before you invest in any company make sure you understand the risks. 
  5. Safety Jobs will be hot: The federal government is in the process of overhauling the safety regulations which govern the oil & gas industry but the rule changes will also effect other industries who also use hazardous materials.  The affected companies will update their internal safety policies; step up training and enforcement. Look for Safety Training, Process Safety Management  and field safety positions to open up.

Oil Spill Coverage Over

This concludes Hinton Human Capital’s coverage of the oil spill. In the suggested reading I have provided links to other articles which will help job seekers to find opportunities in the hazardous materials response field.  I encourage readers to comment and ask questions.

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Join Our Mailing List

3 Hot Environmental Certification of Oil Spill and Other Disasters

How to Leverage Your Oil Spill Clean up Experience Into a New Career

International Directory of Oil Spill Contractors

Special Report: The Long Term Oil Spill Jobs Come Into View

This is one in a series of posts to wrap up Hinton Human Capital’s coverage of the Deep Horizon Oil Spill. While all of us are still hurting for the animals and people of the gulf coast who were impacted by this tragedy, the capped well is a good signal that the healing process has started. It is my sincere hope that many people were influenced to make environmental clean up and protection their new career of choice to fight the spills of the future.

What’s Next?

Once the oil well is fully capped and the relief well is in production, we should expect a major ramp up of clean up operations to begin. When I say “major” I mean that I expect more people and equipment to get involved in the clean up process to get the spill cleaned up as quickly and thoroughly as possible. The ripple effect of the activity will continue to create temporary jobs for the gulf coast economy. When the cleanup has reached a point of conclusion (where the government, scientists and the responsible party agree the cleanup has reached a point to stop), the “shovel based” cleanup jobs will wind down and the restoration and monitoring focused jobs will start appearing. These jobs will go forward for a long time and may require people with specialized skills.  Let me explain further.

20 Years and Counting?

The Exxon Valdez oil spill restoration projects have been going forward for over 20 years. Teams of biologists, toxicologists, field sampling and wildlife survey crews routinely go out to the Prince William Sound spill area to monitor the recovery of wild life and plant populations as well as check on degradation of  the oil that was left behind. Read More Here According to the latest information from the Oil Spill Trustee Committee, it may take centuries for the left over oil to degrade completely.

Long Term Gulf Oil Spill Recovery Jobs

The recovery projects for the gulf coast may not be much different but the companies and governments involved will look for ways to accelerate the recovery process wherever possible. In the gulf coast clean up Environmental Engineers will deploy sustainable oil clean up techniques such as bioremediation and phytoremediation in the hard-to-clean areas. These techniques use local microorganisms and plants which use constituents of oil in the metabolic processes and break down its molecules in to harmless natural compounds.  It has been widely publicized that the Exxon Valdez clean up workers developed illnesses after their experience. The one difference  between the Exxon Valdez Spill and Deep Horizon that may happen is that Environmental Health professionals will continue to  monitor the health of the cleanup workers for a number of years after the spill. Oil exposure can cause a number of different illnesses. Some will take years to develop and treat. 

Sound Off

  1. Has the oil spill made you consider an environmental career? Why or Why not?
  2. What do you think the oil spill workers should do after the spill is cleaned up?
  3. What should be done to stimulate job growth after the cleanup stops?

Further Reading

3 Environmental Certifications That Help Oil Spill Workers

Readers Lead Discussion About Certifications,Environmental and Infrastructure Jobs

I thought I had something to write but…..

I knew this would happen someday but I did not think it would be this bad. I have writer’s block. It is torturous to me because I am a person who is hardly at a loss for words. I sat in front of my computer numerous times this week and nothing came out. It’s frustrating! So to help me get through this tough situation, I am going to turn to you – the readers to start the discussion.

It is your turn to lead the conversation…….

I am going to write some questions for your comments (All comments will be reviewed before they are posted

  1. How do you define the term “green job” now versus two years ago?
  2. How did the Oil Spill change your perspective about a career in the environmental industry?
  3. Did the Stimulus bill improve our infrastructure? Why or why not?

Thanks for your comments.


Job Alert:Florida Oil Spill Jobs Open Up

Florida is now heavily embroiled in the battle to save its coast line and economy from the Oil Spill. We support their efforts.

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3 Hot Certifications For Future Oil Spills and Disasters

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Here is the website for interested Job seekers.

Special Report: Oil Spill Exposes The Need For More Environmental Health Related Professionals

Our Angle on The Oil Spill

There are a limited number of people who have the experience and training to respond to environmental disasters like the BP Oil Spill. It is  Hinton Human Capital Blog’s goal to encourage the job seeking public to consider new careers in Climate Change, Environmental and Infrastructure markets because we believe there will be strong opportunities in rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure and protecting the environment as our economy recovers.

Why There Is Need For More Environment Health Professionals

Crude oil contains toxic chemicals which can present a host of different health problems in humans (see report). The thousands of cleanup workers and residents in the spill areas could be adversely affected by these chemicals if they do not take the right precautions. (See stories about illness) Why is it important to talk about this issue now? Over the years it will take the gulf coast to recover from this disaster, there will be an increased need for trained environmental health professionals who can monitor and treat any illnesses related to oil exposure.  There are many stories of workers from the Exxon Valdez spill developing and suffering serious illnesses years after oil exposure and the possibility of a health crisis in the gulf region is real. (Here is a video from MSNBC about the health effects of oil exposure by Riki Ott, Marine Toxicologist and expert on the Exxon Valdez Spill ).

The EPA, federal and local health officials are using education and ongoing testing to ensure public safety. Our hope is that the numbers of qualified candidates for these jobs will rise to deal with any future problems.

The Outlook For Environmental Health Jobs

Since it will take a considerable amount of time to clean up the oil and restore the ecosystem, it is expected that health related job opportunities which will support the clean up workers will rise to meet the demand. (see Bureau of Labor Statistics Outlook) Here are some job titles:

  • Environmental Toxicologist
  • Environmental Health Technician
  • Environmental Health & Safety Professionals
  • Human Risk Assessor
  • Ecological Risk Assessor

Suggested Reading

CDC Oil Spill Health Response

Hinton Human Capital Oil Spill Coverage

Special Report: How The Oil Spill And Other Environmental Crises Create Jobs In Other Industries

The purpose of this article is to point out job opportunities resulting from the Oil Spill and other unfortunate crises. Hinton Human Capital stands in firm support of the thousands of people who have lost their businesses and jobs due to this disaster.

New Jobs In Other Industries Will Appear In The Oil Spill Affected Areas

Dawn Kawamoto wrote  a great article on where she mentions the 25,000 cleanup workers that have already been hired by BP and its subcontractors plus the hundreds more being put through 40 Hour HAZWOPER training for later deployment. The most interesting part of the article was her conversation with the owner of Granite Environmental, a company who makes pollution control equipment like oil booms and silt curtains specifically for situations like the BP oil spill. Granite was hiring more people in their manufacturing facilities across the US to meet the demand.  After I read the article, this question came to mind: Are new jobs being created in other industries by the oil spill outside of the  government responders and cleanup crews?

The Positive Ripple Effect

The answer is Yes. When a major disaster strikes, thousands of people are called in to clean up and rebuild the affected area. The convergence of this large group of people forces the businesses of the  local economy to step up and meet the demands of the new workers which means hiring more workers. There are many stories across the internet and in news media archives about the booms that followed Hurricane Katrina and other disasters. The BP oil spill will not be much different. Here are some of the local jobs that will be created because of the Oil Spill.

  1. Hotel/Motel & Lodging: Once the leak is capped, thousands more people will descend on the beaches of Alabama, Florida and Louisiana to assist in the cleanup. Each person will need a place to sleep. Hotels across the gulf coast will have to add staff to keep the hotels running at optimum service levels.
  2. Restaurants: 25,000+ workers times 3 meals per day minimum. You do the math.
  3. Retail/Grocery: Basic necessities will be needed by all.
  4. Freight/ Transportation/Trucking/: Expect hundreds if not thousands of trucks carrying everything from cleanup supplies to oil sludge on the highways everyday.
  5. Entertainment/Recreation: We cannot expect all of the cleanup workers be on the job 24/7. They need to blow off some steam.
  6. Local healthcare/Hospital: Oil spill cleanup is hazardous. There will a large number of medical personnel on standby to monitor the workers around the clock.
  7. Daycare/Childcare: Some of the cleanup workers will become two income families and will need childcare.
  8. Recycling/Sanitation: The clean up effort will generate more regular trash and recyclable debris. The local sanitation and recycling companies will see more work.

Looking Forward To A New Beginning

The residents of the Gulf coast have been through a lot of trials in the last 10 years. These new jobs will be a welcome shot in the arm to a struggling economy. Let’s hope that this situation moves into recovery mode soon.

Suggested Reading

Special Report: Oil Spill Jobs On The Rise

Special Report: How To Leverage Your Oil Spill/Disaster Experience Into A New Career