COVID jobs: Health inspector

A career in health inspection may exist wherever risks of injury and illness are present. Health inspection professionals may be found working for the Government, insurance companies, hospitals, schools or non-profit organisations.

They are charged with ensuring that laws and sanitary codes are upheld by visiting public places where health may be affected and conducting routine inspections. They may take measurements, temperatures, or samples from a space in order to determine health safety.

Health inpsectors may work as environmental health specialists by inspecting adherence to social distancing and hygiene standards in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, or inspecting water systems; or as food safety inspectors evaluating restaurants and food establishments. Careers may also be available evaluating the hazards at work sites with manufacturing, production and construction companies. Consulting companies may also employ health inspection professionals to work with various types of clientele.

As part of their duties, health inspection professionals do not only perform inspections, but are in charge of recordkeeping and ensuring the compliance of applicable health laws, and better health and safety practices. Professionals may also conduct research on health hazards for government agencies and organisations or use their skills to teach others in an academic setting or the workplace.

Inspectors are often exposed to health risks and must wear appropriate clothing and utilise protective gear such as eyewear, masks, and gloves in order to keep themselves safe. Most inspectors work during normal business hours on a full-time basis.

Career Requirements

A career in health inspection usually requires at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, such as occupational health, public health, biology, chemistry, physics or engineering. More advanced positions may require a graduate degree in a specialty, such as health physics or industrial hygiene. Knowledge of applicable laws and regulations pertaining to a professional’s specialty area must also be obtained either in the classroom or on the job.

Depending on the specialty, a health inspection professional may want to consider gaining certification to increase job opportunities. In the US the Board of Certified Safety Professionals offers many certification options, including the Construction Health and Safety Technician (CHST) and the Occupational Health and Safety Technologist (OHST) credentials. The American Board of Industrial Hygiene offers the Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) designation.

Salary and Employment Outlook

An average employment growth of six per cent was projected for occupational health and safety specialists over the 2018-2028 decade, according to the USBureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS reported that the median annual salary of this group of workers was US$73,020 as of May 2018.


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