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Generic Types of Engineering Careers

Safety or EHS Engineer

This second category of maintenance engineer is focused on the people safety aspects of running an operation. The engineer will provide the bridge between management and the maintenance engineers to ensure that all safety requirements are in compliant. This engineer will also be responsible for the training and certification of employees who use these assets and infrastructures.

Safety (or EHS – employee health and safety in some cases) is an extremely regulated discipline. Companies are exposed to great financial and legal risk if the key basic safety regulations are not adhered to. It is up to the safety engineer to ensure this level of compliance. It is also the job of the safety engineer to continually look for critical flaws in a company’s safety practices and highlight it o management for actions.

There are in general 6 major categories of safety engineer:

  • Plant and machinery safety
  • Employee practices and process safety including ergonomics
  • Handling of dangerous materials
  • Training and development
  • Regulatory audits – including ISO compliance etc.
  • Environment protection

So far, I have only talked about external regulatory responsibilities. For engineers working in companies that cross national boundaries, there is an added complication to the process. As these companies have operation in many countries, they will be faced with a host of different regulations in addition to common ones. In these cases, companies try to integrate all these needs and come up with a standard policy. The net result of this is a set of internal policies and guidelines that will meet and in many cases exceed local regulations. The engineer in these operational environments will need to work with their counterparts in other countries to ensure that local interests are taken care of and if possible negotiate for some level of customization in the local environment so that costs do not balloon out of control. In many ways, this is probably one of the hardest assignment of this engineer. To bridge local requirements and management needs to line up with the companies integrated standards.

Finally, a bit about career growth. Safety or EHS is clearly a good candidate for shared service models. This means, smaller companies can and in general do, outsource these functions to third party service providers. As such, safety engineers tend to move towards consultancy careers as they mature. Their networks with regulatory bodies and years of experience are well sought after by many customers who’s safety record can make or break their businesses.

One important point to note is that not every safety engineer will become a successful consultant since consultancy require skills that go far beyond just a strong knowledge in EHS. The leadership, entrepreneurial and networking skills may not be present in an individual to make consulting a viable option. In these cases, experienced and competent safety engineers tend to grow within their organizations as specialists and internal consultants.

Here are some key successful characteristics for the safety or EHS engineer:

  • Technical competence in their fields. Regulatory compliance depends on it.
  • Good networking skills with regulatory bodies.
  • Ability to change internal culture to enhance safety consciousness. Normally safety is a reactive element in a typical organization. The challenge is to be able to make it proactive.
  • Obtain key certifications to audit processes as well as to train
  • Consulting skills to provide value to all other fields of engineering.
  • Communications – ability to influence change through communications.
  • Good understanding of business needs and what drives management. Understanding that culture change starts with an understanding of how safety will impact success in business.

For branding of the institute, Institutes may take appointment of Prof. Vijay Navale for career guidance seminars.

Contact : Prof. Vijay Navale : +91-9822502969

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Contact : Prof. Vijay Navale : +91-9822502969

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