How to Become a Chemical Safety Officer


If you want to become a chemical safety officer, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for you. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for it:


Chemical safety officers typically have a keen interest in chemistry as well as public safety. They are individuals that are able to strictly follow safety protocols and regulations without taking shortcuts.


Chemical safety officers have a varied skills set; one that includes knowledge of municipal and regional Hazardous Materials legislation, the ability to communicate effectively, the ability to use specialized computer programs, and many others.


They must be comfortable working in a laboratory setting, and communicating their findings and opinions to others, especially when their findings and opinions relate to violations of regulations.


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as a chemical safety officer. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become a Chemical Safety Officer

Although educational requirements vary by employer, you typically need a bachelor’s degree in chemistry to be considered for a job as a chemical safety officer, although some employers may require that you have a master’s degree in chemistry.


While many chemical safety officer jobs don’t list a master’s degree as a prerequisite, it is certainly a valuable asset to have. Having a master’s degree in chemistry will make your resume stand out in the eyes of employers, as well as possibly qualify you for a higher pay grade, or allow you to access more senior level positions in the field of environmental health.





General Job Description

Chemical safety officers are responsible for overseeing for the management of chemicals, including such functions as maintaining inventory; training others in the safe use of chemicals; responding to spills and emergencies; performing laboratory inspections; risk assessment of academic, research and service activities involving chemicals; and investigating accidents and injuries that involve chemicals.


They may also be responsible for the management of their employer’s hazardous waste program, which may include overseeing internal hazardous waste collection, handling, and storage; contracts with hazardous waste disposal service providers; recordkeeping and reporting to both internal and external bodies.



Typical Job Duties

• Perform monthly laboratory safety inspections

• Monitor the storage, handling and disposal of hazardous or chemical waste and related equipment

• Maintain chemical inventories

• Coordinate and monitor industrial hygiene activities such as water, air and material of unknown properties sampling

• Act as a point of contact for regulatory bodies

• Evaluate the use of personal protective equipment by personnel

• Serve as an emergency coordinator regarding hazardous material spills and accidents

• Investigate employee complaints relative to occupational chemical exposure, indoor air quality

• Provide toxic hazard analysis

• Submit corrective recommendations concerning unsafe working conditions



Who Employs Chemical Safety Officers?

Chemical safety officers are hired by organizations that use chemicals and other hazardous materials for a variety of purposes, including research, commercial product development. They are also hired by organizations that transport, store and dispose of chemicals and hazardous materials, as well as organizations that regulate these activities.


Such organizations include:


• Colleges and universities

• Private research laboratories

• Oil, gas and mining companies

• Industry regulatory bodies

• Industrial health consulting companies

• Municipal, regional or federal government departments, such as Health departments

• Hazardous waste transportation and management companies





Average Salary Level

The salary level of chemical safety officers can vary depending on factors such as their level of education, their level of experience, where they work, the specific responsibilities of their job, and many others.


Chemical Safety Officer Salary - Canada: According to the 2018 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Inspectors in Public and Environmental Health and Occupational Health and Safety occupational group earn an average salary of $80,949 per year. Unfortunately, similar statistics were not available at the time of writing (July 3, 2019) for other Canadian provinces.


Salary - United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of workers in the Occupational Health and Safety Specialists occupational group is $64,660 per year. 



Work Environment

Work Setting: Chemical safety officers typically conduct most of their duties on-site in order to conduct inspections, investigate accidents and meet with laboratory staff. They also spend time in an office setting, in order to conduct duties such as preparing reports, setting up schedules and answering questions from executive management.


Work Schedule: Chemical safety officers usually work regular office weekday hours. However, overtime sometimes is required in order to meet deadlines.


Physical Requirements: The work of chemical safety officers requires walking, visually inspecting facilities and laboratories, being exposed to hazardous materials, sitting at a desk, and may also require light lifting.



Skills and Traits Needed to Become a Chemical Safety Officer

To be effective as a chemical safety officer, you'll need to posses certain skills and personality characteristics. These skills and traits will enable you to gain the knowledge necessary to perform your job with competence, and will allow you to endure the ups and downs of this career.


• Enjoy working independently at times, and as part of a team other times

• Excellent organization and time management skills

• Good oral and written communication skills

• Must have an interest in and be dedicated to community/public health and safety

• An ability to foster relationships with service providers

• Able to strictly follow protocol without cutting corners

• Knowledge of municipal, regional and federal Hazardous Materials Regulations

• Able to use specialized computer programs for various purposes, such as organizing data

• Able to work flexible hours, as may be needed to respond to emergencies and other situations

• Must be able to lift, carry, transport and pull weights up to 20 kg and 205 L chemical drums



Job Postings in the Field

Our job board below has "Chemical Safety Officer" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.



Similar Careers

Listed below are jobs that are similar in nature to 'chemical safety officer', as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Environmental Auditor

Industrial Hygienist

ISO Auditor

Public Health Inspector

Safety Engineer




Please use the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a chemical safety officer.


Occupations in Alberta:Occupational Health and Safety Officer.” (March 31, 2017). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved November 3, 2019.

Healthcare:Occupational Health and Safety Specialists and Technicians.” (September 4, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved November 3, 2019.

College to Career:Health & Safety?” AGCAS editors (n.d.). American Chemical Society website. Retrieved November 3, 2019.



Scholarships for Becoming a Chemical Safety Officer

Scholarships in our database that are listed for majors that apply to becoming a chemical safety officer can be found on our Chemistry Scholarships page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Relevant Fields of Study in Our Database

Below is a list of majors in our database that are relevant for setting the educational foundation needed for this profession. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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