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Industrial Safety and Health Technicians


In the 18th century, when the Industrial Revolution began, waterpower and steam-driven machines made mass production possible. The primary objective then was to achieve high production rates. Safety on the job was often considered the responsibility of the worker, not the employer.

By the beginning of the 20th century, working conditions had vastly improved. Workers and employers found that the cost of injuries and the loss of production and wages from industrial accidents were very expensive to both parties. Industry owners and labor leaders began to use safety engineering methods to prevent industrial accidents and diseases.

The combined efforts of business, government, and labor organizations resulted in increased safety awareness and much safer and healthier working environments. Industrial safety engineers and industrial hygienists studied accidents and learned how to make workplaces safer for employees, leading to the development of industrial safety standards and practices.

With the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) in 1970, highly developed and accepted standards for safety and health in the workplace became the legal responsibility of employers. Many large industrial companies with established safety programs hired safety and health technicians to make sure that their operations met OSHA requirements. Failure to meet OSHA requirements would result in fines.

After this legislation, companies large and small that had no formal safety programs hired safety professionals and enacted programs to ensure OSHA compliance. Insurance companies expanded their loss-control consulting staffs, and the number of independent safety consulting firms increased because many small businesses needed informed and reliable help to make their workplaces safe under the law.

The demand for trained safety and health personnel increased accordingly. Today, continued public support and concern for occupational safety and health has made it clear that there is a need for broadly educated, specially trained, and highly skilled industrial safety and health technicians.

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