Environment, health, and safety. They are central to the world of EHS professionals, and now more than ever, they’re central to the world at large.
As such, this feels like a fitting time to highlight ways in which the value of a career in this field extends beyond the workplace.
Whether you’re an aspiring EHS pro or a veteran of the discipline, here’s a broader look at how EHS skills play a role in many aspects of life, and how you can continue to hone your expertise beyond office hours.
Extending Health and Safety Skills Beyond the Workplace
It’s always fun to have job skills that can impress and delight your friends and family outside of work. The mom who’s a nurse always has the right advice when you’re feeling unwell or you sprain your ankle. The dad who’s a scientist dazzles your buddies with his knowledge of how everything works. The friend who’s a nutritionist offers trustworthy advice on what to order when you’re out to eat.
EHS professionals can bring plenty of their own impactful insights to the table outside of their jobs, where they build critical life skills that pay dividends and support personal growth. That’s part of the reason 79% of EHS pros say they’d recommend a career in occupational health and safety.
Let’s explore some of the ways that these skills come into play.
Best Practices Built In
If you work in EHS, you’ve probably long known about the CDC’s recommendation to go through the “Happy Birthday” song twice in your head while washing your hands. This is one of those best practices that goes hand-in-hand (so to speak) with a clean, safe, healthy workplace – especially where restrooms are concerned.
Given that hygiene and cleanliness are likely to be focal points throughout our society for the foreseeable future, this is the type of knowledge that can be especially useful to you and those around you.
Additionally, a seasoned EHS pro can quickly spot a dangerous electrical hazard in the living room, and can help you create an ergonomically efficient setup for your PC gaming center. Since fire safety measures tend to be far more stringent in work settings than at home, these experts are also very adept at helping minimize them in the places where our family and most precious valuables reside.
Readiness to Respond in a Scary Situation
It might not quite be a “doctor on an airplane” level, but EHS pros are conditioned to rise to the occasion and jump into action when things go amiss. Many are trained in first aid and CPR, either due to employer requirement or personal motivation, and these are the kinds of basic skills that save lives in and out of the workplace.
In some cases, it even makes sense to lead corporate initiatives where all employees can receive training on these kinds of emergency response scenarios, equipping people across the organization with these critical capabilities. You never know when it might come in handy.
"Employees have expressed more confidence in responding to emergency situations, both personally and in the workplace, after having received training," Laurice Riley, senior security specialist for the publishing company John Wiley & Sons, told EHS Today.
Making a Difference for the Environment
Eco-friendly and sustainable practices are increasingly becoming part of the average person's lifestyle. Many are taking small but important steps to contribute to a better future for our planet, from cutting down on plastic straws to adopting green energy efficiencies.
The environment is a primary component of an EHS professional's day-to-day focus. Through their careers, these pros tend to gain extensive knowledge around recycling nuances, water conservation, and energy-saving measures such as LED lighting and solar panels.
Sharing your insights and actionable advice with family, friends, local groups, and schools can help create an outsized impact that is appreciated by all. It's true that one person can only do so much on their own, but when you inform and empower the folks around you, your ability to make a difference becomes profound and exponential.
Continuous Learning Mindset
Those of us who work in the EHS field are very much accustomed to shifting conditions and the value of ongoing education. In many industries, the standards of compliance and regulation are evolving constantly, compelling us to stay vigilantly informed. One recent example is understanding the OSHA requirements for work-related COVID-19 cases.
In general, an openness to learning opportunities and eagerness to expand one’s knowledge base is a helpful trait throughout life.
For a rundown of worthy options to pursue in your own professional growth journey, we recommend checking out this Q&A at EHS Daily Advisor discussing Professional Development for 21st-Century EHS Careers. Justin Scace and Jill James go over a number of credentials and certifications that might pay dividends both professionally and personally going forward.
In the conversation, James also touches on the personal trait incumbent to many EHS professionals that is so powerful in every phase of life: we care.
“I think that safety professionals, maybe we’ve got the corner on that culture thing,” she says. “That’s usually why we got into it, is that we genuinely care about human beings. Of course, we’re going to have exceptions to that like we do in any practice, but I think as a whole, we are people who generally care about sending people home whole and healthy, and we invest all of our energy into that. We know that in order for us to be successful in what we’re doing, we’re building relationships with people.”
EHS Skills: The Whole Package
The remarks above serve to encapsulate why EHS careers are so valuable inside and outside of the workplace. This professional path is founded on the premise of caring about and helping others, as well as the planet we inhabit. Through our day-to-day work, we forge skills that enable us to do so, while also developing as leaders and communicators.
At Antea Group, we’re grateful for the opportunity to routinely work with EHS pros from all industries and geographies for these reasons and more. If you’re looking to grow your skill set in ways that can benefit you at the workplace and beyond, we encourage you to explore our EHS training services.
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