Environmental Health Officer

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    Environmental health officers monitor, maintain and protect environmental and health standards according to current legislation.They act as advisers, educators, consultants, managers and enforcement officers, ensuring people are able to live, work and play in safe, healthy environments.

    They may be generalists or may specialise in specific areas of the industry, such as:

    • environmental protection;
    • food safety and food standards;
    • health within the armed services;
    • housing;
    • noise control;
    • occupational health and safety;
    • pollution control;
    • public health;
    • waste management.

     

    Employers of Environmental Health Officers

    • Local authorities
    • Consultancies
    • Commercial organisations
    • Supermarkets and large food retailers

     

    Duties

    • carrying out routine or unplanned visits and inspections to ensure compliance with health and safety legislation and taking action to improve conditions;
    • providing advice and assistance to householders and businesses;
    • taking photos, producing drawings, removing samples and conducting interviews as part of the inspection process;
    • investigating complaints from the general public;
    • carrying out food hygiene and food standards inspections;
    • investigating accidents at work and complaints about poor standards of health and safety, as well as identifying areas of negligence;
    • investigating outbreaks of infectious disease and preventing it spreading any further;
    • taking water samples to maintain and improve standards in public swimming and bathing areas as well as private water supplies;
    • monitoring radiation activity, taking action when safety levels have been exceeded;
    • ensuring the health and welfare of animal livestock on farms and other premises, as well as during transportation;
    • issuing licences for pet shops and other animal-related businesses;
    • advising on planning and licensing applications;
    • monitoring levels of noise, air, land and water pollution;
    • giving talks at public enquiries, meetings and exhibitions, as well as ensuring compliance through education, advice and enforcement;
    • taking enforcement action, initiating legal proceedings, preparing and giving evidence in court;
    • advising on health and safety issues in relation to new buildings and developments;
    • arranging for the removal of abandoned vehicles and refuse.

     

    Qualifications

    There are routes into becoming an environmental health officer for both graduates and school leavers. To become a qualified environmental health practitioner you must obtain an honours degree (BSc) or postgraduate degree (MSc) in environmental health.

     

    Skills

    • excellent communication skills, both written and oral;
    • confidence in dealing with the public;
    • report-writing skills;
    • a strong scientific ability and technical understanding;
    • assertiveness and diplomacy skills, being sensitive to other people’s views;
    • the ability to work to tight deadlines and under pressure;
    • good decision-making skills;
    • the ability to work independently and as a member of a team;
    • a methodical, careful approach to gathering facts and assessing evidence;
    • time management and organisational skills, as well as the ability to manage your own workload;
    • self-motivation;
    • a flexible approach to work;
    • IT skills.

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