Engineering Career Resources

Safety Engineer Job Description

Safety Engineer Job Description

Safety engineers’ jobs are related to industrial and systems engineering, and focus on ensuring that life-critical systems behave in line with safety regulations even when their component parts malfunction or fail.

A safety engineer is typically the person employed by a company or agency who is responsible for making the work site safe for all employees in the company and ensuring that national health and safety standards as well as those provided by the company or local government, are met.

The safety engineer sometimes looks at a product in the development stage and the safety it offers to the consumer who will purchase it. He or she analyzes and tests the product for faults, and addresses any health and safety issues that may arise. Safety engineers are responsible for making changes to design specifications and creating fail-safe systems, and generally for proposing safety requirements in product design. Sometimes their job is not to propose modifications to design, but to conduct tests to prove that a finished design or one in a late stage of development is safe.

The safety engineer may also be the person who actually helps develop the company, city, state, national or world safety or health policy or policies.


Safety engineers must have a good knowledge of physics, mathematics, statistics, engineering design and mechanics, and industrial processes. They must be familiar with all the relevant health and safety regulations and have an excellent understanding of system and process safety and of safety and health program management. Safety engineers must also have a good knowledge of the components used in a any design, and component reliability in particular, to be able to address any safety risks that arise.

They must have a good understanding of psychology in order to assess and anticipate the human factor in potential health and safety issues related to product or process design.


To become a safety engineer, a candidate usually needs to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Some individuals become safety engineers with a two year degree after they have gained some relevant work experience in the field.

Safety engineers typically have degrees in engineering, industrial engineering, systems engineering, reliability engineering, or management and business administration. They can also have backgrounds in social sciences, psychology and human factors, education or operations.


The day to day job duties for a safety engineer vary based on where the individual is employed, and his or her particular job duties. Safety engineers identify failure modes and make recommendations to add extra equipment to mitigate them. They create plans to contain and isolate failure of safety systems, and propose design improvements for successful recovery. The job duties may require the safety engineer to visit work sites, analyze data, complete reports and ensure that the company or agency is following safety and health policies that will not only affect the company and the consumer, but also the environment. The safety engineer may test and evaluate products, implement product safety recalls, decide how to correct a safety issue, and meet with the people on the ground, upper management, and sometimes city and state leaders.