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Employers depend on occupational safety and health professionals to protect workers from health and safety hazards, illnesses and injuries in the workplace. OSH professionals help companies comply with local, state, and federal safety and health regulations while working to design safe work practices as associated risks are identified and evaluated resulting in the implementation of the appropriate controls and reduced risks.

This field has been expanding since the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, which created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA. Some jobs in the field are expected to outpace normal job growth over the next decade as the first generation of occupational safety and health professionals retire and increasing regulations require more personnel.

A recent survey in Safety and Health, a publication of the National Safety Council, found that 21 percent of respondents plan to retire in the next five years. One quarter of respondents said they have added staff in the last six months and one quarter said they plan to add more staff in the next year. More than half, 59 percent, said they had observed a shortage of qualified occupational safety and health professionals with one survey participant commenting that…