What Does an Environmental Safety Inspector Do?

Almost every aspect of daily life is the workplace for an environmental safety inspector. The quality of the environment affects people wherever they work or play, in the food they eat, in their homes and offices, in the water they drink and in the disposal of waste. Vigilant attention to maintaining a safe environment prevents illness and helps to keep people safe. The duties of an environmental safety inspector are vital in providing education as well as surveillance to ensure the enforcement of laws that protect the public.

Gaining Strength in Canadian Enforcement Measures

The government of Canada, in its Service Canada – People Serving People program, states that inspectors are responsible for monitoring conditions in public facilities, industrial establishments, restaurants, municipal water systems and other locations to make sure that regulations are enforced. Government standards provide guidelines for pollution control, sanitation, management of hazardous materials and other matters that affect the environment. Recognition of the public’s awareness of the need for strict enforcement of environmental protective measures has led the government to anticipate an increase in the number of staff involved in environmental safety inspections.

Supporting Services in the United Kingdom

The Midlothian Council, a local authority in Scotland, enumerates a variety of duties that protect the health of its citizens . Environmental health officers are required to ensure these conditions:

• a quality environment in homes
• good hygiene in food service locations
• reduction in air pollution
• infectious disease control

The council is one of 32 bodies in Scotland that have legal authority to enforce environmental regulations.

Flourishing Activity in the United States

Sonoma County in California has developed a program that addresses the concerns of its citizens with regard to air quality, community construction projects and climate change. The Department of Health Services at  protects health through an expansive program that includes these divisions:

Food Sanitation
Areas of interest include food inspection, consumer protection, food borne illness, cottage food industries and dairy inspection among others.

Recreational Health
Focus is on sampling fresh water for quality, monitoring quality of ocean water, monitoring public swimming facilities and the construction of pools and spas.

Land Use
Inspectors are responsible for services related to lead poison prevention and for living conditions in organized camps, detention facilities and substandard homes.

Construction Practices
Environmental drilling is a central focus of the division that is responsible for investigating and cleaning up contaminated sites. Working in conjunction with agencies that have similar duties, the division attempts to eliminate environmental hazards.

Water Quality
Managing storm water protects waterways and contributes to a good quality of life. The division responds to reports of spills or illegal dumping of materials into storm drains or fresh water creeks.

Solid Waste
Inspecting landfills and transfer stations is a duty of environmental safety officers, including the illegal storage of solid waste. Haulers of waste tires and the sites that receive them are monitored as well.

Medical Waste
The division enforces standards set by the Department of Health Services to ensure the proper handling of medical waste.

Accepting the Challenge

Environmental safety inspectors face a challenge to protect the public from harms that arise in almost every aspect of life. Accepting the responsibility provides a valuable service to a community.