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What is the difference between a safety officer and a safety engineer?

By Jennifer Anderson | Last updated: June 29, 2017
Presented by Nektar Data Systems

The responsibility of a safety officer is to ensure that safety procedures and processes are carried out by the workforce in a way that conforms with legislation, guidelines for best practices, and internal company policies. The safety officer reports directly to a supervisor or the company owner, depending on the size of the company.

Unlike safety engineers, they may not have any specialized safety education or training. They are often employees with some seniority and a good track record of safe conduct.

A safety engineer, on the other hand, is a qualified mechanical or chemical engineer. They are responsible for developing and maintaining a safe worksite. They will monitor work conditions and take steps to create a work environment that anticipates and controls chronic or acute hazards (learn about the difference between the two). In other words, they are tasked with making the workplace as safe as possible.


In addition to basic engineer diplomas, safety engineers usually have a background of engineering courses geared toward workplace safety or process safety and have acquired additional safety certification.

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