Environmental Health Officer

Cities, centres of dense social and economic activity face many environmental health challenges, that impact people and the environment. This could include pollution of air and water, impacts of flooding, contaminated food sources, risks associated with the disposal of wastewater or the management of excessive waste. Environmental health concerns the identification, analysis and remediation of activities and risk that impact human, animal and environmental health.

Environmental health officers develop, enforce and evaluate environmental health policy, legislation and regulations. They investigate incidences and activities that pose health risks and develop and implement strategies and programmes to mitigate these. They can also develop educational programmes to inform individuals on health and safety matters. Some can also identify, evaluate and control air pollution sources, highlighting challenges and opportunities for its reduced impact.

Environmental health officers liaise between organisation managers and regulatory bodies sharing current and new regulations. They can work in an office environment and often travel to visit, sometimes harmful sites for inspection.

Skills

Environmental health officers require an in-depth knowledge and understanding of environmental health legislation, policy and compliance with regulations. They will additionally benefit from:

  • Competence to easily explain complex legislation and procedures
  • Ability to pay attention to detail
  • Strong interpersonal and negotiation skills
  • Good verbal and written communication and presentation skills

Tasks

Identify, test and report risk in the environment and workplace

Advise on methods to eliminate, prevent, control or reduce exposure to hazards

Develop, implement and review environmental pollution programmes

Implement educational programmes to minimise potential environmental risks 

Studies

B.Sc., B.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc. in Environmental Management at UFS, UJ, UNISA and UP

B.Sc., B.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc. in Environmental Health at UP

B. in Environmental Health at NMU and UJ

Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Environmental Health at CPUT, CUT, MUT and TUT

Employers

National, provincial and local government.

Mining and construction companies. 

All manufacturing and production companies, particularly food and beverage manufacturers.

Medical service providers. 

Tourism accommodation providers. 

Private consultancies.

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