A person performing the role of safety engineer has typically received formal education or specific training in occupational safety. As it occurs today, design engineers can complete college or university without taking a single health or safety course. In fact it has been argued by management professionals trying to fill health and safety positions, that a stronger focus is too often centred on math courses such as calculus, and not enough on business management and international safety.

Functions of a Safety Engineer

The function of a safety engineer is significant. When their job is done properly, few people notice. When there is a defect in their process, that doesn't get corrected prior to implementation, the bungled results are on display for everyone to critique. The complications can result in injury or death for the associates, or consumers that depend on an error free job.
A capable safety engineer will most positively affect their environments through steps taken during the design process, look at the Bic pen cap. International safety standards required companies to minimize the potential of choking hazards. People put the cap in their mouth to chew on, as a sort of compulsion. They hold it with their teeth to multi task, and remove the cap with their teeth, so they can function quickly and effortlessly. Inadvertently a percentage of the users would swallow the cap. By redesigning the caps with an opening in the tip, as opposed to the closed end, a staple in the design process from its inception, the company is now compliant in regards to international safety standards, and people's lives have less likelihood of danger from this device.

5 Step Process

A trusted safety engineer will adopt 5 steps to achieve the goals set before them.
1. Problem Identification. The engineer will gather information to properly describe the problem or situation. Specifications will be laid out. Constraints and possibilities will be registered, creating a clear description of the issue at hand.

2. Synthesis. The engineer will, through scientific procedures and techniques, develop initial solutions for the problem that was identified in step one. From here, one or several solutions will be considered.

3. Analyze and Evaluate. Each solution from the synthesis step will be broken down for scientific analysis and specific evaluation. The overall outcome will address functionality; if it is economical and, if it satisfies all specifications.
4. Document and Communicate. This will include all drawings, blueprints and calculations to fully inform all parties participating. This will be reciprocated with revisions based in part on the feedback that is received.

5. Produce and Deliver. Working models are developed, and tested on control groups to ascertain viability. Final designs are integrated into what will become the final product. This will then be produced and delivered.

Importance of a Safety Engineer
Candidates most likely to work with, or develop into a safety engineer role are chemical engineers, environmental engineers, design engineers or industrial engineers. This type of well-rounded attack towards a common problem yields great results for everyone associated. The safety engineer plays a vital role in making our world a safe place for everyone to coexist in. Through incompetence or lack of understanding, they can cause insurmountable damage to people and things. With proper support and education though, they will help in meeting compliance within systems and ergonomically fashion apparatuses to meet the user's needs.