OSHA compliance and safe operation of equipment are shared responsibilities in the military and industry. The Environmental Health and Safety Manager is a great transitional role for service members with a particular skill set. While safety is everyone’s job, not everyone from the military has the skill set industry requires. But those in industry should also know that many in the military do possess the skills necessary for success and that many of these “success skills” are “soft skills”.
In talking with Bradley-Morris, Inc. (BMI) alumni who are now in Environmental Health and Safety careers, the feedback is interesting. For one, most put the hard-to-soft skill ratio at about 25% to 75%. For example, the hard skill of data collection for OSHA reporting requires the soft skills of being proactive to get ahead of the deadline curve, getting buy-in to collect data from someone who may not see the reporting as urgent or important and being resourceful in gathering benchmark information, often from industry competitors. This trend continues the deeper down the Environmental Health and Safety rabbit hole we go.
On the industry side, all branches have industrial hygiene career fields. The Navy and Army have information online regarding their industrial hygiene operations. The Air Force program is viewed favorably by corporate America as well. In addition, some managers have a strong interest in students who pursue an Environmental Health and Safety or Industrial Hygiene degree field after their military service. While hiring managers varied on their preferences, all of the BMI-placed military-experienced candidates were successful in their civilian Safety and Industrial Hygiene careers.
The skill map. When we are matching military candidates to this career field, they must be strong technically so they understand how machines work and how areas of potential danger can be engineered out of the system. They need to know reporting – it’s a big part of the job – so information and data collection skills are important. An understanding of physics and/or chemistry is required in some industries when the operation involves hazardous or radioactive materials. Experience with information indexing, i.e., knowing where to find various rules and regulations from Federal Government to Corporate Regulations or Industry benchmarking is necessary. This and a laundry list of soft skills make for a successful military-to-industry Environmental Health and Safety hire.
Image courtesy of Fort Rucker