safety profession has a long and distinguished history tracing back to
Hammurabi (ca. 1728–1686 BC), who was the sixth king of Babylon. Hammurabi is best known for his codification of laws, which included some, if not the first, set of worker’s compensation laws known. The safety profession has greatly changed since the days of Hammurabi. On December 29, 1970, Public Law 91-596 (The
Williams–Steiger Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970) was signed into law. This legislation focused on controlling
hazards and ensuring safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women; by authorizing enforcement of the standards developed under the Act; by assisting and encouraging the States in their efforts to assure safe and healthful working conditions; by providing for research, information, education, and training in the field of occupational safety and health; and for other purposes. Under the Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was created within the
Department of Labor. The passage of this legislation highlighted the need for educated and knowledgeable professionals in the area of safety and health. Over the past 39 years, the safety profession has matured, as evidenced by universities offering undergraduate and advanced degrees in safety and health, placement of safety professionals at the highest levels of management, and certification of safety professionals. Today’s safety profession requires a broad range of knowledge, including biology, chemistry, mathematics, business, and management. Your decision to become a candidate for the Certified Safety Professional (CSP) designation is an important step in your professional career. This book is written to assist you in achieving that ultimate designation as a safety professional.
Information provided in this section is derived from the “Safety Fundamentals Examination Guide, Fifth Edition, April 2008.” This information is derived from copyrighted materials that are owned by the
Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP).
BCSP was organized in 1969 as a peer certification board. Its purpose is to certify practitioners in the safety profession. The specific
functions of the Board are to
Evaluate the academic and professional experience qualifications of safety professionals,
Issue certifications to those professionals who meet the Board’s criteria and successfully pass required examinations.
In 1968, the
American Society of Safety Engineers studied the issue of certification for safety professionals and recommended the formation of a professional certification program. This recommendation led to establishing BCSP in July 1969. The BCSP governing Board consists of 13 directors who represent the breadth and depth of safety, health, and environmental practice, as well as the public. Six of the directors are nominated to a pool by professional membership organizations affiliated with BCSP. The professional membership organizations currently affiliated with BCSP are the following:
American Industrial Hygiene Association,
American Society of Safety Engineers,
Institute of Industrial Engineers,
National Fire Protection Association,
National Safety Council,
Society of Fire Protection Engineers,
System Safety Society.
BCSP has issued the CSP credential to more than 20,000 people, and more than 11,000 currently maintain their certification.
The CSP credential meets or exceeds the highest national and international accreditation and personnel certification standards for certification bodies. International accreditation is ISO/IEC 17024, and national accreditation is the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.
The information throughout this chapter is derived from the “A Complete Guide to Safety Certification,” May 2019, or from the “Safety Fundamentals Examination Guide, Fifth Edition, April 2008.” This information is derived from copyrighted materials that are owned and copyrighted
by the BCSP. Updates to the policies are current as of December 10, 2019, based on the requirements provided at the Board of Certified Safety Professional’s website (www.bcsp.org
BCSP’s certifications are accredited by the American National Standard Institute (ANSI), an independent third-party organization that evaluates certification program and organization requirements on a regular basis.
A safety professional is one who applies the expertise gained from a study of safety science, principles, practices, and other subjects from professional safety experience to create or develop procedures, processes, standards, specifications, and systems to achieve optimal control or reduction of the hazards and exposures that may harm people, property, or the environment.
Professional safety experience, as interpreted by BCSP, must be the primary function of a position and account for at least 50% of the position’s responsibility. Professional safety experience involves analysis, synthesis, investigation, evaluation, research, planning, design, administration, and consultation to the satisfaction of peers, employers, and clients in the prevention of harm to people, property, and the environment. Professional safety experience differs from nonprofessional experience in the degree of responsible charge and the ability to defend analytical approaches and recommendations for engineering or administrative controls.
A Certified Safety Professional or CSP is a safety professional who has met and continues to meet all requirements established by BCSP and is authorized by BCSP to use the CSP title and the CSP credential. Certificants who hold the CSP mostly work in private industry, which could include being a government contractor. A CSP who works in the government sector may work in the military, federal, state, or local agencies. Safety at this level is virtually in every industry, including petroleum exploration, production and refining, manufacturing, construction, health care, and insurance. A CSP’s professional time is spent on safety management systems, occupational health and ergonomics, emergency response and preparedness, fire prevention and protection, and security responsibilities. A CSP may also have environmental management system responsibilities, including managing safety, health, and environmental programs that can cover up to 1,000 or more employees.
An Associate Safety Professional or ASP is now a full certification offered by the BCSP. It was previously only a temporary credential before becoming a CSP awarded by BCSP. This designation describes an individual who has met the academic requirements for the ASP certification and has passed the Safety Fundamentals Examination, the first of two examinations leading to the CSP credential. ASPs are persons who perform at least 50% of professional-level safety duties, including making worksite assessments to determine risks, potential hazards, and controls; evaluating risks and hazard control measures; investigating incidents; maintaining and evaluating incident and loss records; and preparing emergency response plans. Other duties could include hazard recognition, fire protection, regulatory compliance, health hazard control, ergonomics, hazardous materials management, environmental protection, training, accident and incident, investigations, advising management, record keeping, emergency response, managing safety programs, product safety, and/or security.
A Graduate Safety Practitioner or GSP
is a temporary designation awarded by BCSP. This designation describes an individual who has graduated from an independently accredited academic program meeting BCSP’s standards. GSPs must sit for and pass the CSP examinat...