Federal agencies Inspections

Growth of most safety inspection jobs likely to exceed national average, BLS reports

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Washington — Most safety inspection jobs are expected to outpace projected overall national employment growth over the next several years, a Bureau of Labor Statistics report indicates.

The report states that, between 2016 and 2026, the U.S. workforce is likely to grow by 7.4%, to nearly 167.6 million workers from around 156.1 million. Occupational health and safety technicians (10.1%), construction and building inspectors (10%), health and safety engineers (8.6%), and occupational safety and health specialists (8.1%) are predicted to experience higher-than-average growth.

“Many of these occupations are projected to have employment growth because important parts of our economy – our workforce and infrastructure – need to remain safe and productive,” Alan Zilberman, a BLS economist and the report’s author, writes. “For example, construction and building inspectors visit worksites for adherence to codes, regulations, and ordinances. These inspectors are experts in building code compliance. They must pay attention to detail, and typically must also have experience in construction, such as work experience as a carpenter or electrician.”

Fire inspectors and investigators are expected to experience 7.3% job growth, followed by transportation inspectors (5.9%) and agricultural inspectors (4.6%). Meanwhile, quality control inspection is the lone field projected to lose workers – around 55.5 million (10.7%) – by 2026.


Zilberman points out that machines and other innovations are replacing these inspectors.

“The workers in [safety inspection] occupations share similar skills, such as careful observation and an attention to detail,” Zilberman writes. “Anyone who can see the little things along with the big picture should consider a career in these occupations – just as long as what they inspect cannot be outdone by a machine or robot.”

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