Public Health Inspector

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What Is Your job Title?

Public Health Inspector/Environmental Health Officer

What Does a Public Health Inspector Do?

Governments and Health Authorities employ inspectors to ensure that food and water sources meet minimum standards for human consumption.

Environmental safety may also be monitored including indoor and outdoor air quality, swimming pools, housing accommodations, waste water management, drinking water
treatment and protection, and emergency planning and response.

We also attend care facilities and recreational facilities to inspect for disease and injury prevention.

In the private industry, we may be employed in quality assurance/quality control. In all positions, our main role is education and the protection and promotion of public health.

What Training Is Necessary to Do Your Work?

A four year degree in Public Health Inspection/Environment Health (other combinations of education exist), and National Certification from the Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors.

Where Do You Work?

I work for the department of Population and Public Health in my health region.

Who Needs Your Services and Why?

Any member of the community where Public Health legislation requires enforcement. We are mandated to deliver programs that protect the Public Health.

What Is Your Favourite Part of Your Job?

  • Assisting clients to achieve their goals while maintaining the intent of regulations to protect the health of the public.
  • Sharing knowledge with clients.
  • Having a direct influence on public safety.
  • Seeing people enjoy their community parks, centers and facilities knowing that our work in keeping them safe and healthy.

It is very rewarding to educate clients and see them use that education to assist them in their facility.

What Challenges Do You Have in Your Job?

  • Changing technology can keep us on our toes, so taking time to train is essential.
  • We do enforce legislation and that can sometimes cause hardship to facility operators even when required to protect the health of the public.
  • Lack of staffing in some Health Regions can be a concern.
  • Sometimes the public sees a concern as a health hazard, when we know from our training and proven science that it is not.

What Are the Consequences When There Are Not Enough People with Your Training to Provide Service?

Even though we attempt to use risk assessment and risk management principles in our work, when a lack of staff occurs, sometimes health hazards take a longer period of time to be corrected or controlled. Programs may change from an inspection protocol, to an education and monitoring approach. It may take longer to get to complaints if they fall lower on the priority scale. Staff morale may decrease especially if the workload is extreme for a long period of time. Some staff stretch the work/home balance to the detriment of their own health.