The American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) recently posted the following job description, which goes into detail about the myriad responsibilities of the national safety and health specialist, and the high bar set for qualified candidates.



The AFL-CIO Safety and Health Department advocates and work for stronger worker safety and health protections and worker rights primarily through federal and state regulatory and legislative activities. The department plays a leadership role in the safety and health community in the development of safety and health policies and initiatives. It has a small staff, broad responsibilities and is involved in a wide range of safety and health issues and initiatives.

The Senior Safety and Health Specialist works closely with affiliates, safety and health advocates and other AFL-CIO departments to coordinate the development of policy positions and strategies on key safety and health regulatory actions and other safety and health initiatives. The safety and health specialist also provides support and assistance to the federation’s organizing program.

The Senior Safety and Health specialist also represents the AFL-CIO before government agencies, serves on federal advisory committees, prepares and presents testimony before government agencies, conducts research on and writes reports on safety and health issues and upon request participates in union safety and health training and education workshops and conferences.


• Develop strategies for securing new safety and health protections and rights through federal and state regulations.

• Track government safety and health regulatory and research activities.

• Coordinate affiliates and allies and lead a unified effort to secure safety and health standards and pro-worker policies. This includes convening workgroups, researching issues and gathering documentation and evidence, analyzing and preparing summaries of proposed rules, developing a unified labor position, writing comments and testimony, presenting testimony before agencies, cross examining witnesses and writing post-hearing submissions.

• Represent the AFL-CIO before federal agencies and serving on federal advisory committees.

• Research and write reports on safety and health issues. Serve as the primary researcher/author on the annual AFL-CIO report – “Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect – A National and State-by-State Profile of Worker Safety and Health in the United States.” Prepare factsheets, talking points and other educational and advocacy materials for distribution to the labor movement, the media and general public.

• Review, analyze and comment on scientific research initiatives of government and private organizations.

• Provide technical and strategic report to the Organizing Department on safety and health issues in organizing campaigns.

• Respond to media requests on safety and health issues.

• Perform other duties as required.


  • Advanced degree in safety and health or public health (e.g. industrial hygiene, epidemiology, toxicology) or other discipline relevant to safety and health; or an undergraduate degree with equivalent work experience.
  • At least five years of versatile and progressively responsible experience in safety and health.
  • Knowledge of and experience in federal and state regulations and policy related to occupational safety and health.
  • Excellent technical and analytical skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate complex technical concepts to a variety of audiences, including excellent writing, representational, and public communication skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to conduct and coordinate large-scale research and writing projects. Excel and PowerPoint skills desirable.
  • Excellent public speaking skills, including demonstrated ability to interact flexibly and appropriately in a politically sensitive environment. Demonstrated ability to field media calls on technical and policy issues.
  • Demonstrated effectiveness working in politically sensitive and high-pressure environments.
  • Demonstrated ability to prepare clear, timely and thorough analyses of complex safety and health regulatory policy issues and directives.
  • Demonstrated ability to evaluate, prepare written assessments of and/or develop federal and state, regulatory and other policy proposals and related supporting materials.
  • Demonstrated ability to build teams and work effectively in a team environment, in both a lead and support role.
  • Strong inter-personal and problem-solving skills.
  • Experience working for or with labor organizations highly desirable.
  • Flexibility to travel periodically in performance of duties.
  • Ability to work long and extended hours when needed.

AFL-CIO Human Resources Department
815 Sixteenth Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20006

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Equal Opportunity Employer