Safety engineers have a vital over-arching role in almost every step of the design and manufacturing process. This requires flexibility, adaptability, and a wide-ranging knowledge of systems and regulations.
On the one hand, this seems like a fairly straightforward job description. But anyone familiar with safety guidance will know this isn’t the case. Below, we’ll look at the role of a safety engineer to understand why they’re so important.
A safety engineer is responsible for designing, inspecting and maintaining safety systems and following industry safety guidelines. In aerospace, for example, this means conforming to the Civil Aviation Authority’s safety guidance where applicable.
Safety engineers are involved in every step of the research and design process but are perhaps most relevant in the testing and implementation stages. Although much of their base knowledge will come from previous designs and tests, novel systems and processes require careful attention. For example, if a safety engineer were involved in the design of autonomous AI for aircraft, there would be a wide range of risks they must consider.
Many safety engineers' skills are transferrable across disciplines, meaning, with some extra training, they can move between different industries with relative ease. A safety engineer involved in self-driving cars could switch to autonomous aircraft, for example, bringing a wealth of relevant safety experience.
One of the most interesting (and perhaps daunting) aspects of safety engineering is the breadth of knowledge the role requires. Safety engineers are involved in everything from initial designs to late-stage processes, such as lighting and noise levels. At larger companies, these would likely be handled by a team of safety personnel, but at smaller startups, a single safety engineer may be involved in the whole process.
The importance of safety should be immediately obvious. If nothing else, novel aircraft designs won’t get off the ground without approval from regulatory bodies, much of which relies on safety adherence. A safety engineer’s knowledge covers law, construction, systems and processes, people management, engineering, and much more. As such, they hold highly influential positions in every engineering project.
Safety in engineering has been with us for a long time, but what does the future look like for the role of safety engineer?
Thanks to the wave of technological shifts fast approaching in the aerospace industry, the future of safety engineering looks bright. Whether it’s the switch to hybrid, hydrogen or electric power trains, the evolution of eVTOL, or the looming presence of self-piloting aircraft, there are plenty of interesting new topics for safety engineers to learn.
KDC Resource is perfectly placed to help engineers find their dream roles in various companies. Whether you’re interested in safety engineering in aerospace, defence, or any other engineering-focused position, we can help you find the role you’re looking for. Make sure you give us a call or submit your CV through the form below to see what we can do for you.