COBE goes environmental with OEHS major

Carli Pope, Assistant Biz & Tech Editor

The College of Business and Economics at UW-Whitewater provides a Department of Occupational & Environmental Safety & Health (OESH). This department provides guidance for students looking to learn how to protect the workforce, work with the public and work in an outside environment.

Students studying Environment Safety and Health (EHS) focus on practical aspects of environmental protection and safety throughout a business.  

Students can earn a Bachelor of Science in occupational safety. Upon graduation, they will have learned about the interaction between people and the physical, chemical, biological and psychological factors that affect safety, health and productivity.

Todd Loushine, an associate professor of Occupational & Environmental Safety & Health and the coordinator of fieldwork and internships, had advice for students that are working their way to this career.

“The EHS field is a somewhat ‘small’, so when you become active and hold leadership roles you get to know pretty much everyone.”

Therefore, students should become members of the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), National Safety Council (NSC), and participate in the Student Safety Organization (SSO).

It’s important not to just be a member but also to attend meetings and to volunteer. The more time and effort they put into professional networking (and development, such as attending seminars, getting certificates, etc.) the easier it will be to get a job when they graduate.

After graduation, students will be able to evaluate a workplace and other environmental exposures, prescribe preventive and corrective actions, apply legal aspects of OESH practice, effectively communicate with stakeholders and manage OESH programs.

In an article from the Top 25 Best Value Occupational Safety and Health Degrees of 2019, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater was ranked 10th.

This degree according to the article “gives students the most up to date skills utilized to protect people at work and the environment.”

The article also included that the coursework builds a good framework for accident prevention, fire prevention, ergonomics and understanding of legal contexts.

The department chairperson and the undergraduate program coordinator, Dr. Alvaro Taveira mentioned some of the careers that come after graduating.

“A majority of our students will work for mid-sized or large organizations across many different industries, including manufacturing, construction, insurance, warehousing and distribution, transportation, government, and others,” said Taveira.

Since a lot of students are worried about how they are going to pay off their student loans, getting a job in this workplace will lead to a salary. The salary range in Wisconsin for this fieldwork ranges from $40,000 to $63,000.

Taveira said that the students that graduate from the program have “one of the highest initial salaries among the majors offered by UW-W. The most recent available data indicates average initial salaries approaching $60,000.”

“There’s an abundance of opportunities, and we really have an impact on people’s lives and the success of a company. It’s very rewarding career, and it tends to pay well too,” said Loushine.

If you are looking into getting a career in the Occupational & Environmental Safety & Health department visit