5 new health and safety jobs that have emerged from this pandemic

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Added on by 4 min read

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This year, new health and safety jobs have emerged in the workforce to ensure workplaces remain safe, without compromising on employee health, comfort, and productivity. 

A recent McKinsey survey of 800 senior executives on the post-pandemic workforce suggested that,

“...the crisis may accelerate some workforce trends already underway, such as the adoption of automation and digitization [and] increased demand for contractors and gig workers...Those changes in turn will create greater demand for workers to fill jobs in areas like health and hygiene…” - McKinsey, 2020

And as we learned during Proxyclick’s Return Ready Virtual Summit 2020, HR leaders are paving the way in determining new technologies and roles for a safe workplace. They must stay ahead of the health and safety job titles that can contribute to their organization’s overall wellbeing. 

Some businesses, such as Cushman & Wakefield, are incorporating new positions into their return to work plans. The CRE giant recently published its Recovery Readiness guide that highlights new roles and responsibilities being created in the workplace to ensure each tenant follows building health and safety procedures:

  • “COVID-19 Block Captains,”
  • PPE and Training Experts, 
  • Quarantine Marshals, 
  • and Supplies Managers, among others.

Elsewhere, among physical security businesses, new opportunities will emerge as long as leaders and managers are ready to adapt to a disrupted world of work. Cloud-based access control, multi-skilled front-desk security, and advanced technologies such as AI and VR will likely play a key role in reshaping traditional safety jobs.  

Below are just a few of the health and safety-related jobs that have emerged (or are becoming newly important) as a result of the turbulent last few months.

1. Temperature Screeners

Thanks to COVID-19, the role of the traditional front-desk security manager has changed. From commercial centers and schools to office buildings and hospitals, business leaders are embracing new initiatives to keep both customers and employees safe - and that means equipping and training their staff on the frontlines. 

Taking one’s temperature upon arrival could now fall under the responsibilities of multi-skilled front-desk security managers, or be the sole responsibility of temperature screeners. The new job pays an average of $20/hour and may serve as a standalone job for security managers who have been reassigned or who’ve lost their jobs at companies in highly affected sectors like events, restaurants, tourism, construction, etc. 

2. COVID-19 Marshals 

The COVID-19 marshal is yet another new job that emerged during the pandemic in several countries across the globe. In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson officially announced that the new health and safety job is meant to enforce social distancing highlighting in a statement: 

“We will boost the enforcement capacity of local authorities by introducing COVID Secure Marshals to help ensure social distancing in town and city centres, and by setting up a register of Environmental Health Officers that local authorities can draw upon for support.”

In South Australia, the COVID Marshal job title has been officially declared earlier in August. To become one, all candidates must undergo specialized training. The demand for such experts is anticipated to increase (at least in South Australia), where having a dedicated COVID Marshal is mandatory for businesses or events with over 200 participants. 

3. Contact tracers

The “contact tracer” job function may not seem new. However, in the context of COVID-19, it has morphed into a targeted job title that monitors and tracks down people that may have been in direct contact with someone carrying the virus. In simple terms, it involved cold calling, and according to US-based National Public Radio, numerous states have their demand for COVID-19 contact tracers. 

As mentioned by the CDC, the job description pinpoints that a contact tracer is a public health professional who doesn’t necessarily need a medical license. Apart from having to reach out to people via the telephone, the job involves providing guidance on containing the virus and health education. The dialogue usually abides by standard health and safety protocols; the goal is to get information on symptom history, offer self-quarantine instructions, and additional health information that might be relevant. 

In the US, it is estimated that the new job will create a demand for over 100,000 tracers in the foreseeable future. In the State of New York, contact tracers have an opportunity to earn about $57,000 per year, as well as a full benefits package. To get the job, candidates will have to fill out an application, go through an interview, and take the free COVID-19 contact tracing course. Following the course, all candidates will have 72 hours available to pass the assessment test before becoming eligible for the job. 

4. Occupational health and safety ambassadors 

In an effort to promote better safety guidelines amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Tulane University launched a public health ambassador program. The university will be collaborating with personnel from Allied Universal who will be trained in safety protocols for the new position, the goal of the partnership being to make sure on-campus learning and living are done under the safest conditions. 

Due to an unprecedented number of layoffs in leisure and hospitality, education and health services, retail, and manufacturing, the safe distancing ambassador position has emerged as one of the most unique roles created amid the pandemic. Previous experience in managing challenging behaviors and informing people of the importance of wearing a mask is highly recommended.

Regardless, advanced training is provided to all applicants considering that the risk of making physical contact is incredibly high when safety ambassadors are sent to work in crowded places such as commercial centers, metro stations, hospitals, and airports. 

5. Physical security managers 

COVID-19 has disrupted physical security and the job of the traditional officer that was once in charge of searching for weapons in an airport or breaking a fight between people. As the world adapts to the new normal in life and in business,  the focus is no longer on managing large crowds but rather on maintaining smaller crowds and keeping people safe and healthy. 

Wearing masks and ensuring social distancing is the new value proposition of the physical security sector. Enterprise campuses, schools and colleges, and sports venues will no longer operate as usual.  The new duties of the physical security manager involve tracking and monitoring everyone - a highly demanding task that inevitably leads business owners to hire more staff to be able to guarantee order is preserved at a large scale. 

Working hand-in-hand with cloud-based workplace technologies

There’s no doubt we’re seeing disruption and change in the health and safety job sector. While current roles, such as HR leaders, workplace strategists, and facility managers, are requiring certain health and safety skills, crucial  health and safety roles are popping up, requiring better remote training and onboarding capabilities.

And as we look ahead, many of these roles, like temperature screeners, contact tracers, and physical security managers, will continue to complement new and existing streamlined, cloud-based technologies that are must-haves in today’s sustainable and secure workplaces.


Proxyclick is helping organizations around the world facilitate a safe return to the workplace. Learn more about our latest health and safety features by speaking directly to one of our experts now.

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