March 30, 2023

Is Public Health a Dangerous Profession?

A common question surrounding work in today’s public health sector is one regarding the inherent dangers of working in public health. Is this a dangerous field to work in, generally speaking? What are some of the professional roles filled here, and what are their inherent dangers? For the scoop on exactly how safe it is to work in public health right now, read onward.

Related resource: Top 25 Online MPH Programs (Master’s in Public Health)

Public Health – A Wide Industry

The public health industry is a wide one that consists of many professions, systems, organizations, methodologies, and more. While not always the case, most public health-related jobs are found in the government or in highly government-related, private firms. All contributing to the common cause, any job in “public health” will be one that helps to manage the health of the general public through public policy, scientific approach, city design, and more.

To get a better idea of the actual danger levels experienced by workers in this field, it’s a great idea to take a closer look at some of the specific job roles found in this industry. How dangerous are these roles, and how often is danger actually faced? The following jobs are some of those that are very much central to the operations of the public health system today and can thus give a good idea of the dangers faced by those working in this sector on a daily basis.

Emergency Management Director

Emergency management is an area of municipal management and public health that oversees the means by which a community is able to react to certain emergency situations. As such, emergency management directors are the individuals at the heart of this work who design their respective community plans and systems of emergency abatement. Typically, this public health role faces no real dangers while facilitating plans, meeting with city leadership, handling budgetary concerns, planning staff meetings, and all other functions of their daily duties.


Very concisely described by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “epidemiology is the method used to find the causes of health outcomes and diseases in populations.” Subsequently, the epidemiologist is the professional who directly works in this line of specialty to understand and find ways to prevent disease in society. Relatively little danger faces those in this public health role, though they may need to utilize personal protective gear and select safety protocols in order to safely study some materials and circumstances.

Social Worker

Social workers are considered both a part of the public health workforce as well as a part of a number of other vocational categorizations. These professionals work with the public to handle a number of public health and individual safety and health issues such as homelessness, joblessness, lack of access to medical necessities, lack of access to food, child and elder abuse, and more. Little to no danger faces this public health worker regularly, and any cases in which more volatile conditions may exist are always accompanied by proper law enforcement presence.

Environmental Scientist

Finally, the modern environmental scientist represents yet another important area of work in public health that can be indicative of the job sector’s inherent danger levels. Per the Encyclopedia Britannica, those who work in this interdisciplinary fieldwork in matters of ecology, geology, meteorology, and other areas in an effort to gauge overall public health and safety as well as other valuable areas of understanding. Should this professional be sent into a potentially hazardous situation, they are always provided with a whole range of protections, safety training, protective gear, and more.

Understanding the overall danger faced by those who work in any sector can often best be accomplished via a look through the lens of individual workers in that very field. In the case of public health, these above-mentioned vocations central to the overall system provide some great indications of the inherent dangers faced by those working in this area. In conclusion, public health work is generally a very safe area of work to engage in.