About Environmental Health

About Environmental Health

Environmental health addresses all the physical, chemical, and biological factors external to a person, and all the related factors impacting behaviours. It encompasses the assessment and control of those environmental factors that can potentially affect health. It is targeted towards preventing disease and creating health-supportive environments. (World Health Organization 2014).

Environmental Health Officer

Environmental health officers assess risk and develop, regulate, enforce and monitor laws and regulations governing public health for both the built and natural environment, in order to promote good human health and environmental practices.

Environmental health officers may perform the following tasks:

  • investigate complaints about food safety and ensure shops, restaurants and food processors follow health regulations
  • monitor and control water, air and noise pollution and collect water samples for analysis
  • initiate and conduct environmental health impact or risk assessments
  • design and conduct health education programmes or public information campaigns
  • prepare policy documents and guidelines relating to environmental health matters
  • manage immunisation campaigns
  • manage programmes to control disease-causing pests such as mosquitoes
  • investigate and manage public health incidents such as disease outbreaks
  • manage programmes to control public health and environmental issues associated with major public events
  • respond to disasters and emergency situations where public health is at risk
  • assess building development applications and inspect houses and public buildings to ensure they comply with environmental or health and safety standards
  • inspect and license premises that may present infectious disease risks to the community, such as tattoo parlours and acupuncturists, where skin penetration and body piercing occurs, and inspect hairdressing and beauty salons
  • maintain records, prepare statistics, write reports and give evidence in court cases where health or environmental regulations have been violated.


Environmental health officers may specialise in the areas of air, food and water quality; disease vector control (mosquito control, for example); waste management; environmental protection; health education; and noise control.

Environmental health officers are also involved in consultation, evaluation, managerial and health promotion activities.

(Good Job Guide 2013)