For well over 100 years in Scotland, Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) and their predecessors have been primarily concerned with protecting the public from the harmful exposures they may encounter in the environment.

In the early days poor and overcrowded housing, polluted water supplies, and adulterated or contaminated food were the source of much disease and ill health. In 1897, the passing of the Public Health (Scotland) Act gave wide powers to the then Sanitary Inspector to take action to improve conditions for the people of Scotland. Over time the Sanitary Inspector title was replaced by Environmental Health Officer.

This video was produced in partnership with Public Health Scotland.

EHOs are core public health professionals, educated to degree level and professionally qualified.

An EHO may pursue a career dealing with a wide range of functions or may specialise in specific areas of Environmental Health, increasing skills and knowledge in subjects such as air quality, noise, food safety, occupational health and safety.

EHOs often work in local government where they act as advisers and educators, visiting sites and giving assistance to individual householders and businesses, to managers and workers. They will make use of the various tools available to them, through engaging, explaining, encouraging and ultimately taking enforcement action when necessary to protect the health of the public.

EHOs bring their skills and knowledge and often work in other public bodies such as Food Standards Scotland, the Health & Safety Executive, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency or in numerous third or private sector organisations.

Wherever they work, EHOs have the same goal – to improve and protect public health. Why-I-Should-become-an-EHO-2023.

Find out how to become an EHO.