For well over 100 years in Scotland, Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) and their predecessors have been employed to look after the health of the public.

EHOs are primarily concerned with protecting the public from the harmful exposures they may encounter in the environment and with improving public health.

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.

EHOs act as advisers and educators, visiting sites and giving assistance to individual householders and businesses, to managers and workers. In certain circumstances, they take enforcement action to ensure compliance with legislation designed to protect the health of the public.

Many EHOs work in local authority Environmental Health Services but many work in other settings, including government agencies, the third sector and private organisations.

EHOs are public health professionals, educated to degree level and professionally qualified. EHOs may pursue a general career dealing with a wide range of functions but many specialise in specific areas of Environmental Health, increasing skills and knowledge in subjects such as air quality, noise, food safety, occupational health and safety.

Wherever they work, EHOs have the same goal – to improve and protect public health. Find out how to become an EHO.