The Safety Professional Blues

25 May 2022
15:40

The Safety Professional Blues

In the past few years, several books written by safety professionals address concerns about the identity, value and contribution of their profession. We read that “Safety sucks!” (Goodman), we are warned about “Safety myths” (Busch), we are offered “An iconoclast view of worker safety” (La Duke) and we can learn about “Challenging the safety quo” (Marriott). These are examples of titles among others which translate a growing discontent.

These books translate (or respond to) a current dissatisfaction among some experienced safety professionals. A proposition is to characterise this situation as the ‘safety professional blues”. Rejecting BBS, giving-up Heinrich, questioning ‘safety as a priority’ or challenging excessive (regulatory) compliance at the expense of professionalism, these authors explore the potential for different practices, for a different understanding of the HSE activity, perhaps role too.

They do so by incorporating and adapting insights from safety science research, and beyond. The aim of this talk is to introduce, situate, discuss, explain and clarify the background of this growing dissatisfaction within the safety profession.