Thea Dunmire has been in the environmental and OH&S field for a long time. She started her first project in 1978 while at the University of Iowa when she developed a system to keep track of laboratory chemicals from initial purchase to final disposal. In the 1980s she did EHS audits of Bristol Myers facilities around the world, went to law school, and then went to work for the U.S. EPA, Region 5 in Chicago. At EPA she was heavily involved in monitoring the clean up at Superfund sites. For more information about her company and services, visit ENLAR Compliance Services, Inc. http://enlar.com. Check out Thea’s blog postings at ohsas18001expert.com. She has kindly granted us permission to post this article, which appears on her blog site. ENLAR Compliance Service, Inc.
Making mistakes is part of being human. There are many factors that contribute to making mistakes, including inattention, lack of experience and over-confidence. In recent years, the field of behavior-based safety has exploded. Much of its focus is on assessing why people make mistakes, and what to do about it.
In the 1960s, there was a popular show called Candid Camera. It was one of the first reality TV shows. The premise of the show was that individuals were secretly filmed after being placed in unusual, ridiculous or embarrassing situations.
I got an e-mail recently from a colleague in which he expressed his displeasure with a business partner who was very late in paying him. What was particularly troubling to him was the fact that the partner’s business was based on selling integrity.
The fear of “what if” is a significant driver in making ethical decisions. This fear can lead to positive results • Fear of getting in an accident – can prevent drinking and driving • Fear of getting caught – can prevent falsifying information • Fear of hurting someone else – can prevent unsafe behavior.
One of the more difficult situations in which to make an ethical decision is when more than one person is potentially impacted by your action and their expectations of how you should proceed are in conflict.
One of the ongoing discussions about OH&S management systems revolves around what it is exactly that the organization should be accomplishing. In “standards speak” this is referred to as the “intended outcomes” of the OH&S management system.
The last few weeks I have been focused on the difficult task of drafting and analyzing comments on the draft ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 standards. This has caused me to focus on the issue of making commitments.
In the last two weeks, the United States has decided to send military personnel and aid workers to Africa in an attempt to help address the Ebola outbreak. Clearly, assistance is needed but decisions regarding what should be done are more complicated that sending in more people.
In discussions of ethics, we often focus on rules. We analyze codes of ethics and we evaluate our legal obligations. Yet, ethical conduct incorporates three values that we intrinsically understand yet often have difficulty defining – trust, transparency and truthfulness.