Thought Leadership


A job Is a dying concept

July 4, 2012
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+

jobsDr. John Howard, Director of NIOSH, gave the keynote presentation last Tuesday (June 19, 2012) at the American Industrial Hygiene Conference (AIHce). In his talk, he focused on 7 trends that will define the future of occupational health and safety – demography, employment, discrimination, disability, governance, standards and professionalism. In this blog post, I will focus on one – employment trends.

As Dr. Howard put it, “A job is a dying concept.”

He went on to elaborate – In prior generations, security was what defined employment; today, it is precariousness. Work is increasingly contingent and less secure. There is no promise of continuous employment – or, in a great many work situations, of even being considered an “employee.”

According to Dr. Howard, this employment trend has a significant impact on occupational health and safety. Within the current legal structures governing worker protection, non-employee workers are often unrecognized and unprotected. Both workplace safety regulations and injury compensation schemes are based on one’s status as an employee. Yet, the risk of injury or death in the workplace is not related to a legalistic definition of employment – whether you are an “employee” rather than simply an individual laboring in the workplace.

Later in the week, Mike Wallace, from the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), gave a presentation on the evolution of sustainability reporting and the need for new metrics for evaluating organizational performance related to occupational health and safety. 

He started his presentation with the following statistic – annually 2.3 million workers die across the world. It is clear that workplaces are not safe and worker protection is often missing.

He sent on to note that, in the past, safety professionals have “stayed on the sidelines” in defining OH&S metrics for measuring organizational performance – unlike their environmental counterparts. Creating comparable metrics is often viewed as “too complex” and “too time consuming.” 

Is creating OH&S metrics really more difficult than creating metrics to address global climate change?

GRI is currently soliciting public comment on new OH&S metrics for inclusion in the GRI reporting scheme. Unfortunately, to date, the metrics being used, as well as those being proposed, fail to take into account the employment trends highlighted in Dr. Howard’s presentation. In particular, they continue to link OH&S performance metrics to “employee” protection NOT “worker” protection.

In my view, what is needed is new metrics. Metrics that are specifically developed to promote worker protection - not the perpetuation of metrics based on definitions of employment that has little relevance to today’s economic realities.

© ENLAR Compliance Services, Inc. (2012)

Cross posted from ohsas18001expert.com

STAY CONNECTED

Facebook logo Twitter YouTubeLinkedIn Google + icon

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

ASSE Safety 2014 Review

A gallery of photos from the sprawling Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, where ASSE’s annual professional development conference was held June 8-11. All photos courtesy of the American Society of Safety Engineers.

9/9/14 2:00 pm EDT

Welding: It doesn't have to be a grind. The latest in respiratory protection and PPE for welders and grinder

Attendees of this webinar will gain knowledge of hazards and appropriate PPE for welding applications, regulatory drivers that are changing the landscape of PPE within welding applications and the latest product technologies being offered in welding PPE.

ISHN Magazine

ISHN_0814cov.jpg

2014 August

Check out ISHN's August issue which features content about pain prevention, forklift operation safety and a preview of the National Safety Congress and Expo.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

THE ISHN STORE

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\ISHN\safetyfourth.jpg
Safety Engineering, 4th Edition

A practical, solutions-driven reference, Safety Engineering, 4th edition, has been completely revised and updated to reflect many of today’s issues in safety.

More Products

For Distributors Only - May 2014

ISHN0514FDO_cover.jpgFor Distributors Only is ISHN's niche brand standard-sized magazine supplement aimed at an audience of 2,000 U.S. distributors that sell safety products. Circulation only goes to distributors. CHECK OUT THEMAY 2014 ISSUE OF FDO HERE

ishn infographics

2012 US workplace deathsCheck out ISHN's new Infographic page! Learn more about worker safety through these interactive images. CLICK HERE to view the page.