You want to see the OHS profession grow, right?  One way is to increase your engagements with current topics. Let’s explore how this works.

Business of OHS

Business Insider “The 37 jobs that are most damaging to your health”1 published April, 2017, holds much promise for OHS pros. Many of Insider’s most unhealthy jobs today (see Table I) are some of the fastest growing jobs in America and include tens of millions of Americans.

Using DOL’s O*NET data, Insider analyzed occupations for health measures that include: “exposure to contaminants; exposure to disease and infection; exposure to hazardous conditions; exposure to radiation; risk of minor burns, cuts, bites and stings; and time spent sitting.” 


Insider tracks “engagement” — how many times an article is discussed in social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Insider’s December, 2013, “The 15 jobs that are most damaging to your health” saw about 2.6 million engagements. Insider’s “27 jobs most damaging to health” in 2015 saw 47.6 million engagements. The 2017 installment is off to a blazing start with nearly 400,000 engagements within the first 24 hours of the article’s publication. 

Keeping quiet

Most OHS pros simply are not engaged with the public’s perception of job health risks. Consider, for example, health risks for flight attendants. In 2015, Business Insider ranked “flight attendant” as the second most unhealthy job in America. The job remains in Insider’s 2017 top 10 unhealthy ranking. In 2015, NIOSH published a study on the health risks for flight attendants.2 When NIOSH posts a study, blog comments on the study initiate the engagement process. Hold up one finger, now two. That’s how much engagement the blog has received in two years – only two comments. This is the norm, not the exception.

Professional bias

Why the lack of social media engagement? Perhaps pros are enamored with the historical “industrial” in our profession (all due respect to AIHA, CIH and ISHN) rather than the public issues facing the profession. Or pros have a bias that favors observable lost-time injury rates over often obscure and delayed illness.

Value of engagement

When public engagement derives from a business source, such as Business Insider, whose web traffic rivals The Wall Street Journal3, politicians and special interests are cautious to pull funds and support from organizations such as NIOSH. The potential for many millions of engagements may bring professions such as OHS greater visibility.

Social engagement is easy. An OHS pro reads the results of a science study, such as NIOSH (see reference4 for link to CDC blogs), learns in the process, then posts a blog comment. Or an OHS pro may become aware of an article, such as Insider’s discussed here, log into the publication’s Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter accounts and post comments. Or you can post a comment about this article at ISHN’s website. Lots of ways for engagement exist – you just need to share your professional, expert opinions.

Thinking of engagement, Business Insider also published research on “The 17 jobs that are least damaging to your health” in March, 2016.5 The number one least-damaging job is “Demonstrators and product promoters.” So that’s why people manning the booths at OHS conferences always have a smile on their face. Do you have an opinion on this? If so, get engaged!