Amid a sometimes violently choppy sea of transition taking place today at work, environmental safety and health professionals must prove their relevancy in business terms. They must go above and beyond what is perceived to be "their job," best-selling author and business consultant Dr. Oren Harari told attendees at a workshop this week sponsored by the American Society of Safety Engineers.

Many Fortune 500 companies from the 1980s no longer exist, Harari said. "It is predicted that by the year 2020 the average life of a Fortune 500 company will be 10 years."

"Top management will be looking to you, their employees, to create value for their customers, to make the company more competitive — so you need to break the routine, keep looking under the surface, initiate fresh ideas, cross departments with your expertise and do more, smartly."

Employers want employees to go above and beyond the "job description." They want employees to help them meet a bigger goal.

For example, one airline executive asked airline employees to reduce the turnaround time for planes to be back in the air by 80 percent. This seemed impossible, Harari said, but everyone worked together, identified the risks and what needed to be done, and they were able to reduce the turnaround time by 60 percent — putting the planes back in operation sooner and increasing profit.

If you left your job today, would they remember you tomorrow? Harari asked. Many jobs now are just a commodity and are becoming outdated.

"Safety will always be here. You just need to expand with new initiatives aimed at creating additional value and success for the company. Make that business connection."