As far as our governments and corporations go, it’s all politics and optics. (bottom line) Most of the time the politicians and corporate leaders have no clue as to what goes on in safety and occupational health (S&OH) at their organizations. IT’S JUST NOT THAT IMPORTANT TO STEAL THEIR TIME AWAY WITH SUCH STUFF.
As far as the general public goes, it’s all about the public not caring too much as long as someone else is looking out for them and it does cost anything for any of us to do that.
Most of the public (its not their fault, its ours) have no clue as to what we are doing to protect their health and safety. And most do not want to take the time to find out. Now you would think that they would since it is THEIR lives, but it is human nature. Look how many people used to fight against seat belts, because they weren't fashionable, didn't fit the way they felt they should fit, or the best yet, if they got into an accident and the car went into a body of water they would not be able to get the belt off. (like that happens, right??) Now look at all of the "general public" who are fighting tooth and nail against laws that target distracted driving. And most of us used to do it or still do it. Talk on the cell phone, text message or (I have seen this) working on their laptop while driving.
It’s all the same ole same ole. Just like we hear excuses over and over when we go to discuss opportunities in the workplace. “Oh, we have been doing that for years and no one has died yet.” “Oh, you've got to be kidding, I will have to build that into my site budget for next year and things are tight enough as it is.”
But go talk to a plant manager or supervisor who has lost a relative, that was working at their site. Then their tune changes. Then they care. Then they want to change the status quo. Then they want to talk with senior management of that organization. Why, of course do we humans have to wait till someone suffers horribly or worse yet dies?
My last point, and I think it is critically important, I believe that the average knowledge base, IQ or whatever you want to call it, in the United States has diminished over the last 25 years. Even when it comes to education, it is all about optics. So if we are creating a society of uneducated graduates from high school and universities, what does that say about our society? Again, this is the problem of everyone does it so it can't be wrong. We are now at the second generation where it is accepted that students will beg, borrow and cheat all their way through grad school. I believe the latest numbers showed that well over 90% of college grads admitted to cheating through their schooling. And parents don't want to know or do know and choose to ignore. So… if this is what our society is creating, how much value do we think S&OH will bring to this type of evolving mindset???? Probably not much.
Everything has causes and consequences. Soon, when the U.S. is a 2nd class country in the world's educated population, then it will be too late. It may already be too late.
It’s time to wake up and smell the roses.
Regards, esteemed collegues.