One of your readers recently emailed: “I have always found it interesting that the ES&H function in a significant number of corporations is managed, note I did not say led, by executives who have failed somewhere else in their corporation and are clueless when it comes to ES&H activities.”

As far as leading the ES&H functions, I do not know who or what they are leading. They seem to be checking a box or putting in their time until they move onto their next assignment, if they can pass their ES&H assignment. It is a shame that worker health and safety is viewed in such a demeaning way by the leaders of corporations/organizations. There are too many legends in their own minds who are leading by edict instead of diving into weeds with their reports to see what the real issues are. Now with that said, how many corporate managers ever dive into the weeds of their S&OH responsibilities???

It is a shame that S&OH has been viewed by some as an impediment to organization productivity. Don’t folks see that if you have a strong workforce who believes they are being considered in the corporate mindset, then increased productivity will follow?  

Look at the general morale in the United States right now. In many companies, morale is at an all-time low. Employee Assistance programs are being used at all time highs. And how do the corporate managers perceive this as improving productivity??? It’s like the old saying, “The beatings will continue until morale in this organization improves.”

We all have much to be thankful for, but we should never rest on our perceived laurels. Remember, our jobs are to push the status quo and anytime anyone pushes the status quo we are resented, feared, not appreciated and hidden from. It’s a tough job but we want to do it.

Aaron Chen, MPH, CIH