ASSE's Professional Safety Journal: Employees Are a Solution to Harness in Safety Matters

DES PLAINES, Ill., Aug. 1, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the global supply chain grows, the reliance on outsourcing safety functions (combined with an increased reliance on technological capabilities for surveillance, monitoring, storage and data analysis) may be stymieing innovations that could be generated if employees were seen as partners in the process.    

That is the conclusion author Sidney Dekker draws in his article, "Employees a Problem to Control or Solution to Harness?" in the August issue of Professional Safety, the American Society of Safety Engineer's monthly journal. Instead of viewing employees as a safety statistic waiting to happen, Dekker says the more successful safety programs welcome their input.

"Safety professionals should view people as a solution to harness rather than a problem to control, and consider safety more as a presence of positive capabilities, and move from a vocabulary of control, constraint and deficit, into one of empowerment, diversity and human opportunity," Dekker writes.

The better programs strike a balance between bureaucratically controlled safety and worker-managed safety or between deference to protocol and procedure on one hand and practical expertise on the other. 

"Continuing to see people as a problem to control through protocol and compliance may deliver more of the same and not much progress," Dekker said.

In fact, research shows the unintended side effects of bureaucratized safety include an inability to predict unexpected events, a focus on bureaucratic accountability and the occasional creation of safety problems that result from the application of rules or safety systems, constraints on workers' freedom, diversity and creativity.

Read this article at: http://www.asse.org/professionalsafety/pastissues/059/08/032_036_F1Dek_0814Z.pdf 

For more than 50 years, ASSE's Professional Safety journal has been sharing the latest technical knowledge in SH&E—information that is constantly being developed through research and on-the-job experience. Each issue delivers practical guidance, techniques and solutions to help SH&E professionals identify hazards, protect people, prevent injuries, improve work environments and educate management that investing in safety is a sound business strategy. For more information please visit http://www.asse.org/professionalsafety.

Founded in 1911, the Des Plaines-based ASSE is the oldest professional safety organization and is committed to protecting people, property and the environment. Its more than 36,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professional members lead, manage, supervise, research and consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all industries, government, labor, health care and education. For more information please go to www.asse.org.   

SOURCE American Society of Safety Engineers



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