Monday, November 3, 2014

The OSH Value Proposition: “Enable Success Without Loss”

In his guest blog for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, Andrew Sharman, vice chair of the board for Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, offers his take on safety and risk. Sharman, who is also the author of From Accidents to Zero, says there is a “massive misconception” that OSH professionals are “risk-averse, action-stopping do-gooders.”

“If we are to truly do our job of protecting people, planet and profit, we must face toward risk, not away from it,” he writes. He also believes that fear has skewed perceptions of safety risks. “The modern mantra associated with these safety risks is always, ‘But what if ?,’” Sharman says. Instead, OSH professionals should be asking, “What if we could?”

“The real value proposition for us as OSH professionals is our ability to take an inherently risky human endeavor and use our unique skill set to enable success without loss,” Sharman explains. “We engage employees and leaders in identifying actions that both decrease risk and increase the chance of success. We precisely define the risk problem, partner with our people to solve it and enable the satisfaction of organizational needs. We lead the effort to shift our corporate culture from polarized perspectives on risk to informed and balanced decision-making.”

Read Sharman’s complete “Shark-Infested Safety: Reevaluating Risk and Finding Freedom From Fear” post and view his video on the topic from TEDxLausanne in early 2014.