The Burden of EHS Management
I may be a newcomer here, but I'm not new to Safety. I've been in this field close to 10 years and by accident at that. When i graduated from college with my Bachelor's in Biological Sciences, I never gave even the slightest thought of what I'd be doing with that degree. Fast forward after a year of unemployment, and I got my foot in the door with an alternative energy company in charge of their environmental health and safety compliance. While my first position was mostly clerical and administrative, I learned bits and pieces of the EHS program, and received 4 years of on-the-job experience before moving on to manufacturing; where i spent the next 6 years. In ten years, there's been many highs and lows; and while I can't say for certain where my career will take me, I wanted to take a second to highlight one of the biggest frustrations I have with the field. The job of ensuring the safety of employees in the workforce has become one of the most delicate dances out of any career I've held a position in. Especially when you're an army of one. On one hand, you're tasked with holding employees accountable to safety rules - which they often don't want to do. On the other hand, you're also tasked with holding fellow management peers/superiors accountable for decisions which impact the safety of employees. The latter is easily the harder of the two responsibilities. Even with companies who preach "Safety First" profitability is the number one concern - after all, businesses have to make money in order to exist. While I could drag this point out, I'll leave it open ended with the intention of providing some individual case studies later on in the platform. For those looking to enter the field, be mindful that despite your best calculated safety decisions - safety initiatives will often get crushed by higher authorities within the company due to: Cost, difficulty of implementation, or some other business concern. Don't let it get you down, it's the profession - not you. Some days will be harder than others, but at the end of the day it's worth it, because your efforts will make a lasting impact on the lives of those you interact with.