A variety of issues will face the environmental health and safety manager in the future. These will include the same issues that managers in all fields face, as well as those specific to our profession. This presentation is focused on these issues and specific activities of the Management Sub-committee of ASSE's Environmental Practice Specialty (formerly Division).

The presentation will deal with management trends, problems with predicting trends for the future, the diverse nature of the Environmental Safety area, and a specific project that the Environmental Practice Specialty Advisory Board and Environmental Management Subcommittee is currently working on, the Environmental Health and Safety State of the Art Reviews.

As we start the year 2000, we all wish we had a view of the future. What are and what will be the hot issues in Environmental Management we of concern? We can look at the facts of the past to predict future trends. What will be the hot topics? Where is the profession heading? What will be the major Environmental Safety issues facing the profession in the year ahead?

After we review and understand these issues, we can decide to follow the trends, or to actively lead and influence as our conditions and opportunities allow.

To address some of these complex questions in our limited time, this presentation will be divided into four areas. These are

  • General Management Issues,

  • Issues specific to the field of Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety,

  • Staffing and employment trends, and

  • a project by the Environmental Practice Specialty (Division) to address one of these issues.

General Management Issues

"We are living in a time of great change," notes Peter F. Drucker, the highly respected writer, professor, and consultant to organizations worldwide. The basic theory of the business is undergoing review. Relationships between organizations, services, products, and customers have all dramatically changed, and will continue to do so in the future.

With organizations changing so dramatically, the environmental health and safety field must respond rapidly and appropriately. As in many fields, Environmental health and safety managers are expected to be subject matter experts, as well as competent generalists in management, customer relations, and other business related areas. The basic commodity we all sell is specialized knowledge. Examples would include knowledge of compliance issues, or other specialized scientific, engineering, or specialized applications knowledge.

The successful manager also needs to be aware of macro trends that affect local, national, and global markets. General business trends and practices have and will continue to have major effects on the profession. The forces of Global Competitiveness will continue to dominate in the years to come. Peter F. Drucker notes, "All institutions have to make global competitiveness a strategic goal. No institution, whether a business, a university, or a hospital can hope to survive, let alone to succeed, unless it measures up to the standards set by the leaders in its field, anyplace in the world."

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