One of the most rewarding aspects of working in the field of occupational health and safety is working in a position that matters, one that seems to make a difference. Whether it is designing or implementing a safety system, developing new procedures, or providing training programs, the job comes with its own set of unique opportunities to make a difference at the workplace and to impact the lives of those with whom we work. And the challenges that confront the safety professional are often huge given the wide diversity of subjects that encompass the world of health and safety programs.
One of those challenges becoming more in demand is the need for qualified consultants in the area of legal or litigation work. Many people simply refer to those who work in this discipline as Expert Witnesses, although that is just one aspect of the type of opportunity that may be provided. There is actually a whole range of areas where a qualified Safety professional may be able to work and make a difference. With the increasingly large recession and downturn in the economy, many in the legal field are predicting even more work as former employees are increasingly blowing the whistle or filing lawsuits against their former employers. Further, some experts are predicting that with cutbacks in many safety programs due to the economy, more accidents could result, making this area one where more and more safety professionals may find themselves working.
This paper will document some of the basic issues associated with working in the legal world as a safety professional. It is not intended to be the final authority on the subject, as that would be much lengthier. However, it will detail much of the basic information of working in this subset of occupational health and safety. It is expected that the initial paper and presentation will be met with a fair degree of interest, and that from this, additional programs will be added that will expand on the basic programs presented in this paper. Those future programs will provide a range of case studies and cover more of the details of how to become successful in this area.
While you don't need to have a legal degree to work in a legal capacity, there are some areas of information that need to be understood in order to be successful. Some of this information and concepts that come into play in the legal arena are not those that can be adequately addressed in any depth in a relatively short paper. One of these is to have an understanding of what a witness is and what a witness can do or say. We often hear of cases where certain testimony is barred from a particular legal proceeding and this relates to the concept. This can happen due to the fact that an ordinary witness is limited in the scope of what they can speak about.