One is often concerned about where the next opportunity for advancement may come from. It may be available within the organizational units of your current employer. It may become available by competing for positions with a different employer. It may come by invitation because you have developed yourself and demonstrated an appropriate level of knowledge, skills and experience. It may come through a planned process or through an opportunity that simply arises.
The question is whether you are keeping up with change, have a strategy for your own development, and continue to work to improve yourself. The purpose of this session is to address three aspects of career advancement. They include understanding and tracking trends and changes in or surrounding practice, establishing a process for keeping current and preparing for advancement, and understanding some of the factors that may affect advancement.
There are two main groups of changes or trends that impact one's practice. One group involves changes in the contents of practice itself. Those changes may impact all positions in the field of practice or impact different levels within the practice. The second group involves changes in things surrounding practice and impact the way one practices. Both are important in being able to stay current and to advance in practice.
Convergence of Safety, Health and Environment. In the past, those involved in the safety profession worked in a narrow domain. Safety professionals focused on safety; industrial hygienists on health matters; and environmental practitioners on environmental affairs. All of these areas of practice continue to converge. Many employers have combined them into a single department. For smaller companies these roles are combined into a single, full-time position. The convergence is worldwide.
BCSP data supports this trend. A recent survey established that only 13% of all CSPs work in safety only. Nearly 45% have responsibility for safety and industrial hygiene. Over 40% have responsibility for safety, health and environment.
Broadening Range of Responsibilities. One of the unique characteristics of safety practice compared to many other fields is the breadth of knowledge that one must have in order to handle the range of responsibilities. The range of responsibilities involved in safety practice continues to grow. One should note, however, that the distribution of time spent among those responsibilities can different significantly. The table below shows a composite of practice based on data from people holding the CSP. The table lists the portion who hold a particular responsibility and also the portion of time spent on each responsibility.
(Table in full paper)
Pushing Safety Deeper Into the Organization. Another trend involves moving safety deeper into the organization, particularly into work groups. The trend involves training work group leaders in safety matters and procedures and getting the work group to identify safety issues and hazards and initiating action to resolve them. This is in contrast to forwarding any safety problem to the safety department.