Introduction and Background Discussion

Times are changing rapidly. The emergence of managing risk has far more emphasis today than even five years ago. One has only to review the 2012 edition of the ANSI/AIHA Z10-2012 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems standard and the ANSI/ASSE Z690.2-2011 Risk Management standard to recognize that the emphasis is shifting from safety to risk management. We'll examine the changes, advantages, and highlights of the new standards; however, we first must review the document and areas of emphasis in its historical context. We cannot afford to make the same errors made in the past. We must stop trying to force operational management into thinking "our way." Now is our opportunity to demonstrate a willingness to change.

More than forty years of work experience in the construction industry has provided me with a unique perspective on the subject of occupational health, safety and risk management. During the 1970's we were focused on regulatory compliance and enforcement. Those were difficult years. OSHA was the new kid on the block. A significant amount of management referred to the regulations as guidelines rather than regulations. A common response from safety practitioners was…"Sorry folks, it's the law!" Many rookie safety practitioners, including this author, stumbled forward thinking we were in control and enlightened.

In 1977 I was hired at a local nuclear power plant construction site after a stint in the U. S. Navy as a hospital corpsman. My mother went to church with one of the construction superintendents. After a superficial interview, he hired me. "You'll start Monday morning as a "Safety Inspector", he said. I found out real quick that my combat medic training didn't really qualify me for the job. Monday morning arrived and my supervisor handed me the thick OSHA regulations. "Read-up on these here regulations then go enforce ‘em’", he said.

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