Key Takeaways

- This article presents evidence that the safety and health adviser’s role is in transition. There is backlash to the multiple demands on these professionals, ranging from technical to mental health responsibilities. OSH professionals feel overwhelmed with work and poorly equipped to take on these demands.

- This is not an article about how to deal with these demands, but rather about how they are affecting the direction of the OSH profession.

- It offers foundational social concepts and data to consider should a safety and health adviser wish to take a leadership role in the implementation of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.


Evidence shows that many OSH professionals see themselves as leaders. In a May 2022 online survey conducted by Carrillo & Associates, 95% of respondents described themselves as leaders in response to the question “How would you describe your role?” (N = 60). The author sees that a leadership opportunity for OSH managers and executives has risen from the convergence of a worldwide pandemic, a movement for social justice, and a growing demand for businesses to protect both workers and the public. It is proposed that these societal changes also created an opening for safety and health to be seen as a core business process. However, OSH advisers are concerned about assuming responsibilities that require psychological expertise. While understandable, fear of not knowing how to address diversity or exclusion is not a reason to deny their relevance to safety and health.

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