Posted by: Rob | June 3, 2009

E.H. & S.

EH&S.  Three little letters.  But with big implications.  It’s an acronym, of course, and it stands for Environment, Health & Safety.  And it is, apparently, a very important group of letters to my employer.

I see it as an unrelenting and unending quest to alter human behaviour.  And a potentially huge time suck.

Don’t get me wrong.  Especially in the safety arena.  I have no wish to see anyone injured, maimed, or even killed, on the job.  I just have no desire to be a hand-holding babysitter to ensure that it doesn’t happen.

This is not what I signed up for when I earned a degree in engineering.  It plays neither to my strengths nor to my interests.

The battle is against human complacency and indifference.  Workers can be supplied with the knowledge, the tools, the know how – whatever they require – in order to complete any job or task safely and without incident.  Whether or not they do so, whether or not they use the tools provided, is solely and completely up to them.

We don’t use a stick.  We use a feather.  And coddling.  If my employer were really serious about adherence to safety rules and regulations, then a harsher set of consequences would be deployed.

I say, if someone breaks the rules, then fire them.   Maintaining your employment should be as simple as following the rules, thinking for yourself and paying attention.  It’s not that difficult, really.

I have a multitude of different things I could spend my time on.  Babysitting trades workers is something I would rather not do.


  1. It sounds to me like you work for the Government.

  2. There is an Australian radio program called ‘Counterpoint’ that had a feature about OH&S (same as EH&S) this week. Basically how it has gotten out of hand at the expense of profits. I didn’t agree with everything they said – but it was well thought out.

  3. In the US it is more likely the employer pushing the workers to break OSHA rules in the pursuit of bigger profits. There’s always another worker where that one came from, and it’s even better if they are overseas.

  4. for every mishap an investigation. and in my world, that starts with training records — were your employees subjected to mandatory training for X00 hours this year? then, “was it documented?”, “which version of the training?”, blah, blah… which then leads to a requirement for X02 hours of training…

    yes, there should be an analysis of what went wrong, corrective action should be taken, and if somebody blatantly disregarded rules, seeyabyegottago!

    my supervisory training class was 2 1/2 days recititing all the different ways i could go to jail, and safety was at the top of the list. ugh.

  5. Obeying the rules?
    Where’s the fun in that? 😉

  6. Besides, I like feathers …
    Ok, ok, I’m going now.

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