Safety wisdom from 1970

Robens Human EngineeringWhile researching a blog article I found a 1970 copy of Lord Robens‘ book “Human Engineering”.  On page 124 of that book, Robens writes:

“The apathy towards safety in most industry results in the misuse of safety officers, where they exist. Indeed there are basically two types of safety officers: the professional performing his life’s work, and the man appointed (usually from the shop floor) so that the company can claim to have a safety officer. The latter usually does not posses the experience or training to undertake the vast amount of work expected of him. It has been mooted that standard would be raised by creating a professional status for these officials: an idea that should not be dismissed lightly.”

Such an attitude to workplace safety by many businesses continues to exist.

And if Robens thought that a professional status for safety officers was a good idea in 1970, how come Australia has only just instigated one?  Why did it take so long?  Why was professional status not considered necessary for over 40 years?

(For Australian readers here is a list of public libraries, or bookshops, that stock the Robens book. OHS students may find it offers a fascinating comparative study)

Kevin Jones

Categories book, business, consultation, OHS, Professional standards, safety

2 thoughts on “Safety wisdom from 1970”

  1. Do tell. By which legislation in Australia are Safety Professionals provided status? I must have missed that update.

  2. Hi – not sure if it’s come to the notice of those outside the NT but in proposed amendments to whs act here (published on nt work safe website ) whs reps lose the power to order a cessation of work.

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