The Future of Safety and Health

By Mansdorf, Zack | Occupational Hazards, December 1995 | Go to article overview

The Future of Safety and Health


Mansdorf, Zack, Occupational Hazards


Some levels of stress can be beneficial, according to recent medical reports. If this is true, the health and safety field may be a good place to work over the next few years. Most of us in the health and safety profession are currently experiencing an uneasiness over the changes proposed for NIOSH and OSHA, as well as a continuing concern over the recent trends in rightsizing.

Philosophical questions aside, these trends are bread and butter issues for us. Namely, what are our long-term employment prospects? Should I refinance and remodel the house this year, or do I search for an inexpensive hovel in the wrong part of town? Buy a new Lexus or find a used Yugo?

There is little doubt that our profession is undergoing profound changes. Some may even describe these changes in terms of chaos (reflecting a certain randomness). Many of these are directly linked to three key factors: Change in the regulatory climate, changes in organization and management in the private sector, and global economics.

In this article, I will identify and explore some of the key recent and near-term future trends affecting our profession. From this discussion and with help from the stars, I will predict our future for the next five years to the year 2000. I have selected the next five years rather than dwell on megatrends and our fortunes in the years 2020 and beyond since the majority of us are most concerned with the near term. Secondly, I am less likely to be proven wrong with shorter-term guessing.

Finally, I expect to be sitting under a palm tree sipping prune juice by 2020 (I will definitely be part of the geriatric set by then).

TRENDS: Restructuring

Changes in the corporate world, in the form of off-shore manufacturing, mergers, acquisitions, consolidations, and re-engineering, have occurred at a fast pace over the last few years. In almost all cases, staff levels have been reduced, particularly in the middle ranks. The intent is to flatten the traditional corporate pyramid, thereby reducing overhead and increasing efficiency (i.e., the bottom line). The middle management level most typically would include many of us safety and health types. This trend has already adversely affected many in our ranks. I believe this trend will continue over the next five years, but at a slower pace, as companies prepare to meet stiffer domestic and international competition. The future likelihood of someone retiring with 30 years of service from the company where he or she started is minimal.

The result of this trend is less loyalty from the employee and less paternalism from the companies. Consequently, safety and health professionals can expect to have more job changes and less stability. On a longer-term basis, as high-tech employees become harder to find, this trend may reverse for those companies still in the domestic manufacturing sector and for service companies. This restructuring has led to other trends such as outsourcing, globalization and a growth in consulting, which are discussed below.

Outsourcing of Support Services

Outsourcing has been widely practiced for at least the last decade for those parts of the business where it made economic and strategic sense. More recently, companies have begun to outsource a greater percentage of corporate functions and entire segments of traditional corporate and professional service departments. This trend will not only continue but also expand.

It is quite possible that many companies will completely outsource safety and health services, just as they have outsourced security and other support activities. This, of course, has led to essentially a transfer of people from the corporate world to the consulting world. Within five years, the corporate model will be one or two manager employees, with all other staffing supported by outside consultants or temporary employees.

The Growth of Consulting

Consulting has been on a growth curve over the last decade and this will likely continue, although at a slower pace.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Future of Safety and Health
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.