Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Got to Revolution! as Baby Boomers Retire, How Will the Practice of EHS Change?

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Got to Revolution! as Baby Boomers Retire, How Will the Practice of EHS Change?

Article excerpt

I think a revolution is sneaking up on us. EHS--environment, health and safety--has been used to define the "safety" industry, but practitioners were known by their certifications: industrial hygienist (CIH), safety professional (CSP), registered environmental manager (REM) or registered environmental professional (REP).

Back in the day, there were respected boundaries: industrial hygienists practiced industrial hygiene, safety professionals conducted training and managed the safety process, environmental managers dealt with EPA requirements. Professional organizations fought for ground and protected their borders, even lobbying for legislation that spelled out which EHS discipline was authorized to perform certain functions.

But to quote Jefferson Airplane, "Look what's happening out in the streets. Got a revolution, got to revolution ... Ain't it amazing all the people I meet. Got a revolution, got to revolution. One generation got old. One generation got soul ..."

As Baby Boomers leave the practice of EHS, the Gen X-ers moving into management are blurring those boundaries. Many attended universities where they were encouraged to be generalists--the thought being they would one day manage a comprehensive program and would turn to experts for advice about specific challenges. …

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