You have to be joking: Are communities loosing respect for health and safety policy, programs and systems?

Nicholas Oughton


OHS management systems and professionals have done much to ensure the health and safety of workers and societies in general. However, where these systems have become complex, overbearing and authoritarian, they have stifled workers and the community’s ability to respond to unique or unanticipated occurrences of occupational and general risk.

This predicament is exacerbated when the general public lose faith in an OHS culture that has “gone mad”, or become “out of control”, and where “open season” has been declared by the media on safety regulators, their systems and regulations. This may be a perceived rather than actual truth, however, perceptions drive personal attitudes and responses, and the reputation and effectiveness of OHS is at stake.

Driving some contemporary attitudes towards OHS is a barrage of lampoon, satire and angry comment pervade by mischief-makers, the press and the electronic media. The profession has also looked into the mirror and revealed areas of self-doubt. This paper looks at an unfolding and worrying scenario for occupational health.

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Journal of Hospital Administration

ISSN 1927-6990(Print)   ISSN 1927-7008(Online)

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