It’s a question I get in my inbox nearly weekly. So often, in fact, I now include it in presentations to audiences of safety professionals.
The question is usually phrased, “Should I get a graduate degree in EHS?”
The answer is both yes and no.
The answer is yes: If you think that the way we are doing things is correct. If compliance is the answer. If better workers equals better safety. If more rules and regulations are what the world needs. If you wish to be a superior technician.
The answer is no: If you want to change how we define safety. If you’re tired of blaming the worker. If being a technician isn’t enough. If you’ve taken a course in psychology, education, or engineering and glimpsed what the current models of EHS are missing. If the risk of being wrong is worth the chance of being right and making a real difference.
“The next great safety leaders that are going to exist in our world aren’t thinking about safety, they’re running things like DevOps or artificial intelligence or driverless cars. They’re not going to be safety people, they’re going to be people who understand systems and understand complexity…and that’s kind of a fine place for it to go, that’s pretty cool.”
– Todd Conklin, Pre-Accident Investigations: An Introduction to Organizational Safety Podcast # 142