Occupational Health and Safety has a number of philosophical and conceptual streams that have been many decades in their development.
The Egocentric Stream has its own models with accompanying words and associated meanings. This stream, which has been a long time in its making, is defined by words such as “safe”, “unsafe”, “careless”, “careful”, “cause” and “effect”. These words underpin the models and thinking. The stream contains notions such as ‘accident prevention’ and ‘zero harm’. As a consequence, this stream flows with the effect of producing a strong focus on human behaviour, training and procedures.
The Ergonomic Stream also has its own models with accompanying words and associated meanings. This stream is only some 60 years old in its making, having begun with the thinking of people such as Gibson, Haddon and McDonald. Its focus is on damage as a consequence of an energy exchange, multifactorial interactions producing damage, damage reduction, energy management strategies, Pareto Principle and “is” thinking. As a consequence, this stream flows with a strong scientific base and drives stronger engineering solutions to the problem of personal damage.
The reader must make an informed decision as to which stream they will swim in. The streams are different; they are not able to be integrated. Those who complete tasks and are damaged will be the people who pay the price of the corporate position on such an important choice of streams.