Workplace Health and Safety: Part 2 – Someone Else’s Responsibility

Updated: Dec 11, 2019

In a recent article we explored the discrepancy of application of workplace health and safety (WHS) between the sporting arena and industry, and the questions raised only begin to scratch the surface of this subject matter.

For the next step of this enquiry surely needs to unfold to beg the question – who’s responsibility is our own well-being anyway?

Why do we currently hold the position that at work, someone else is to blame for the consequences of my choices that may lead to an incident at work? – is it perhaps aligned to similar beliefs that our health is the responsibility of our doctor, or the medical system as a whole, or that the quality and quantity of what we eat and drink is left to those who prepare the meal….

Granted, there are many instances in our present day and history where employers dictate, and thou shalt obey and seemingly within this model there is little choice left to the employee – but what I observe in first world industry is that primarily the systems and processes are directed to protecting the industry (legally), though many are now actively seeking to address the cause of the issues affecting the people at the ‘coalface’, yet without the full understanding of what lies at the heart of the matter.

But, why is it that we do need some form of intervention in the first place – what are the root issues at play:

Workplace Health and Safety: Part 2 – Someone Else’s Responsibility

For starters, we have a hierarchy of control in organisations that mostly defines a ‘pecking order’ through the ranks – that somehow some individuals roles are more important than others – or in other words we view people by their roles and deem them to be lesser or greater as a human being as a result of their position or job function.

And all this effectively achieves is to create a separation amongst us, rather than having a unified collective of people who are all equal, bringing their unique essence to contribute to the whole through their chosen skill set (a set of skills honed over many life times and a topic explored to greater depth in future articles).

Separation is the key ingredient to keeping us from coming together to realise that life at work could serve us all in a far greater capacity to knowing who we are and our purpose for being here in the first place, if we were to be allowed to choose to work harmoniously for starters.

But delve a little deeper, because the responsibility for the predicament we find ourselves in is not a result of the system of work and the way that companies, systems and processes are setup to control us – rather it is the deeper underlying question of why we allowed this to manifest in the first place. What is our individual responsibility that we ought to take stock of, for we are not mere pawns on the chessboard but very deliberate players.

To expand this notion, we come back to why WHS is someone else’s responsibility when, in fact, it is our very own choices that we make in every facet of our lives that determines how we are in our roles at work. By way of a simple example, if we make a choice to sit up late watching TV we will be tired the next day at work, therefore less attentive to the task at hand and more likely to put ourselves at risk of harm – be that from a paper cut, to life threating consequences of operating a machine.

How can we possibly dream of holding our employer, or the task, to account for seemingly something going wrong at work, when the issue arose for us personally, well before we walked into work that day. And do we not each have a long list of choices we make both in and outside of work that builds a momentum that ultimately leads to an incident ‘affecting’ us, that we then might hold another accountable for.

Perhaps we ought to begin to live with greater awareness to the truth of accountability and responsibility, where:

  • Accountability brings a personal consideration for acting deliberately within or outside of the boundaries of expectations in place; and

  • Responsibility is the possibility of knowing of the greater energetic awareness within us all, and thus living in accordance to this awareness, of all that goes on in life as a result.

Ultimately, if our employer was free of the charges of our individual choices we would have nowhere to go in our blaming of others and little requirement for mountainous documentation, systems and procedures that we all know, in truth, serve us little or naught, but for the lip service we expect of them.

And, is there more at play…..


Further reading:

Workplace Health and Safety: Part 1 – So Many Inconsistencies

Workplace Health and Safety: Part 3 – Karma!!!

Workplace Health and Safety: Part 4 – How do I Live This

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