Oneof the ever growing academic disciplines globally is the engineeringsector with different lines of excellence in existence. Engineeringis a broad which comes in different disciplines as well assub-disciplines. In a nutshell, engineering can be divided into fourmajor categories which are mechanical, civil, chemical andelectrical. However, there are other sub-divisions from the majorones. One of the subdivisions is the SafetyEngineering.Safety engineering can be summarized as a discipline underengineering, which entails safety in the places of work. Thediscipline is greatly related to other disciplines such asindustrial, and system engineering. This paper focus on SafetyEngineering as a discipline and which is my major, what it entails aswell as job opportunities.
Thecode of ethics of engineering states that, “A practitioner has aduty to the public. He/she shall regard the welfare of the public asparamount.” (Gorp, 2005). Health and safety issues of workers areof great importance in the field of engineering and practical. Themain principle that an engineer should work and live by is to holdparamount the safety, health, and welfare of the public. Therefore,there is a need for appropriate education and training in engineeringhealth and safety. Safety engineering is a branch of engineering thatensures that engineered systems reach the acceptable levels of safetyand are do not present a hazard to anyone(Spellman & Whiting, 2010).
Safetyengineering therefore ensures that the engineered workplaces aresafe. The safety engineers monitor the general work environmentcontinuously inspect buildings and machines for hazards and safetyviolations (Spellman& Whiting, 2010).They also assess new equipment to determine the degree of safety ofusing them. The engineers then provide various recommendations thatprevent workplace accidents from occurring.
However,despite all these actions that they undertake, the number ofpreventable workplace accidents is still high in our society becauseindividuals still do not adhere to the recommended safety standards.This can be attributed to other sociological factors among workers(Spellman& Whiting, 2010).This factor includes the attitudes, behavior and culture of peopleusing engineered technology. The lack of adequate This paper tries toestablish a correlation between the safety engineering with thebeliefs, attitudes and culture of workers and how this play a part inthe lack of implementation of recommended safety standards inengineering. Despite the fact that the physical aspect forms the baseof engineering, without comprehension the individuals and theirsocial methodologies and cultures, the desired social results ofengineering, research and practice may not be achieved successfully(Gorp, 2005). As a result, safety engineers must identify thesociological factors that affect their work and aim at using them torectify the current scenario where the recommendations are notimplemented. The failure of engineers to understand the socialprocess has led to many safety failures and accidents.
Thefailure to maintain the required safety and health standards can beattributed to many factors. First, most people do not see safety as amajor issue. People are so much focused on performing their job tasksthat they do not see safety as a major issue and hence give it itsrequired attention (Gorp, 2005). There is a distribution ofresponsibility as to who is responsible for the maintenance of safetyin the workplace. Most people see this as the sole responsibility ofthe safety engineer and not a collaborative effort. This causescomplacency in the implementation of the teachings offered by thesafety engineers on how to be safe in the work place.
Thereis also a culture of complacency when it comes to safety and healthissues. This leads to lack of collaboration in dealing with safetyissues which should otherwise be handled from a multidisciplinarypoint of view (Rosen & Meston, 2000). The lack of organizationalunity of handling, safety issues is a major challenge for the safetyengineers. For effective prevention of hazards, there should becollaboration between all the disciplines. Another challenge for thesafety engineers is the lack of commitment among the seniormanagement. When the top management do not commit themselves to thesafety of their employees, the other employees find it difficult tofollow suit (Gorp, 2005). The employees do not take an initiative toput safety issues first therefore making it hard for the safetyengineer to work with them. Therefore a commitment by the managementis critical for health and safety engineers so as to help theminitiate the required measures.
Thelack of adequate resources in the safety engineering department isalso another factor that affects the safety engineer. The resourcesin an organization are limited and most are therefore directed tourgent matters such as paying the workers. This leads to the safetydepartment being denied essential resources that they need for themto continue with their work. A safety engineer should therefore knowhow to lobby for the funds he/she requires in order to maintain theirwork. There are some certain work environment qualities that areneeded to effectively promote workplace safety in engineering. Forthere to be an effective safety engineering, there are some keyworkplace qualities that should exist. These workplacecharacteristics include: A positive well-being and safety culture(Rosen & Meston, 2000). The organizational culture should be thatwhich values safety in the workplace. The organization should developa culture of putting safety first before anything else. This cultureshould be transferred from one generation of employees to the othersuch that it does not die.
Thesecond work place characteristic that an organization should have isan internal responsibility of all members of the organization (Rosen& Meston, 2000). Safety should be viewed as a responsibility ofeach and every individual and not only that of the safety engineer.The senior leadership and management should be committed to ensuringthe safety of their employees and invest in the safety of theworkplace. The employees should on the other hand be empowered andwilling to follow the safety guidelines set by the safety engineer.The viewing of safety as a personal responsibility leads toacceptance among all members, ensuring that they fulfill their healthand safety responsibilities. This promotes implementation of safetyguidelines, thus leading to a healthy and safe working environment.The workplace should also have a health and safety department with agood management to control the risks in the workplace. Thisdepartment should be provided with all the resources necessary for itto operate smoothly (Rosen & Meston, 2000). The lack of such adepartment confuses the safety engineer as he/she does not knowexactly where they fall.
Withsafety engineering there are numerous career options that one can fitin as a safety engineering profession, whose main focus as seen, isto protect the employees, the general public and the environment fromillness and injuries. Some of the careers in this discipline includeoccupational health and safety, industrial safety, products, safety,failure analysis, among other opportunities. In the modern times,there is rapid technological as well as scientific advancement. Thishas, however, become a challenge as well as rewards to the safetyengineering sector. Finally, with the ever changing legal andregulatory demands, which are being traduced by safety concernedorganizations and government agencies the world of safety engineeringis continuously evolving.
Inconclusion, safety engineering is not only concerned with thephysical aspect of ensuring safety in the workplace but also thesociological aspect. The social input in engineering cannot beignored as it affects the way the standards are accepted andimplemented by the workers. The culture of the organization,especially in matters related to safety also plays a crucial roleaffecting the efficiency of the safety engineer. Therefore, thesafety engineer should promote a good culture, behavior and attitudesamong the workers as this ensures the propagation of good safetypractices. Despite the knowledge that the safety engineer has, he/sherequires the collaboration of a team so as to put in place therequired measures. Therefore, there should be a team responsible forhealth and safety in the workplace. The safety engineer mustcoordinate all the activities of the team and make them realize theimportance of safety in the workplace.
Gorp,A. (2005). Ethicalissues in engineering design safety and sustainability.S.l: s.n.
Rosen,M., & Meston, D. (2000). Health and Safety and EngineeringDesign. 220-229. Retrieved May 1, 2015, fromhttp://r4d.dfid.gov.uk/PDF/Outputs/Urbanisation/R8176-Social_Aspects_of_EngRes.pdf
Spellman,F. & Whiting, N. (2010). Thehandbook of safety engineering: principles and applications.Lanham, Md: Government Institutes.
Stellman,J. (1998). Encyclopediaof occupational health and safety.Geneva: International Labor Office.