August 10 2020
By: Terry L. Mathis
Safety professionals have been using the hierarchy of controls as a model of how to address risks. One interpretation of this starts with addressing the work environment and ends with what workers can do to address the remaining risks not addressed conditionally. In these times we have less and less control over world conditions and need to, more than ever, concentrate on what we can do within these conditions.
We speak of what was "normal" and possibly a "new normal" and speculate about what that might look like. We need to also examine what we can control within these changing circumstances and focus on that. Bemoaning our condition is totally counterproductive. Taking action, where we can, will help to shape that new normal. The world will not be simply what a pandemic leaves us: but what we do with what is left. Maybe our new hierarchy of controls should begin with a set of universal precautions and end with changing the environment, whatever that may become.
Terry Mathis, Founder and CEO of ProAct Safety, has served as a consultant and advisor for top organizations the world over. A respected strategist and thought leader, Terry has authored five books, numerous articles, videos and blogs, and is known for his dynamic and engaging presentations. EHS Today has named him one of the '50 People Who Most Influenced EHS' four consecutive times. Business leaders and safety professionals seek Terry's practical insight and unique ability to introduce new perspectives that lead to real change.