Professional ethics in occupational health & safety practice

Lundy, Shaun James (2013) Professional ethics in occupational health & safety practice. DProf thesis, Middlesex University.

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Abstract

This thesis provides a critical evaluation of a real world project involving the researcher as leader of a review and subsequent development of a new Code of Conduct for the world’s largest health and safety body, the Institution of Occupational Safety Health (IOSH, 2011). The health and safety profession in the UK has seen many changes over the last 10-years, in particular a stronger focus on degree education, continual professional development (CPD) and Chartered Practitioner status. In addition to these progressive changes the profession has also seen a rise in the negative media coverage regarding reported risk aversion in decision-making processes. In response to the negative media and at the request of the conservative party, then in opposition, Lord Young led a complete review of health and safety in Great Britain(Young, 2010). More recently, the Government requested a further independent review into health and safety legislation (Löfstedt, 2011). Since the publication of these reports there have been calls for more rigorous competence standards for consultants and a move towards more industry led self-regulation. This has seen IOSH placed in a strong influencing position, albeit with added scrutiny of its own regulation of members. The researcher led a critical review of the existing Code as part of an IOSH standing Committee, the Profession Committee (PC) that has the responsibility among other things for examining allegations of misconduct. The project was conducted as action research and was divided into 4 cycles or stages. Stage 1 involved the critical review and benchmarking of the existing Code against other Codes using an adaptation of the PARN criteria. Stage 2 involved the consultation process for the development of a new Code. This included the researcher’s role as leader of the project and an evaluation of misconduct cases reviewed by the PC. Stage 3 involved semi-structured interviews of practitioners to explore experiential accounts of ethical issues from practice to inform the guidance on the Code. Finally, Stage 4 involved the concluding consultation and consolidation of all the stages for presentation of the revised Code to IOSH Council for approval. The project reinforced the benefits of applying a systematic approach for the development of professional body documentation. It also revealed the value of applying a flexible iterative methodology in the real world environment to prevent the project from diverging from its real world objectives. The outcome of the project has been positively received by IOSH. A new Code was produced with guidance and a revised disciplinary procedure that is fit for purpose and adaptable to change through the use of robust development and broad consultation processes. It is anticipated that these changes will make a significant contribution to the wider profession and practice. An ethical decision making model was developed from the findings and includes a dissemination strategy for the profession.

Item Type: Thesis (DProf)
Additional Information: Doctorate in Professional Studies (Risk).
Research Areas: A. > Work and Learning Research Centre
B. > Theses
Item ID: 13712
Depositing User: Users 3197 not found.
Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2014 11:11
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:31
URI: http://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/13712

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