People pursue various endeavors according to personal interests and developed skills. Students who pursue higher education usually assert that their personal and professional goals match their innate enthusiasm for a particular profession, in conjunction with possessed skills sets and abilities. According to Cruess, Johnston and Cruess (2004), a profession is defined as “an occupation whose core element is work based upon the mastery of a complex body of knowledge and skills. It is a vocation in which knowledge of some department of science or learning or the practice of an art founded upon it is used in the service of others” (p. 76). In this regard, one asserts that risk control forms part of a field of discipline where mastery of alleviating risk factors are aptly developed. On the other hand, risk control is only deemed a part of a hazard management process where control measures are allegedly applied according to hierarchy . As such, there are two contentions arguing that risk control is a profession versus the assertion that it is not.
For one, risk control aims to improve safety in the work environment. Just like risk control, safety was evaluated in terms of it being either a profession or an occupation. According to Ferguson & Ramsay (2010), “occupation might be defined as the principle activity one engages in to earn money; (while) a profession is an occupation requiring specialized knowledge or skill” (p. 24). Using these comprehensive descriptions as the starting point, it is the aim of the current discourse to affirm that risk control is in fact a profession since it requires a mastery of knowledge, a development of explicitly defined skills, and it is earmarked for the service of others.
It was learned that there are some characteristics or profiles to evidently assert the validity of a profession. These features include: the nature of work being classified or clearly identified; being measurable; exemplifying a specific vocabulary; and containing fundamental principles and truths . In Hill’s (2006) article entitled “Time to Transform? Assessing the Future of the SH&E Profession”, the author has clearly asserted that safety, health and environmental concerns are definitely an integral part of a profession . Risk control measures are designed to improve the health care environment through addressing factors that increase preponderance to risk and hazard. It is therefore an important component of the risk management phase; much the same way as safety is a crucial ingredient in the delivery of health care. Therefore, risk control and safety could be considered analogous in terms of their relevance in ensuring that the health environment is maintained and sustained according to standards of quality that is expected from the health profession.
Position from a Personal Perspective
mastery of knowledge, a development of explicitly defined skills, and it is earmarked for the service and betterment of others. Risk control, per se, requires learning concepts and theoretical frameworks on risk assessment and management. These include identification of risk factors, assessment of the environment to determine levels and probabilities of risks and hazards, as well as proposing measures to control the identified risks . From the extensive nature of risks and hazards in various work environments, it is evident that individuals who need to gain understanding and competencies on risk control should be provided with enough continuing knowledge on the subject matter. This was corroborated by Ferguson & Ramsay (2010) who emphasized that “after basic academic preparation is completed, individual professionals pursue the renewal of skills and knowledge through continuing education via classes, seminars, additional formal education and the study of professional literature” (p. 25). It is also for this reason that people who have opted to pursue formal education in this particular endeavor could only be given the opportunity to practice their craft after examinations and licenses have been duly complied with . As such, risk control is a profession since it requires a mastery of knowledge on a continuing basis.
Secondly, risk control requires the development of distinct skills. The hierarchy of controls have included the following measures: (1) elimination of the hazard; (2) aiming to substitute the hazard with a significantly lesser risk; (3) isolating the identified hazard(s); (4) application of engineering controls; (5) the use of administrative controls; and finally, (6) the use of personal protective equipment . From these control measures, practitioners who are assigned to implement these measures should develop the appropriate skills set in applying the needed interventions. For example, under isolating the identified hazard, there is a need to manifest skills to perform the process: “when using certain chemicals then a fume cupboard can isolate the hazard from the person, similarly placing noisy equipment in a non-accessible enclosure or room isolates the hazard from the person(s)” . Only qualified persons with developed skills on risk control could discern the courses of action that is required given a hazardous situation. As such, the honing of skills and ability to effectively undertake risk control support its being a profession.
Finally, risk control has an ultimate objective of serving the safety, security, and health needs of others. People who are provided with theoretical frameworks on risk control could directly impact the lives of stakeholders who get to interact within the identified work setting or location. As such, the effect that risk control practitioners could impinge on others create great responsibility and accountability. It is for this reason that they are governed by standards of professionalism and guidelines that ensure safety and security in the work environment. The stringent requirement to gain licensure proves the heavy accountability that this profession entails. This was supported by Ferguson & Ramsay (2010) who confirmed that “as a matter of protecting the public health andwelfare, and as another mechanism to achieve occupational closure, licensure can be effective and normally carries with it the power of law, which helps enforcement” (p. 30). It is this very nature and goal which proves that risk control is indeed a profession.
Risk control is a profession. The rationales prove that risk control is a profession, to wit: the field of discipline requires a body of knowledge before appropriate measures could be applied; practitioners need to develop specifically identified skills for controlling risks in different environments and scenarios; as well as the discipline aims to safeguard the health and security of others. As opposed to it being a part of the risk management process, risk control is a discipline in itself. Various studies have affirmed that risk control is an instrumental part of maintaining safety, health, and environmental (SH&E) protection, which, is considered a profession in contemporary times. Likewise, the important facet of it requiring continued learning and education affirms that it had developed its scope and comprehensive theoretical frameworks to categorize it as a profession.
Characteristics of a Mature Profession. (2014)
Cruess, S., Johnston, S., & Cruess, R. (2004). "Profession": a working definition for medical educators. Retrieved February 22, 2014, from National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Ferguson, L., & Ramsay, J. (2010). Development of a Profession. Professional Safety, 24-30.
Health & Safety Authority. (2014). Hazard and Risk. Retrieved from hsa.ie: http://www.hsa.ie/eng/Topics/Hazards/
Hill, D. (2006). Time to Transform? Assessing the Future of the SH&E Profession. Professional Safety, 62-71.
Risk Control. (2007, July 11). Retrieved from SafeWork SA: http://www.safework.sa.gov.au/contentPages/EducationAndTraining/HazardManagement/DealingWithHazards/dealRiskControl.htm