The industrial workplace can be safe and healthy for workers and for the public. It can also be an environmentally sound and reliable operation, resulting in less damage to assets and balancing people, environment, assets, and production. Wilson and McCutcheon offer an integrated approach to risk management and explain the elements of practice required to manage health, safety, and environmental risk effectively.
"[Industrial Safety and Risk Management] is written by highly experienced industrial practitioners from the University of Alberta. It takes full account of health and safety regulation, while workers' rights are treated with respect.. [I]t is one of the very best works of its kind." Dave Bennett, Canadian Book Review Annual, www.interlog.com/~cbra
"I have always been impressed with the sensible and uncomplicated approach that Professor Wilson brings to industrial safety, risk management and associated fields. Firstly, he is able to render large and complex bodies of information and theory manageable and comprehensible. Secondly, instead of avoiding controversial or disagreeable elements that arise so often in this field, he tackles them in a straightforward manner, because he is a scholar, who understands diversity of opinion and approach. As a former occupational health & safety officer for the trade union movement in Alberta, I appreciate this quality. I also remember Laird Wilson as one of the first U of A professors in his field to invite labour representatives to address his classes and advise his programs (regrettably, a request that we were not always been able to satisfy). The expectations that Wilson has created are not disappointed in the treatment he gives his field of specialty in Industrial Safety and Risk Management. He produced this textbook with co-author Doug McCutcheon and a number of other contributors. Currently Adjunct Professor at the University of Alberta, Wilson was the founder of their Industrial Safety and Loss Management Program, which McCutcheon now heads. The text begins with a useful glossary that clearly defines the central terms in the field, at the same time as it serves to uncover some of the myths that cloud our understanding of industrial safety; e.g., misconceptions underlying such terms as 'accident'. Also early in the text, we are treated to an analysis of the popular tendency to 'blame the victim', which Wilson attributes to an improper application of the principles of industrial safety. He then proceeds to explain such legal headings as 'due diligence' and 'reasonably practical' in the same clear and practical way, showing how they provide more than a basis for legal defense against liability; they are useful management tools to prevent injury, death and unnecessary loss to the company. Industrial safety and risk management is an extremely complex and technically-exacting area, requiring a clear understanding and much experience to reduce it to a mere 170 pages. Wilson has done it, however, and moreover, has managed to include all areas in the Industrial Safety & Loss Management program at the University of Alberta. Because of its brevity and clear organization, this book will be read, unlike some of the heavier texts that have been produced for this area. This is one of its strongest points. I found all chapters readable and useful. The one on Human Factors, for example, provides a wonderfully analytical examination of 'motivational campaigns', which are so popular in Alberta and the rest of the Western world. On the negative side, however, it fixes responsibility for creating the necessary environment, conditions and culture squarely on the shoulders of management and professionals, with hardly a recognition of the role that workers and their representatives should play. The focus of this textbook remains controversial. What makes this so is the plethora of political and industrial relations issues that emerge in this field. While Wilson does not devote much ink to these, he certainly does not shy away from them - in fact, he constantly counsels the reader to consider the choices that they must be prepared to make. Trade unionists have numerous misgivings about some of the dominant approaches to risk management, industrial safety, loss control, etc. They certainly do not argue against the need to reduce the cost of safety controls or insurance. What they are concerned about, however, are strategies that have the effect of shifting the burden to 'the other side of the ledger'. They are on the watch for unfair allocation of costs through harsh management of compensation claims, or a denial of basic human rights, etc. These are not trivial concerns, and I know that Wilson recognizes them. Unfortunately, they are not squarely addressed in his book. There might be another problem with this textbook, certainly not of Wilson's making. We know that Syncrude and other gigantic, capital-intensive operations in Alberta's energy field can afford 'complete loss management systems that factor in the value of a human life (or limb)'. We are left wondering, however, how applicable such systems might be to smaller, more labour-intensive enterprises, and in particular, to the thousands of SME's, where occupational health & safety is almost non-existent as a management priority (that is, until the WCB is involved). Likewise, there is almost no mention of trade unions, and therefore of the industrial relations strategies that are needed to incorporate trade unions and the workers they represent in a meaningful way. I would have liked to have seen, at the very least, a recognition of the historical role that trade unions played in drawing attention to the human cost of industrial development. The logical consequence of denying a role for workers and trade unions is to place an inordinate degree of responsibility for success on the shoulders of managers. In the first place, any such program simply cannot be as successful without the buy-in and participation of the workforce. Secondly, such a 'unitarist' approach flies in the face of public policy and legislation in Canada, in which responsibility for a safe workplace and work practices is clearly assigned to both management and worker. These few reservations aside, Laird Wilson has made an excellent contribution to the study of industrial safety, and I heartily recommend his textbook to my colleagues in the industrial safety/occupational health & safety community." Winston Gereluk, Coordinator, Industrial Relations & Human Resource Management, School of Business, Athabasca University
"This book is easy to read and to understand. It is written in straightforward English and the authors are to be congratulated on the avoidance of the 'jargon trap'. In the initial review I was led to believe that the text was directed at the undergraduate level. It contains some philosophical ideas that may be appropriate for the North Americas where the undergraduates may have more industrial experience than their British counterparts and so it may prove too advanced for the British Undergraduate (even at the Masters level). In both areas it would be an essential read for young Engineers starting out on their Engineering careers. The one area where there may be points of conflict between the 'English Speaking Nations' may be in the definitions and the regulations. Without a detailed knowledge of the Regulations in North America there may be a difference in focus. While this book is targeted at that area it might be necessary for others to recognise 'caveat emptor'. The thrust of the book is that Safety and Loss Prevention are an integrated whole which is centred on MANAGEMENT. The use of the acronym PEAP (People, Environment, Assets and Production) is simple, easy to understand and is more descriptive of the objectives of Loss Prevention than the British SHE (Safety, Health and Environment). There is a wide area covered and it would be difficult to single out one for special mention. If I had to it would be the Chapter 3 on 'due diligence' which expounds the principals of ALARP and BPEO in simple language without getting ensnared in a deep philosophical discussion. The book is supported by very informative figures. The figure 4 - 1 The Safety Cycle shows the typical over/under reaction to events ending in 'complacency' and the inevitable disaster. Figure 7 - 2 Types of Risk Assessment/Risk Analysis vs Time Invested is also informative and shows the possible routes to a Preliminary Assessment. I would be cautious about linking FTA with checklists. Each has a purpose and a time for use. The case histories are biased towards the Canadian Oil Industry as is appropriate. The problems are equally to be found elsewhere. The difficulty is that one engineering discipline may feel that 'That' problem does not apply to 'Us'. I do not know how you get round that problem! It is one that a UK Inter-Institutional Work Group is now wrestling. Overall this is an easy-to-read book that covers all of the main safety and loss prevention issues and should be read by all budding engineers who do not want to repeat the errors of their forefathers!" Dr. Frank Crawley, EurEng
"There are many books on these subjects, most aimed at the professional safety adviser or consultant who needs a thorough and detailed treatment of the subject or parts of it. This book fills a gap in the literature. It provides an overview in 170 easy-to-read pages and is an excellent introduction to the subject for anyone who has just been or is about to be transferred to production or has started to train as a safety adviser or consultant. The reader can then, if necessary, read about specific aspects in greater detail but he or she will know how they fit into the broader picture. The section on the law refers to the Canadian situation but most of the book has wider applicability and should interest readers in other countries. The book is based on a course given to fourth-year engineering and business students at the University of Alberta and there must be few, if any, other universities where all such students get such a course. In the UK all chemical engineering students do get some training in safety and loss prevention but not students in other branches of engineering. A UK survey of the syllabuses of business courses and of the text books used showed that safety was ignored except perhaps for a brief mention of the law. I received an email from an American engineering student who found a book of accident case histories in a library. He wrote, 'People should have to take a class on this information before they receive their undergraduate degrees in engineering. Nobody really tells us this stuff.' I can be sure he did not come from the University of Alberta. A feature of the book that I have not seen elsewhere is a section on the problems of young workers whose brains, the authors say, 'may not be wired for risk assessment. They simply do not have the ability to assign significance or importance to stimuli in their environment'." Trevor Kletz
"Industrial Safety and Risk Management provides a good contribution to health and safety theory and practical applications. It could be useful for practicing occupational health and safety professionals and valuable as a teaching tool for those new to the profession.. This book has the potential of becoming a basic resource tool for the academic and personal library." Liz R. Scott, International Journal of Disability, Community & Rehabilitation, Vol. 3, No. 2