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A Reflection Paper
Risk Control as a Profession: A Reflection Paper
In today’s competitive global environment, people need to pursue formal education to gain advanced knowledge and skills that fit the demands for a productive career. In an article published in Forbes, the ten most promising jobs for 2015 revealed that six are managerial positions in diverse fields, two in data base system, one in software engineering and also one in healthcare . Of the diverse kinds of professions, new endeavors emerge which could further be classified as worthy careers. Professions are defined as “occupations conducting interventions derived from scientific knowledge of mechanisms, structures, and contexts” . One of the most common interventions applied in organizations is control, also deemed one of the crucial functions of management. Risk control is likewise defined as a course of action undertaken “when a risk assessment has determined that people are at risk of injury or illness due to a hazard, (and) employers must take action to eliminate or minimize the risk” . There were five (5) characteristics or attributes that allegedly describe the embodiment of a profession: (1) a systemic body of theory, (2) authority, (3) community sanctions, (4) ethical codes, and (5) a culture (Greenwood, 1984; cited in Reynolds, 2012, p. 2). As such, risk control would be evaluated in terms of possessing these characteristics to confirm whether it falls within the classification of a profession. In this context, the current discourse hereby aims to determine whether risk control is indeed a profession.
Risk control, by virtue of its definition, could only be undertaken with previous knowledge on theories of risk management. As emphasized, to enable practitioners to apply skills in risk control, there must be prior awareness on concept of the hierarchy of control . The Occupational Health & Safety Association (OSHA) defined hierarchy of control as “a protocol that you use when deciding what kind of control measures you are going to use to address a particular OH&S hazard. The rationale underlying the “hierarchy of controls” is that an organization should use more reliable control measures rather than measures that are more likely to fail” . As such, without knowledge of these theoretical frameworks for risk management and control, practitioners would be ill-equipped in designing and instituting measures that would minimize and eventually eliminated identified risks in the work environment. Since risk control evidently proved that there is a systematic body of theory that must be imbibed prior to effective application and implementation; then, risk control abides with one of the most relevant attributes of a profession.
Secondly, risk control necessitates governance and administration from an authority; usually a risk and safety manager, and operates under the guidance of ethical codes. The Director for the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) emphasized the crucial role of ethics in risk management . As stipulated, risk management is one of the ten elements that is paramount in designing an effective compliance and ethics program. As noted, risk management “includes ensuring effective processes to identify, assess, mitigate and manage compliance and ethics risk across the organization” . Risk control falls under the mitigating and managing facets of risk management. Therefore, risk control contains the other two attributes of a profession: authority and a set of ethical codes that governs decision making.
Finally, risk control is undertaken with the aim of serving the interests of others through community sanctions and with a defined culture . As emphasized, “within a community, a profession strives to gain sanctioning authority to practice. This sanctioning is in the form of powers and privileges, of which can be formal and informal, whereby formal authority is reinforced in the form of policing power” . Within the safety and health environment, health care practitioners could be observed to be authorized by the public to provide and delivery high quality of health within specifically defined standards of safety. As such, part of ensuring that health and safety standards are instituted, risk and safety managers design strategies that mitigate and manage risks. These strategies are included in the risk control plan which includes the following: “the actions required to get the controls in place, who is responsible for the actions, the time frames to do the actions, and the date(s) to review the risk control” . The whole processes of designing risk control plans to institution of measures that mitigate and manage risks are undertaken with the aim of improving the welfare of local community members. Likewise, the implementation of risk control measures follow a set of values, norms, and symbols which are consistent with the attribute of professional culture . Organizations that recognize employing risk control as part of risk management aligns the goal of minimizing risks and hazards with the mission and vision statements . As revealed, “the social values of a professional group are the basic and fundamental beliefs, which are unquestioned, premises upon everything else rests. This is seen in the Mission Statements which underpins the essential premise of the core business operation” . Thus, the presence of the attributes of community sanctions, as well as professional culture in risk control affirms its classification as a profession.
Position from Personal Perspective
In addition, risk control was noted to possess attributes of authority and compliance with ethical codes. The control function could only be undertaken by an authority in management since it is one of the basic functions and responsibilities of managers, in conjunction with planning, organizing, and directing facets of an organization’s operations. Therefore, risk and safety managers expect that risk control falls under their jurisdiction. Likewise, the undertaking of risk management has been emphasized to require guidance provided by ethical codes or standards. As such, these two attributes confirm that risk management and control falls within the profession category.
Finally, by virtue of the end goal of risk control: to ensure the safety and protection of others, as well as minimizing losses in the work setting through incidences of injuries, accidents, and fatalities, instituting policies and procedures which adhere to a set of social values, norms, and symbols finally confirm risk control as a profession. For instance, in a work setting where there are slippery floors which require designing administrative and engineering controls, the mission of ensuring provision of high quality service through strict enforcement of safety standards would acknowledge the relevance of installing hand rails, signs or appropriate warning, and use of personal protective equipment, as needed. The occupational setting’s promotion of safety standards include communicating to relevant stakeholders the strategies to avoid slipping, and being vigilant in recognizing the risks, as well as in following recommended controls to prevent injuries and fatalities. These are all consistent with the attributes of community sanctions and culture that evidently confirm risk control as a validated profession.
The current discourse successfully proved that risk control is a profession. From the characteristics and attributes that a profession is supposed to possess, the analytical arguments confirmed that risk control requires a systemic body of theory to enable practitioners to exhibit academic proficiency and skills in applying required concepts. Likewise, risk control necessitates governance of authority and clearly established ethical codes for risk management. Finally, risk control evidently abides by serving the best interests of the community through a culture of safety and values of preserving human life. In retrospect, all the attributes perfectly affirm that risk control is, in every aspect and context, a widely accepted profession.
The Ten Most Promising Jobs Of 2015. (2015). Retrieved February 7, 2015, from Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/pictures/mkl45eigdf/1-physician-assistant/
Brante, T. (2011). Professions as Science-Based Occupations. Professions & Professionalism, Vol. 1, No. 1, 4-20.
di Florio, C. (2011, October 17). Speech by SEC Staff: The Role of Compliance and Ethics in Risk Management. Retrieved February 8, 2015, from sec.gov: http://www.sec.gov/news/speech/2011/spch101711cvd.htm
Greenwood, E. (1984). Attributes of a profession. In B. Faszard, Self-actualization for nurses (pp. 13-26). Rockville, Maryland: Aspen.
Home and Community Care. (2012, September 10). Risk Control. Retrieved February 7, 2015, from nsw.gov.au: http://www.haccohs.adhc.nsw.gov.au/risk_management_process/risk_control
OHSAS 18001 Expert. (2009, March 23). What is Hierarchy of Controls? Retrieved February 8, 2015, from ohSAS18001expert.com: http://ohsas18001expert.com/2009/03/23/what-is-hierarchy-of-controls/
Reynolds, L. (2012). Is Prehospital Care Really a Profession? Australasian Journal of Paramedicine, Vol. 2, Issue 1,1-6.
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