The unceasing professional specialization

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Fortunately, work does´t uses to be as the Battle of Thermopilae or anything like that. This doesn´t prevent the story of Leonidas´and his 300 Spartans may be used many times as an example of effort and determination when difficulties come and, as in this post, to introduce a fact arising unceasingly in the latests time: the exponential specialization of professions.

Specialization is not anything new at all. Professions have been getting specialized as technique has evolved throughout the ages. Jobs are more and more specialized and they do faster and faster until the current situation, in which professional specialization develops faster -and this is specially evident nowadays- than the traditional regulations and control by big organizations can assume.

In this context, rules and organizations run behind trying to adapt, and it is professional specialization the sound answer to the new technologies and industries, new organizational models and new modalities of work as a response to demographic changes.

This also happens in the field of safety and health: new OSH challenges go beyond traditional OSH [1] -represented by the classic safety at work, industrial hygiene and ergonomics specializations- and cover high specialized aspects more evident each day, for example:

  • internationalisation of risk prevention;
  • safety culture;
  • healthy workplaces;
  • globalization;
  • corporate social responsibility;
  • new technologies, industries and materials;
  • demographic change;
  • psychosocial risks and so on.

Don´t expect a royal decree giving instructions on theses issues. The last ORP2014 conference on safety and health celebrated this week is a clear evidence.

The way how this specialization emerges and gets disseminated has in my opinion something to do with knowledge, with sharing and with connecting, but this is another issue.

As the 300 Spartans specialized in war in order to adapt to a emerging situation apart to their day-to-day as sculptors, potters, blacksmith, and so on, specialization is more and more a must in order to response the sign of the times.

To prepare to the unceasing specialization in a profession is a competitive advantage as a professional of the sector.

[1] EUROPEAN AGENCY FOR SAFETY AND HEALTH AT WORK. 2013. Priorities for occupational safety and health research in Europe: 2013-2020. Varias páginas. Consultado en 25/05/2014.