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The drive for diversity and inclusion must not stop

Date posted
26 June 2024
Type
Opinion
Author
Nicole Rinaldi
Estimated reading time
2 minute read

With Pride Month taking place throughout June, IOSH’s Director of Professional Services, Nicole Rinaldi looks at what can be done to ensure equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the occupational safety and health (OSH) profession.

June is Pride Month, a time when the LGBTQ+ community is celebrated. It’s also an opportunity when we can take stock and consider if we are doing all we can to ensure workplaces are fully diverse and inclusive.

But, as important as Pride Month is, as we reach the end of June it’s crucial that we recognise that such work is a year-round effort. It never stops. That is the case across all professions, and OSH is no exception.

“A safe and healthy world of work means feeling safe as well as being safe.” This was a key line in IOSH’s Activate 2028 strategy document. It’s crucial that people feel like they can be themselves, bring their whole selves to work, without fear of discrimination.

Unfortunately, we’re some way from being in a place where we can say this is the experience of all workers. This was demonstrated in the Beyond Buzzwords report which was released earlier this year. It followed research by The Young Foundation, commissioned by 12 professional bodies including IOSH, into the state of equality, diversity and inclusion within and across professions.

There were a number of concerning findings in the report, including nearly three-quarters of the 7,000 professionals surveyed saying they experienced discriminatory behaviour in the workplace. It also highlighted that there was growing scepticism among professionals about the capacity of EDI efforts to bring about real change.

Recommendations

What this report did was demonstrate that much more needs to be done. Four recommendations were made, including putting EDI at the heart of what it means to be a professional and for professional bodies to set higher standards through ensuring EDI values and principles are embedded across all learning and development opportunities.

We really need to step up efforts. As another bit of feedback showed, we need more meaningful action than just talk.

"There are all-round benefits. Fostering diverse and inclusive workforces brings significant rewards for both employees and employers. For the workers, they feel like they can be themselves and be valued for who they are. This leads to more engagement and commitment from workers, leading to enhanced creativity and innovation. What business wouldn’t want that?"

Job role
Company

As a professional body, IOSH is incredibly passionate about EDI. That’s why it’s a key theme in our strategy. That’s why we took part in the Beyond Buzzwords report are committed to the recommendations it made. As an employer ourselves, we are on a journey with our own internal EDI programme.

We truly believe that having a diverse and inclusive profession is a key facet of our work towards our vision of a safe and healthy world of work.

Last updated: 05 July 2024

Nicole Rinaldi

Job role
Director of Professional Services
Company
IOSH

Themes

  • Equality and diversity

Topics

  • building standards
  • Creating a more inclusive and accepting world
  • IOSH calls for joint effort to address OSH inequalities
  • Time to step up on neurodiversity