Workplace Safety for Archaeologists: My New Crusade 1

I was reading a post on Think Traffic by Amy Clover and realized that, unbeknownst to me, I was starting a crusade. Maybe it was hearing President Obama’s inaugural speech that inspired me to strive for more than just trying to help archeologists find jobs. I know he’s a politician, but his speeches seem sincere and inspire me. And, he’s wasn’t lip synching them either. But, I’ve decided to move forward with a big idea.

In her post, Clover talks about how she wanted to go beyond simple branding. She wanted to do something bigger. Her post was inspiring too.

So, in the spirit of New Year’s Resolutions, goal-setting, and working towards a better tomorrow, I’ve decided to help improve workplace safety for people working in cultural resource management, heritage conservation, and historic preservation.

Here’s what I plan on doing:

1)         Starting close to home- Currently, I work for a CRM company that has been asked to update its health and safety plan (HASP) for the archaeology and biology departments. I have worked on contributing and creating archaeology-specific HASPs in the past and have offered an example of this work to the COO of my company. I have also offered to work on the archaeology HASP with my company’s cultural resources manager.

Hopefully, the posts and articles I’ve already written will be of help.

2)         Identify existing problems- But, I’m not going to wait for my company to move on this. Summer will be here soon and thousands of us will be out in the field again. I want us to be safer in 2013. Let’s use this blog to help identify the hazards we’ve seen in the past (write a comment below if you want to help out).

Periodically, I will use the Succinct Research Blog to highlight issues in cultural resources archaeology health and safety. I will also use the blog to provide information on how we can improve health and safety throughout our industry. I want to make this a hub for health and safety information for our industry that companies and employees can draw upon.

3)         Spread the word- From these activities, I will write an eBook on creating HASPs for archaeology that will be available on Amazon for the Kindle and Kindle eReader for a low price (less than $5.00). I will also network amongst CRM companies near where I live and across the country to see what’s going on in other companies and tell them what I’ve been doing.

Between the blog, presentations, and the eBook, we should be able to reach hundreds or thousands of archaeologists, architectural historians, and other heritage conservation professionals.

4)         Create a training system- I plan on using the money I make from the eBook sales to fund the creation of a training system that teaches people throughout the CRM industry about how we can work more safely.

I will start by doing what I can in my community– giving presentations at local colleges and universities. Some of these will be recorded and turned into webinars that will be distributed for free on the Succinct Research website. The money from the eBook will be used to create professional-grade, safety videos and manuals for distribution throughout the industry.

If companies think it’s too expensive to do safety training, let’s remove that barrier.

An information crusade designed to change the industry

Health and safety starts with beliefs. We need to value ourselves as much as we value heritage conservation. Tales of unsafe work conditions abound throughout CRM archaeology. Many of these unsafe conditions start with: 1) ignorance of potential hazards, 2) a “profit-first” corporate philosophy, and 3) a “devil-may-care” attitude amongst many archaeologists.

What good are my efforts to help people find jobs in cultural resources, heritage conservation, or historic preservation if they end up sustaining a career-ending, lifelong injury?

I believe now is the time to start moving towards a safer work environment. Many of our clients are already requesting us to comply with their safety plans. Cultural resource management is behind the curve. Let’s catch up in 2013.


Please, contact me if you want to be part of this. Let’s work together to make things safer throughout the industry and eliminate injuries.

Email me or write a comment below if you have anything to say.

Tell other people about this website and help spread the word.

Let’s figure out a name for the movement. I can host it on the Succinct Research website to start.

Let’s fix things ourselves because nobody else is going to help us.

I would really love to hear from you. If you have any questions or comments, write below or send me an email.

Keep reading the Succinct Research blog for information on my upcoming book on Small Cultural Resource Management Project Success.

Learn how my résumé-writing knowledge helped four of my fellow archaeologists land cultural resources jobs in a single week!

Join the Succinct Research email list and receive additional information on the CRM and heritage conservation field.


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