- ISHN GLOBAL
- EHS RESEARCH
Articles by Phil La Duke
Let’s be clear, there is no such thing as a safe workplace. Sure we can slap each other on the back and brag to one another about the four years without a recordable injury and we can tell ourselves that we have achieved a Utopian risk-free workplace but the reality is, there is always some probability that a worker will be harmed in the course of doing his or her job.
Resolution #1: Less Focus On Preaching More On Teaching. Awareness campaigns are important for the unaware. But most workers who ultimately get hurt do so knowing something they know is dangerous, or at very least that they suspected COULD be dangerous. Too many awareness campaigns make safety professionals feel good about themselves but come off as smug and condescending to workers.
Thou shalt not kill. People have been using rules to protect people since man left the primordial forest and walked up right for the first time. For people some rules are sacred—they are worshipped for their own sake. For others, rules were meant to be broken. Irrespective of your view of rules, they form the foundation of society of all levels.
People make mistakes; it’s what makes us human. The propensity for human error is practically embedded in our DNA. While the idiom holds that there is no use crying over spilled milk, might there not be some benefit in examining the causes, contributors, and catalysts associated with poor decision-making?
Uncertain times make us risk adverse. And in a tenuous economic recovery it’s easy for safety professionals to play it safe.