Thought Leadership


Do people really care about job safety?

No, says Phil LaDuke

November 20, 2013

ISHN Guest BlogScott Geller professes to ”prefer to be optimistic and humanistic, believing that the silent majority does care about the safety and health of others, and wants to do the right thing."

I am always suspicious when people start to ascribe motivations and values to the "silent majority." In this case, it is the silence itself that is damning; we can speculate all we want about what lies in the hearts and minds of Mr. and Mrs. John Doe, but in the end if one sees an issue and chooses to remain quiet on it, it is, at least in my opinion, a manifestation of a lack of concern. 

By the way, when I say care, I'm not talking about a couple watching the news and when a report of a horrific injury comes on the news one turns to the other and, clucking his or her tongue, says to the other, "Oh dear, that's terrible."

When I say "care" I mean motivated to DO something. This being my acid test, I say that the silence of the majority is a LOUD statement of apathy.

Week after week I work with clients in the field---mining, manufacturing, oil and gas, agriculture---and yes they say they care, but even in cases where someone has died in a puddle of gore, life goes on virtually unchanged. 

We have politicians here and abroad who openly question if we haven't become "too overly protective" of workers. This tells me that at least in the minds of those politicians, people are sympathetic to this message. 

My proof?

The silence. No outraged letters to the editor, not calls for politicians to step down, no… well reaction at all. 

Add to this a bunch of aging baby boomers who send emails bragging about how "when we were kids we didn't wear seat belts, or bike helmets, or..." fill in the blank with some safety requirement that exists now but didn't exist 35 years ago. George Bush openly categorized asbestos lawsuits as frivolous even as my father died from the mesothemia that ate his plueries and crushed his lungs. 

Did your majority rise up in indignation? Or did they say nothing?

Preferring to believe that "deep down all people are good" is a nice thought. The quote is from the Diary of Anne Frank (another "glass is half full optimist and humanist" with a great faith in the silent majority.) For my part I ain’t buying it. 

Another quote I like:

"First they came for the communists and I didn't speak out for I was not a communist, then they came for the Socialists and I didn't speak out for I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I didn't speak out for I was not a trade unionist, then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.

Click here to read Scott Geller's blog on whether or not the public cares about the safety and health of others.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Scenes from the World of Safety

Sights, signs & symbols from the National Safety Congress & Expo held in San Diego, CA, September 15-18

4/21/15 2:00 pm EDT

The Safety Selfie: It’s time to take a “snap shot” of your safety program and contemplate what others see

We all know perception is reality and that people perceive things differently. As a safety manager, your perception of your safety program almost certainly differs from that of your workers and your managers. We will use our “Safety Selfies” to expose weaknesses, real and perceived, and to talk about how best to make improvements.

ISHN Magazine

ISHN0515_cover.jpg

2015 May

In this month's issue of ISHN, check out articles about heat protection, radiation in the workplace, and welding fumes

Table Of Contents Subscribe

THE ISHN STORE

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\ISHN\safetyfourth.jpg
Safety Engineering, 4th Edition

A practical, solutions-driven reference, Safety Engineering, 4th edition, has been completely revised and updated to reflect many of today’s issues in safety.

More Products

For Distributors Only - January 2015

FDO JAN 2015 COVER

 

For Distributors Only is ISHN's niche brand standard-sized magazine supplement aimed at an audience of 2,000 U.S. distributors that sell safety products. Circulation only goes to distributors. 

CHECK OUT THE JANUARY 2015 ISSUE OF FDO HERE

STAY CONNECTED

Facebook logo Twitter YouTubeLinkedIn Google + icon

ishn infographics

2012 US workplace deathsCheck out ISHN's new Infographic page! Learn more about worker safety through these interactive images. CLICK HERE to view the page.