Thought Leadership

The wrong word

January 30, 2014
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For 21 years now, I have been working on a safer workplace, I have worked with many great companies, safety folks, safety organizations, government agencies, workplaces large and small and some very dedicated folks.

But I have heard this word over and over, many times each and every day--  “accident“, and it always cuts me to the core. I believe we use this word in the wrong fashion and I also believe we have become desensitized to this word.

I heard it over and over after my son was killed at work and I heard it from the 879 families we have helped with the grief process, through our FIGHT Project. Many of the families have told me their loved one was the safest worker at his or her company and now they are dead or hurt. 

We use the word so much, I believe we have lost our prospective of a workplace incident. Let’s start calling these incidents by their right name, not “accidents”, they are “Planned Disasters.” Our investigative reports should read “Planned Disaster Report” not “Accident Report.”

” Accident” is defined in the dictionary as  “an event occurring by chance or unintentionally- chance”  nearly all of the “accidents” I have heard of or read about, have known safety issues, many of these so-called “accidents” have been near misses before and many issues have had training or at least known safety problems.

This is the reason I believe we should call these disasters by their real name -- a Planned Disaster. If you have never heard of a safety issue, never had a problem, never trained for a safety issue, never even had an inkling of an issue, then it could be an Act of God, but with all of our communication skills in this day and age, nearly all of the safety issues have been debated, talked about, trained on or at least mentioned.

 Guys, we have to call it what it is, a Planned Disaster -- not an “Accident.”

Safety folks please look at what kind of label you are putting on the problem,  and call it like it is, a Planned Disaster.


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