Corks on the quills of an Echidna = Safe–Really?

Corks on the quills of an Echidna = Safe; Really?


imageI really enjoyed this post and the “points” by Max Geyer on his blog VIAMAX CONSULTING . Another example of over zealous zero harm style risk control creating a greater risk – how would the poor echidna defend itself from predators now?!!

I have noticed the advert that goes with the NSCA LinkedIn site indicating that we will make the world (at least Australia) a better place by covering the quills of an Echidna with corks.

So by changing the very nature of the beast and one of the key characteristics of the animal, which makes it relatively unique (my favourite little critter by the way) we have made the world safer – is that the message here?  We have to change the very nature of nature to make us safe?

Would we not be better served by educating people about identifying the hazards posed by the sharp quills and continue to appreciate the animal?

I know it is a metaphor, but the discourse (the language and the message) used does nothing to help people in their daily lives manage risk; it tells us that only total protection can make us safe.

Maybe the perfectionist safety person would say that it would be better to fence off all access to the animal so that we can’t be hurt if we are silly enough to grab an animal with needles all over it.  That may stop the injuries, and us from ever appreciating these wonderful little creatures, but how does it help us understand that sharp pointy needles may injure us if we don’t treat them with respect.

How does that educate people to better understand and manage risk?

The real fault with this type of message is that it says that risk is to be avoided at all costs; so much so that the purpose of the thing that is being managed, now becomes nonfunctional/ disfunctional.  Accepting risk and developing methods to work with and/or around risk leads to learning, development and progression. It is the basis of continual improvement.


Max Geyer
Max is currently completing a Graduate Certificate in the Social Psychology of Risk; has a Graduate Certificate of Management (HR Management); Diplomas of Business – Auditing (OH&S, Environment & Quality); a Certificate in Coaching Skills; a Certificate in Emotional Intelligence Assessment & Coaching; a Certificate IV in Workplace Training & Assessment and a Certificate in Return to Work Coordination. With over 35 years experience at operational and management levels in industry, including the Pastoral Industry, General Industry, Mining Industry and Consulting; Max delights in bringing that experience and knowledge to his interactions with Viamax clients in order to help make a positive difference to their lives.

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