Hey Idiots, You’re Worried About the Wrong Things

By Phil La Duke – First published on his blog HERE
I Know My Shoes Are Untied Mind Your Own Business and
Lone Gunman Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence

shutterstock_1267812370 (1)Yesterday I returned to Detroit, the Paris of the Midwest, from Hollywood, the Paris of Los Angeles.  I had trouble getting a hotel and paid a premium on my airfare, not because of last-minute planning, but because there were four conferences in town and there was a premium placed on hotel rooms and airfare. The conferences were all either cancelled or truncated. The coronavirus scared away all the conventioners, and now airlines, hotels, and cruise ships (the worst form of transportation since the Nazi boxcars) are worried that Plague doesn’t ride a white horse, after all, it has a first-class berth on a Carnival Cruise ship. 

The fear of the coronavirus is sheer panic, and it is bringing out the stupid in people (Corona beer reputedly has seen a 28% fall in sales—but hey they got off cheap, does anybody here remember AIDS chocolate weight-reducing candy?

First, some facts, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that as many as 49 MILLION people will get the flu this season, and 20,000-50,000 people will die in the U.S. from the ordinary, run-of-the-mill influenza. But at this point in history, where social media and dim-witted politicians make up facts as they go, the corona pandemic has captured the imaginations of people worldwide. And why? Because you might get sick? You might have a heart attack and die, or die in traffic, but somehow, dying of a disease that doesn’t spread that easily and probably won’t even make you sick has done what scores of terrorists have failed to do—create a worldwide panic.

I rode to and from LA with a planeload of people many of whom were wearing everything from surgical masks to dust masks.  Maybe it made them feel better, but it offered no protection from the coronavirus. I saw a photo of a signing warning people to:

  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Avoid contact with people with flu-like symptoms.
  • Avoid unprotected sex with farm animals.
  • Don’t touch your face.

I had to wonder, aren’t there ALWAYS a good idea?  I went to the men’s restroom and for the first time in history, the line to use the urinals was shorter than the line to wash your hands. I skipped that line; my dirtiest body part was easily the cleanest thing in that restroom. These people scrubbed their hands raw. I wash my hands more than your average Mafia Don so a big thank you to the brain trust who thought up that tip.

I also avoid people who are noticeably sick, but then I avoid a lot of people for less rational reasons.  As for having unprotected sex with a farm animal, I have yet to partake. I’m not judging those of you who are into that sort of thing but maybe I just haven’t met the right one yet. Even then I wouldn’t think of having sex until we were in a committed and monogamous relation before expressing my love physically; I’m old fashioned that way. I know full well that I will get a torrent of hate mail from the many safety personnel who enjoy a good swine buggering but since when do I shy away from a fight.  On a related side note, I AM an internet ordained minister so if you and that special “comfort” animal of yours want to make it official I can make that happen. As for the last tip, I will touch my face anytime I damned well please. How in the name of all that’s holy am I supposed to shave without touching my face?

So while people continue to thumb there nose at workplace violence they will run screaming from a sneeze.  This weekend I finished my third book, Blood In My Pockets Is Blood On Your Hands,  but as long as I have the ability to shill my last book, Lone Gunman: Rewriting The Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention I’m going to keep preaching. I am mystified at how rational people can freak out over this but ignore workplace violence.

Can someone please explain to me why a virus that almost certainly won’t infect you inspires such abject terror while the possibility of a deranged worker killing you, or your wife, or your girlfriend, or you daughter, or that pig you’ve been kanoodling is far more likely to be killed.  You people have got it all wrong workplace violence CAN and at some point actually MAY kill you or someone you love, and the coronavirus statistically will not. But don’t let me stop you from worrying about the absurdly improbably and dismissing workplace violence because “it won’t happen here”.

Phil LaDuke

Phil LaDuke

Principle and Partner at ERM
Phil LaDuke
Phil La Duke is a principle and partner in Environmental Resources Management (ERM) a leading global provider of environmental, health, safety, risk, and social consulting services. With over 140 offices in 40 countries and nearly 6,000 top professionals, ERM can help you wherever you find yourself doing business. At ERM we are committed to providing a service that is consistent, professional, and of the highest quality to create value for our clients. Over the past five years we have worked for more than 50% of the Global Fortune 500 delivering innovative solutions for business and selected government clients helping them understand and manage the sustainability challenges that the world is increasingly facing. Phil works primarily in the Performance and Assurance practice at ERM; a speaker, author, consultant, trainer, provocateur…Phil La Duke wears many hats. As an expert in safety, training, organizational development, and culture change, Phil and ERM can help you motivate your workforce, conduct safety performance assessments, help you to build robust training infrastructures, craft interventions to improve how your work place values safety, provide insights to your executive staff, and craft and execute business solutions. If you’re interested in what Phil La Duke and ERM can do for you, or if you would like to inquire about employment opportunites at ERM, contact Phil at phil.laduke@erm.com

3 Replies to “Hey Idiots, You’re Worried About the Wrong Things”

  1. Really? Worst since the nazi boxcars? I haven’t read of masses of people dying of suffocation from overcrowding or starvation as they were packed in boxcars for days on the way to the death camps.. I find your flippant comparison insulting but in reality I’m not surprised. I’m not sure what you’re writing about any more as it appears you have lost your way in your quest for workplace safety or just given up and resting on your past laurels. Either way I’m done and unsubscribing. Good luck

  2. I think viruses are something to worry about if you travel on planes. I think of real risk, in a global society, is when a company brings in an international speaker, when perhaps a local person can do the same thing. I think of real risk is driving home at night, after a swing shift, on icy roads, and despite having received oodles of safety leadership training,you still die when your car slides off the road. Pandemics are a known risk in a global society, and organizations have a sunk cost in showing their preparations after the swine and bird flus. There are losers (cruise ship/tourism industry), and there are winners (5G), and all I know is every time I board a plane to travel or get in my car to drive, I am taking a real risk, but I believe I will make it, or I would never even try. Next snow storm I would love to see all the trucks and commuters simply stop in their tracks. Yes, journey managment, they say, but no one really wants to stop society ($) for the sake of safety, so when the corona virus comes along, I see a little tear in the veil we wear pretending we can live globally with infinite resources.

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