It’s a Safety Requirement

It’s a Safety Requirement!

risk aversionFor some years now the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has had a Safety Myth Busters Challenge Panel – their mission is to expose stories about ridiculous decisions taken, wrongly, in the name of health and safety. Visit their website.

You may also like this recent article: Safety First or Just in the Top Three? Mike Rowe, from “Dirt Jobs” says: “there is none more pervasive, erroneous, overused, and dangerous, than “Safety First!” in my opinion”

Dr Rob Long from writes about his recent airline experience – we should all takes Rob’s challenge and ask “why?” occasionally:

It seems these days that anytime an organization or official wants the public to accept some inconvenience or demand, it is packaged as a ‘safety requirement’. I catch planes all the time but have been avoiding one particular airline for 7 years, but today had no choice and found myself on this airline. What is interesting is the differences in the way this airline operates and so has its idiosyncrasies, yes but how are these packaged.

I rolled up to the check-in and my bags etc were weighed and I was over weight, hmmm, can I purchase more? No, it is a safety requirement that I have one bag. So after shuffling carry on and main bag I juggled the weight and checked in. The configuration of the bags was no different in reality but more importantly, no other airline does this. The problem is not the demand of the airline but the banal spin that it was a ‘safety requirement’ if this is so, why does this not apply to any other airline?

It seems that risk aversion is the best excuse for the day when you want compliance. Every time something is banned or restricted it is because it’s a ‘safety requirement’. No wonder people think safety is an embuggerance! When we want to bamboozle people who don’t know the Act or Regulation we can mystify, dazzle and mesmerise them with its a ‘safety requirement’ when in reality it is often a convenience behind the scenes to make someone’s life easier.

So kids can’t fly kites in the park, run on the beach or do all kinds of fun things because of safety. And so adults too can’t do many ordinary things because it is a ‘safety requirement’. We no longer have ‘speed’ cameras they are now ‘safety’ cameras, all spin to somehow make the demands of compliance more palatable. What a dull existence we live at times, no wonder the expansion of x-games and edge work is booming.

So next time you are told it is a ‘safety requirement’ and have the time to bother, ask them why? You may find the answer highly entertaining.

Dr Rob Long

Dr Rob Long

Expert in Social Psychology, Principal & Trainer at Human Dymensions
Dr Rob Long
PhD., MEd., MOH., BEd., BTh., Dip T., Dip Min., Cert IV TAA, MRMIA Rob is the founder of Human Dymensions and has extensive experience, qualifications and expertise across a range of sectors including government, education, corporate, industry and community sectors over 30 years. Rob has worked at all levels of the education and training sector including serving on various post graduate executive, post graduate supervision, post graduate course design and implementation programs.

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