Safety Judge Jury and Executioners

Safety Judge Jury and Executioners

plastic bag shieldSomeone recently published this “Safety Fail Photo” on LinkedIn. I am a first to admit that I used to post heaps of similar photos on this blog (here) with a certain amount of disdain for those they portrayed. I have come a long way since then on my unlearning journey. How quick some safety people are to assume, judge, condemn and even laugh at the decisions of others with nothing but a photo to make that ignorant assessment? Sadder still that a post like this gets many more comments than positive posts or posts about people doing great things – assuming that this photo is even real and not a photoshopped attempt to poke fun at safety itself? What does that say about how we manage safety? Is this how we do our risk assessments?

It is no surprise to see ignorant responses such as:

  • “It’s morons like this that created the need for OSHA”
  • “Safety first ~ haha”
  • “And these people are allowed to vote”
  • “Another contender for the Darwin Awards”
  • “people like him are allowed to have children? ??”

What did surprise and encourage me were the number of intelligent comments from safety people which you may not have seen a few years ago. Comments like:

  • “How can anyone assess the decisions he made at the time without a conversation. We are all quick to condemn without all the facts”
  • “for all we know he may be trying to protect himself the best he knows how and with the best resources he has at his disposal. There is no common level of knowledge, assuming is a dangerous practice..”
  • “When ‘safety professionals’ are so quick to judge it shows we have a long way to go. Safety needs to be more about compassionate understanding and less about compliant consignorance”
  • “In this age of photoshop we are all to quick to judge photos as valid or authentic”

Keith McCabe Just published this article on LinkedIn: Why Benjamin Franklin may have been Safety’s Old role model – This article (republished below) sums up the situation perfectly, as do the comments made such as this one by Sheri Suckling:

“It’s too easy to sit on the sidelines and judge others without any real insight into what is actually happening or what motivates people. Psychology would suggest that this is a common ‘project and deflect’ technique to avoid looking too closely into one’s own behaviours and activities and allows such observers to experience a false sense of superiority.”


Why Benjamin Franklin may have been Safety’s Old role model.

“But in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”

OR in safety’s words

Everyone’s going to be killed and everyone else is going to be fined

A quick glance at the all too frequent photo posts creeping onto professional networking sights and the scathing comments, (many of which are identical) tells me a fair bit about today’s safety practitioners. True enough that a photograph is worth a thousand words but why do they all have to be so very negative?

Perhaps if I dig a little further I might find that today’s safety professionals are in fact the creation of writer John Wagner and artist Carlos Ezquerra, “empowered to summarily arrest, convict, sentence, and execute”? Too close to HazardMan?

I also hate the focus on the individual, none or very few of the rants ask about the other duty holders in fact I see no evidence of asking at all, how is it that such paragons of the Safety legislation conduct so little consultation and communication when those are some of the clearest elements of the Acts?

For those of us who live in the real as opposed to a perfect world rest assured that there are risk and safety practitioners out there who are willing to listen and to learn, before they speak.

I welcome your views as ever (even the scathing ones)!


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