Safety then and now, how did we survive?

Great insight by Keith McCabe – just posted on LinkedIn Pulse

Safety then and now, how did we survive?

Judge's hold hammer on wooden table People haven’t really changed that much their perception of safe is really much as it’s always been what has changed a lot is people’s perception of entitlement.

Years ago if someone was asked what would happen if you accidently hit yourself on the thumb with a hammer they knew it would hurt didn’t they. This was because they read about it in a safe work procedure or a conveniently placed safety poster which helpfully reminded them that hitting yourself with a hammer hurts or someone told them it would hurt.

Ok that’s maybe a stretch maybe they really knew because they had hurt themselves through the course of play, and work and life?

So if years ago Keith hurt himself with that hammer he would probably call the innocent hammer a name not befitting a public post, show his mates in a display of manliness and subtle sympathy seeking, strap up the cut/blister/bruise and then carefully go back to hammering. I say this with some confidence as during the course of fixing up stuff around the house I’ve been there and done that. So why then would Keith today bang that poor thumb at work and spend the rest of the day filling in paperwork including claim forms and being interviewed by a clipboard who knows more about hammering than I could possibly ever?

Well it’s not the safety is it! It’s all about the entitlement.

I’d be so bold to suggest that the reason/cause I was injured didn’t change it’s the post incident reaction that’s different.

Injury statistics are no reflection of safety they are a simple and unreliable, inconsistent measure of compensation. Now I’m certainly not going to suggest that we should do away with workers comp or any such drastic response. You could argue that if compensation wasn’t an option people might take more care? Personally I think that’s rubbish, careless is a blanket term thrown around when all the facts and influences are unknown or not considered.

Compensation has its place supporting workers and their dependants who need them, my problem is with a safety industry that claims to put people first and wants to prevent harm. Is it really harm they want to prevent or is it the consequences for the organisations they want to prevent?

Time for some soul searching, Thoughts, arguments, debates and other comments are as always welcome.


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