Who is Responsible for My Safety

Couple of problem areas to discuss today.  Stupidity should have consequences. The results of stupidity should hurt and leave a visible scar to be a constant reminder of what happens when you do stupid things. Signs are often plastered around work sites warning of potential accidents and injuries; “Watch Your Step” “Lift With Your Legs” “Wear Safety Glasses” “Caution, Wet Floor” to name a few. Why do we need signs to point out danger areas? If the floor is wet, common sense would (should) tell you to walk with sure footing. But apparently, we need a sign to tell us because we have lost the ability of critical thought and therefore cannot be expected to take responsibility for our own actions. We slip on wet pavement or trip over a crack, it’s obviously someone else’s fault, even though 500 other people just walked over the same area and did not slip and fall. We have willingly relinquished our God given obligation to take care of ourselves and our family; it’s now someone else’s responsibility and they own a little piece of us.  That’s problem one.

Problem two. Not only do we need warning signs to replace our sense of self preservation and common sense, the warning signs and/or notices cannot offend fragile sensibilities of the workforce; it might hurt their feelings.  A requirement to wear safety glasses cannot contain a picture of a nail embedded in someone’s eye; the consequence of not wearing safety glasses. Why? Because the picture may offend or give someone nightmares. The warning has no teeth.

What has happened to bring us to this? We’re not responsible for our own safety but when someone else is forced to step in and protect or warn us our first instinct is to look for ways to be offended. Sign on the wall says, “Wear Safety Glasses.” Company issued you a set of OSHA approved safety glasses, but you don’t wear them because you don’t care for the way they look.  You lose an eye, and you blame the employer; employer is not at fault, they voiced their safety requirements on a Politically Correct sign, they gave you glasses.  OK, let’s sue the company and make it the insurance company’s problem.

We are our own worst enemy. We have pushed the envelope so far that companies will check a “safety” block on an official form or give notice in a bulletin, but the warning has no teeth.  Any effort to add teeth is met with rebuke. In truth, most companies care nothing for safety anymore.  How can they? Any legitimate attempt is deemed offensive; they care about the perception of safety. It boils down to, “Can they demonstrate compliance in a court of law.” This dilemma is not their fault, it is ours.

For grins and giggles let’s take this one more step; a third problem if you will. We are so concerned with the perception of safety we have muffled individual advancement.  Face it, most advancements (both at the individual and national level) has come about when someone is willing to take a risk. Whether it was a physical safety risk, financial risk, or, in the case of writing politically incorrect blogs, the risk of personal standing.  Don’t fear taking a risk, don’t let fear stop you.  In fact, walk up to fear, look fear in the face and slap it across the face as hard as you can, you may find there was nothing to fear at all. Even if there is something to fear, chances are you will prevail… if your courage holds.

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