Most people are industrious and want to get a job done well and in good time. As competent people, they take pride in a job well done and done efficiently. However, as you know, when things are not quite right safety-wise, we have to stop the job and think things through again. This takes time and often this annoys us. We think that this delay will be a bad reflection on us.
So sometimes people play a mental trick on themselves and make up excuses to go ahead.
Case study examples showing Wrongly diminishing the risk:
- You and four of your mates are having a fantastic Friday night out. Each week one of you takes a turn not to drink too much so he/she can drive the car safely and drop people off at their homes. It’s now two o’clock in the morning and you all want to go home. Unfortunately, this week’s driver is completely drunk – as is everyone else. He insists aggressively that he is okay to drive and the others seem happy to go in the car. Although you are worried and think this is very unsafe you want to be loyal to your mates, so you go with them because it’s only a short journey home.
Of course, there are several things wrong with this “drunken” situation, but do you see how you have been fooled into doing the wrong thing by the short distance? Is the distance relevant? NO!!! Can you die in 100 metres/yards? Yes!!!
- Your 74-year old mother-in-law is staying with you and your family for two months. She is a very nice person but can be a bit temperamental. She is in the kitchen cutting some carrots to make soup. You notice that she is cutting the carrots in half, lengthwise and then is trying to cut them into quarters lengthwise. However, she has the half carrots not on the flat side but on the round side and as she is cutting, they are wobbling. You are worried she may cut herself but say nothing because the chance of her cutting herself is slim.
Again, there are several things one could do to prevent a finger being chopped off … because that could be the result – could it not? However, do you see the trick … “It won’t happen this time!!!” How do we know? How do we know the chance is slim? Of course, we don’t.
- You and two mates are doing a job that will take only ten minutes but the lifting gear you need to lift the very awkward 50kg valve is not there, so you decide to manually lift the 50kg. You don’t do a lifting plan because you are not lifting it – you are just supporting it!
Can you see the mental trick that WRONGLY diminishes the risk?! When the valve is removed it drops and you have to make sure you support the weight. So, you are supporting it, but you still have to bear the weight of 50kg!! What is the difference between lifting 50kg and supporting 50kg?!
In Safety Briefing No. 11 we will look at three more examples.
As always, your feedback is very welcome. If there are any topics you’d like covered in future Safety Briefings, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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