Easy OHS

Ignoring Safety is Like Playing Russian Roulette

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

“We’ve been accident free for 20 years……we don’t need safety, its all bull#%#t”
Statements like this from business owners are common reasons to justify why they don’t need any documented or implemented safety systems.  We only have to look at past history to learn the shocking truth about why this attitude is so dangerous.

Here is a summary of just a small handful out of the many hundreds of recent workplace prosecution reports:

  • Meat processing company fined $150,000 when worker had part of his hand severed in an Auger – no previous convictions for this company
  • Company fined $215,000 for worker killed by falling material on a construction site, and owner of company placed on a 2 year good behavior bond – no previous safety prosecutions during past 20 years
  • Company fined $140,000 and Director personally fined $14,000 after worker fell over 2 metres and sustained serious injuries – no previous safety breaches

This list goes on and on, of companies who have been in business for over 20 years with no serious accidents and then out of the blue – bang, their whole world comes crashing down.  Many were found to have substantially deficient safety sytems with procedures either not in place or in place but not used or enforced. 

Perhaps one of the most disturbing and famous statements about accidents is the following, from Captain Edward Smith five years before he went down at the helm of the stricken Titanic. 

“When anyone asks how I can best describe my experience in nearly 40 years at sea, I merely say, uneventful. Of course there have been winter gales, and storms and fog and the like, but in all my experience, I have never been in any accident of any sort worth speaking about. I never saw a wreck and never have been wrecked, nor was I ever in any predicament that threatened to end in disaster of any sort".

So the message is, don’t ignore safety – do something now and record that you are doing it.  You might just save a life or prevent a serious injury in your workplace, while at the same time protecting your business. 

Doing anything else is, at best, playing Russian Roulette.

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