When Safety Doesn’t Matter


There are times when safety doesn’t matter. I’m talking about personal safety, public safety, and workplace safety. Safety doesn’t matter… until it does. Unfortunately the time safety seems to matter is after an accident, or after multiple ignored warnings that result in a tragedy. In other words regret or fear is too often the catalyst that makes safety matter.

Practicing personal safety and workplace safety is a choice… a matter of personal responsibility, the consequence of which avoiding always leads to regret and new laws.

Every time we take a moderate to high risk concerning our safety and well-being, we may be unconsciously saying that right now safety doesn’t really matter. This article is meant to be provocative, to start a conversation and maybe even a movement to recognize the importance of safety in living and creating the life you want.

Safety Doesn’t Matter

As long as there’s a distraction or a higher priority

•having fun

•horse play

•proving special abilities and stamina

•getting a laugh

•being entertained

As long as there’s denial

•It won’t happen to me

•It happened to someone else, but it must have been God’s will

•As long as I can believe whatever I want

•As long as I avoid the facts

•As long as I think I’m special

As long as there’s a pay off

•I saved time

•I saved money

•I tested and beat fate

•I prove that I’m more daring than you

Every time you put yourself or someone else at risk you communicate that safety doesn’t really matter.

When you text and drive, you are doing so because of being entertained, having fun, getting a laugh or proving that while others aren’t good at it you are. You are avoiding the facts that when you are driving 55 miles an hour and texting that’s like driving the length of a football field without looking or knowing what you are doing. You might think you are saving time or even beating fate. And safety won’t matter to you as long as there is a pay off greater than the risk of killing yourself, killing someone else or in some other way ruining the life you have.

Medical professionals who work long hours, compromise patient safety. Nurses that work 12.5 hours or longer are three times more likely to make an error in patient care. In addition, one of the major causes of unproductive behavior by physicians in the operating room is due to physician fatigue. Recently the Institute of Medicine conducted research from 2 large studies and concluded that a minimum of 44,000-and maybe as many as 98,000- Americans die each year as a result of medical errors. I read a case about a surgeon boasting about doing 16 surgeries in one day. Good for him, but I wouldn’t want to be the sixteenth patient, would you? Is this a case of denial, or is the payoff worth the risk?

When you avoid the responsibility of acting and working safely you are careless. Alan Gray with the Mississippi Department of Public Safety says, “When you don’t adhere to safety rules and work safely you actually care less,” making a play on the word careless. He makes a great point.

Safety is not about laws and rules, it’s about personal responsibility. Safety is everybody’s business. Living, working and acting safely not only shows maturity and good judgment, it’s a way to show you care.