Lack of Safety or Sheer Complacency? Are We Overlooking the Obvious?

With our feet now firmly entrenched in the 21st century, we find ourselves living in a world of incredible technological accomplishments, ever-advancing medical discoveries, and limitless health & safety laws aimed at protecting us all.

But despite all of this, there are still so many unexpected incidents in life that can change everything in a heartbeat.  Just like the current situation we find ourselves in with Covid-19, things can come along without any warning whatsoever and reshape not only our individual lives but even the world as a whole.

Although, from a surface viewpoint it seems things have got a lot safer for most of us in general, during 2016 there were still 146,482 accidental deaths recorded within the EU-27 – this was equivalent to 3.2% of all deaths.

So what’s the deal? We seem to be experiencing the most ironic of situations:

  • massively improved motor and road safety but still way too many vehicle/pedestrian deaths
  • a myriad of health & safety laws yet still so many preventable injuries and deaths occurring. Evident in the mining industry where gas detection and gas detection equipment is so heavily regulated, but deaths and hospitalization are still commonplace.
  • way too many people are still being left seriously injured by workplace accidents or in the home despite there being numerous safety labels, instructions, and warnings everywhere we look.

The increase in safety measures during the first part of this century has been phenomenal, yet people seeking help from an injury lawyer has grown exponentially alongside this. So could there be more to this than initially meets the eye and could we be “barking up the wrong tree” with our approach?

Complacency is a common human trait but is also the complete nemesis of safety. For example, if you have been driving for 20 years without ever having an accident, if you climb up ladders every day in your job without wearing the correct safety equipment, or if you have been doing something a certain way for a long time and every now and then omit to make a necessary inspection or conduct some maintenance, without it resulting in incidence, you have become complacent about it.

It seems in these current times we are forever looking to the State or other governing bodies to set the parameters and even, on occasion, to point the fickle finger of blame at, but rather than us walking around surrounded by health and safety warnings and with hazard stickers obscuring every view, which often eventually fail to register in our minds, maybe we should just take time to call on our own sense of responsibility and sensibility, and realise that we are not invincible, infallible, or indeed, immortal.

Maybe it’s time for the focus to shift and work at beating this pernicious complacency. One of the best ways, as in most forms of learning, is repetition, repetition, repetition! In the workplace, regular morning meetings with employees, before they start their day, to remind them of the possible hazards ahead and how to prevent them. Teaching people to be vigilant at all times because it only takes a momentary lapse of care and focus for our fragile worlds to be changed beyond recognition.

In this day and age, the statistics shouldn’t be such a grim read but only we can make the necessary changes, as employers, employees, and individuals from all walks of life. This is an amazing world we live in with so many opportunities and possibilities, so let us all open our eyes, show some care and respect for our environment and those around us, but most of all let us not become another grim statistic but instead be aware, take care, stay safe and thrive.



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