Safety: "We have been doing this for thirty years"


When safety professionals make critical comments or question a situation or activity they consider unsafe, they often get the following answer: "We've been doing this for thirty (at least a solid number!) Years." Something is safe if you have done it long enough without accidents.


Safety is not the same as having no accidents. Accidents are a weak #indicator of safety. But if you The "turkey mistake" have no accidents for an extended time, this can indicate many things, including working safely. Either you've just been lucky for a long time, or other circumstances have reduced high #risk elements.



The "turkey mistake"

The - thirty-year argument - always reminds me of the "turkey mistake." Let's take a look at a turkey that lives in a large cage with its other fellow turkeys. They have a lot of space and are fed daily. The turkey is getting bigger and bigger, and feels great. The cage next door holds chickens. The turkey observes the farmer who regularly enters the chicken cage and collects eggs and chickens that will never return. But that does not happen with the turkey. After all, turkeys are different from chickens. Nothing can happen to him, and statistics are there to prove it. The friendly farmer comes in every day with fresh food for him and his fellow turkey friends, and he never brought any. And so it goes. One hundred, two hundred, three hundred days. And then one day at the end of October the farmer appears. Instead of bringing food, the farmer takes him, slaughters the turkey, and prepares it for Thanksgiving.



When will your Thanksgiving Day come?


Useful historical #stats data probably doesn't mean anything. If you've been doing something without mistakes for a long time, your Thanksgiving Day may arrive!

Hopefully, you're just in time to rethink your 30-year-old habits!


Courtesy of Carsten Busch: Safety Myth # 47


© 2020 Rob Kreté, Veiligheid van Binnenuit | Illustraties Tom van Dun, infocomics.nl