We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Mike Rowe, who has plenty of life experience, had a good podcast yesterday about safety. I'd vote for him for president or for anything else.
His point is that "Safety First" is just a reminder to be careful. If people took "Safety First" seriously, nobody would drive a car or take an airplane trip, much less do all of the hazardous jobs (like fishing or construction) that people do.
If you actually live by "Safety First," you will not have much of a life.
A few years ago (after the BP Baytown refinery blew up) the oil industry went through a top-down change in safety culture. A lot of it was long overdue, but as with many top-down things, it went too far and became over-reaching, to the point of making it very difficult to get work done at a reasonable rate at the rig site. We used to joke: "Nobody moves, Nobody gets hurt."
One of the best-grounded principles for safety I've seen was a set of stickers, to be placed on mirrors in the bathrooms of industrial sites: "You are looking at the person responsible for Your Safety". It's a good philosophy for life, not just the workplace. It would be a good thing if that principle was reinforced by our modern day leaders.
People say it because it's one of the first things to go when people are in a hurry or want something else. They put up the sign at the shop because the tendency will be for people to not wear safety goggles or mop up a little water because they think they'll be "fine this time." People overlook necessary safety precautions when cleaning guns or driving cars because they are in a hurry.
One can accuse people of exaggeration in using the phrase because it of course cannot be literally true. However, once you have decided to clean your gun or use a table saw or drive to work, the phrase "Safety First" is what you should be thinking next, because your natural inclinations are going to pull you into unsafe practices.
You actually do want the OCD surgeon who counts the sponges six times when it's your operation. When we think there is actual danger involved we are very glad to have everyone remind us "Safety First!" Well, not glad exactly. I was always irritated at my sons handing me safety goggles. But we accept it without too much objection. The difference at the moment is that a lot of people, rightly or wrongly, don't think the danger is that great. That is what is driving the objection to government rules and people telling us what to do. Lots of folks are framing this in the language of rights, and freedoms, and our exalted forefathers, or in insulting terms about the timidity of others or the fascism of our governments, but the impression that the safety rules are not that important are the real driver.
This is true whether the rules are right or wrong, and whether our conclusions about the danger are objective or motivated by our desires.
Assistant Village Idiot
I was a trans-atlantic pilot when it was low and slow with a good bit of dead reckoning. It was always safety first with us. Been retired 50 years.
I've always wondered about the long term viability of any company that proudly proclaims: "Safety First". Shouldn't the priority be providing an excellent product/service for a good value (which includes not maiming employees or burning down the plant in the process)?
Safety is important, but not the goal.
In the military, I've noticed the different services have different levels of risk. The AF (which I know best) is most cautious, followed likely by the Navy (they'll fly aircraft we won't), and then Army and Marines (likely tied). Special Ops excels at balancing risk, but all accept, to varying levels, that some few losses in training beat many losses in combat.
This is true in many different ways. We want the company to pour all of itself into the product or service that is its main purpose. That gives the customer the best possible value. Otherwise, we are getting second best efforts or worse.
For example, this is also true of companies that profess being 'Woke'. Get Woke, Go Broke. It only follows that when you take your eye off the ball, you strike out. Gillette's introduction of a proud dad teaching his gender-confused daughter to shave (and other insulting winners) cost them billions.
Oilpatch safety protocols improved at first but then became over-administrated after the Baytown disaster. Simple tasks could no longer be conducted with a pre-job common-sensical approach to managing risk and planning work. Now, procedures had to be followed that required exhaustive training in systems, detailed documentation, and recognition of all those present and involved - just to do routine tasks. Safety became 'Woke'. The job effectiveness fell, work moved slower, and most importantly, safety did not improve. Costs went up though.
There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who think about their safety and those who do not. I am 77 now and most of my fearless friends died by age 55. When I was in the military we would get a safety briefing in the last hour of our last work day of the week, usually Friday. The intent was to prevent deaths of young military men who would jump in their car and drive to someplace that offered more fun than their post did. Every time I travel I remember those briefings, still today so many years later. I consciously choose to be safe when I drive. I consciously choose to be safe when I use a ladder too AND when I use a gun. There are many people who do not.
Assistant Village Idiot
I remember during the BSE 'crisis' at the end of the last century hearing official reassurances that one had a greater statistical risk of death from falling in one's bath. Yet, expensive and draconian measures were taken in the beef industry, many of which still remain in place, but these irresponsible murderers didn't outlaw baths.
I noticed in The Hunt For Red October when Ryan visits his friend about the submersible, the guy on the ladder throws him a hard hat. But they walk through a shop where welding and grinding is going on, and neither is wearing safety glasses.
If you are really concerned about safety, do not go walking, bicycling or motorcycling. Most people know motorcycles are very dangerous but they haven't looked at the fatality statistics for bicyclists or pedestrians.