Primary Sources for Safety

Freakanomics posted an interesting discussion with several construction workers, asking them what they thought the biggest safety concerns were in their area.

The plural of anecdote may not be data, but this is a good start if anyone wants to look at whether regulation (via unions) contributes to safety, what safety rules are ‘annoying’, and construction worker locus of control.

“What’s one safety rule you would initiate at your workplace? What rules are unnecessary?

On union jobs the safety rules tend to be comprehensive, and effectively enforced. On non-union jobs — haha.

Many non union jobs are criminally negligent about safety. And after years of Republican rule of federal government there is little realistic enforcement. In other countries when workers are killed in, say, a building collapse, somebody goes to prison when negligence is proven. Here they might be fined a paltry sum.

I have yet to encounter a safety rule that was unnecessary. Although some are annoying — like wearing masks.”

“What’s one safety rule you would initiate at your workplace? What rules are unnecessary?

I can’t think of any specific “rule” I would initiate … 98 percent of safety is just paying attention to what you are doing and to your surroundings.

You can’t mandate good judgment. Although many of the rules are good and grounded in common sense (they do create a general “culture” of safety), sometimes the letter of the law, so to speak, is enforced too much.

Many times you stand there and say, “I understand why this rule exists, but when applied blindly in this situation, it just doesn’t make sense.”