Safety Assumptions


I enjoy a joke as much as the next person. Sometimes, I overthink a joke, though. Case in point.

“Awkward” has a page entitled “15 People Are Wayyyyyy Too Overprotective”.  Photo 12 shows a gate locked with six locks. From my perspective, this is not being overprotective. Since at least three of the locks have numbers, I see this set of locks as part of a lock-out procedure. Each person has locked the area with his/her lock to ensure that no-one can enter/leave without them. Locking out is a good safety practice, not being overprotective. My problem is that anyone can remove all the locks by removing any one of the locks; a clear case of not thinking about thinking safety.

Don’t get me wrong, the premise is funny, and there is nothing wrong with having a good laugh. I am using Akward’s different interpretation of the photo to show that we make assumptions.

Assumptions are necessary. Without assumptions, we would need to start from scratch in everything we do. Our level of decision making would reduce to first principles. We would deplete our decision-making energy, halting all progress.

We must remember that the most significant assumption we make is that others know what we know. People are from different backgrounds and have different levels of exposure. Our experiences form our frame of reference for risk assessment. Not discussing a risk from the same frame of reference can lead to someone getting hurt. Assuming everyone has the same frame of reference is not a wise assumption.

We must test our assumptions.

Managers must always make sure that everyone is on the same safety page — especially those who are career starters.

By the way, photo 11 is not funny from a safety perspective, either.

work explained

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