Better safety inspections feel like colonoscopies

It’s quite an experience.

The safety inspector goes into your office, your jobsite, your creative space, your domain…and tells you what’s wrong. It’s not all wrong. But that’s wrong, that’s broken, that’s too close, that’s too far away, and that over there…that’s too high to be right, so yep, it’s wrong.

According to, 50,260 people will die of colorectal cancer in 2017. Screenings are essential to driving down the fatality rate.

The problem? The screenings are invasive and people avoid them (even more so than safety inspections).

To solve this screening challenge, a 1996 study by Daniel Kahneman, Donald Redelmeier, and Joel Katz separated patients into two groups. The first group experienced a normal colonoscopy. The second group underwent a colonoscopy where the scope remained inserted but unmoved for the final three minutes of the procedure. Patients in the second group reported a less unpleasant experience and were significantly more likely to return for subsequent screenings (thereby increasing their chances for survival).


These findings corroborated other research which found people use only the most intense period (peak) and the end experience to judge the entire experience. It’s now called the Peak-End Rule.

What could EHS professionals learn from this rule and how could we modify our intrusive process(es) (e.g. inspections, audits, and even investigations) to create a better overall experience?


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