Do you see them too?

I see dead people…All the time. They are everywhere.” – Haley Joel Osment’s character in “The Sixth Sense”

I have seen it in the eyes and faces of safety professionals. And I’ve felt it myself.

You’re with another safety professional (or a team) and you get the news that a workplace injury has occurred. A worker is now at the hospital and a truck is smashed.

What goes through your head? What’s in the faces of those around you?

Eye rolls? That jaded look which whispers, “What procedure did he ignore?” “Where can we affix the blame before the site manager finds out?” Or, for the third time that morning, “Why don’t people care about safety?”

There’s an aphorism for this feeling. (It’s not just you). It’s called Hanlon’s Razor and it says, “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by misunderstanding or ignorance.”

Malice is an easy logic leap. Everyone should know what to do, must value this like I value this…and anything else means they do not care, or worse, have ill will towards their work (and me).

Make this mistake and you’ll soon see the world as flawed, careless, and even malicious. If you’ve seen an EHS professional tired of their work and uninspired with their career, you’ve likely seen the effects of this costly logic error.

Remember Hanlon’s Razor. And stop seeing “dead” people.

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