Irreverence and Experts

“It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefooted irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to question it.” – Jacob Bronowski

To learn we must carry the open mind of a student. Be wary of the “expert”, for they often carry iron-clad opinions and closed minds. Closed minds resound with confidence and are carried by those too convinced of their own thoughts to be bothered by new ones.

What does irreverence look like in EHS? Think Fred Manuele and H. W. Heinrich. Heinrich’s triangle is renowned in safety literature. According to his 1931 book, for every major injury at work there were 29 minor injuries, and 300 “accidents” without injury. This data was repeated for nearly 70 years until Manuele took a barefoot and ragamuffin second look at the data…dispelling much of it in his 2002 book “Heinrich Revisited: Truisms or Myths”.

Here’s to the barefooted irreverent ragamuffins who change the world.


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