Why Hazard Controls Fail (and expertise in EHS is the cause)

Walk by a machine without guarding. Or an extension cord stapled to the wall. You’ll notice it.


Adam Levine, Ph.D. (Associate Director and Associate Curator of Ancient Art, Toledo Museum of Art.), speaking at the 2016 NSC Congress, said that once something is seen, it cannot be unseen. To illustrate he showed a black and white photo of a jungle. When he changed the slide to a colorized image, a jaguar appeared. Same photo, different colors. Afterwards, it’s impossible not to see the jaguar in both photos. Once seen, always seen.

When we make recommendations to correct hazards, we do it with the eyes of an expert. With the eyes of one steeped in compliance, safety, logic, rational thought, and (most likely) an objective viewpoint.

What if employees don’t think of compliance first, work with the goal of finishing rather than with logic and reason…what if they aren’t objective?

Will our hazard controls still work?


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