Sunday, July 26, 2009


Jim over at Major Conflict got me thinking about risk. When it comes to safety especially on a job I'm anal about safety. Yes I have tweeked the rules but only when it was impossible to complete a task otherwise and even then I look for a safer way to prevent injury to myself or others.
There was a time when helmets were for sissys and cars didn't have seat belts then somebody realized that maybe you could survive a head injury with a helmet and seat belts prevented people from flying through the windshield. A bruse around the middle was more preferrable than attending a funeral. There are people who whine about the "nanny" state and all the rules that go with it but they never stop to consider that the costs of dealing with the results of risky behavior are already built into our system. If a worker gets hurt there's workers comp. The cost of products include the price of shoplifters. Companies have product liability insurance. And even if these whiners were to drop all coverage, never wear a helmet, drink like a fish and race around like there's no tomorrow there's still a system to deal with their disreguard for others and themselves. The costs are well hidden however. To say I don't want to pay for some guy who's 100lbs overwieght or have some tax because it affects me is silly because the costs are already there and you will pay for it one way or another. You can pay upfront or pay later but you will pay. It's called looking out for each other even if that involves stupid behavior. And I haven't talked to one family who hasn't had a story about a brother or sister who did do some stupid thing like set the couch on fire or other dumb act. You Tube is full of "let's see what happens when" videos a virtual library of stupid acts all documented for your viewing pleasure. Maybe we should put a tax on those videos to help pay for the personnal damage.
Not to forget lost production and lost wages and the cost to the system there. Then there's the system itself the hospitals doctors police judges and prisons. All these costs must be considered with risky behavior but the whiners don't seem to care. That is until someone tells them the costs and then they don't want to pay until it happens to them.


an average patriot said...

You know, when were kids anything beyond the clothes we had to war was an inconvenience and we stayed away from it. I am like you I fought every safety rule but today adhere to it all habitually!

Snave said...

Same here. Good post, D.!

I do think a lot of it comes down to personal responsibility. Those on the other side of the political fence like to go on and on about personal responsibility, but when this subject is approached in the way you have brought it up here, they tend to moan and complain about how government interferes with their personal lives, etc. etc.

I think we have a responsibility not just to ourselves but to America in general, socially and economically, to do things that are in the interest of our own personal safety and the safety of our fellow citizens. I think that includes everything from obeying speed limits, wearing helmets, using seat belts, keeping small kids in car seats, not setting off TOO many illegal fireworks (!), etc. I can see where in some cases we can be personally and socially responsible by watching what we eat, by not using tobacco products, or even by driving vehicles that are not gas-guzzlers.

I suppose when it comes to legislating things like the last few items is where problems are encountered with the those who are of a more libertarian mindset.

Societal attitudes can seemingly only change over time, and sometimes they can't be changed... but I don't consider it a personal problem or defect to think in terms of group or community as opposed to thinking in terms of individualism. While I would like to see more Americans think in terms of community, I realize that both outlooks can go to extremes. A good balance of both can make things better for everyone.

But I agree, safety first.

S.W. Anderson said...

I was never put off at all about having to use a seatbelt. When I had a moped, I didn't mind using a helmet. There came a day when I probably would've been hurt badly if I hadn't been wearing one.

I think what you've got in some people is an eternal-adolescent attitude: "It's a free country. I don't want to wear a seatbelt (or helmet), and you can't make me. So there."

Realizing they could be fined, most of them do use seatbelts and helmets. But like a maladjusted kids, they hold it against government — authority they already resent big time because they have to pay taxes.

You are exactly right about how we're all going to pay one way or another. People who can't hack that should go off to the wilds of the Alaskan outback, or a deserted island somewhere. Living in society has its benefits, costs and responsibilities. Grownups find ways to not let that ruin their whole day, day after day.

Holte Ender said...

Good discussion you've got going Demeur - Wearing a seat belt saved my life or at least kept me out of a wheel chair, I feel naked if I don't buckle up as soon as I get in a vehicle. A few weeks ago I took a trip by train and for an hour or two felt uncomfortable, because there were no seat belts on the train seats. I know people that never wear a seat belt, except if they see a cop car. I can't understand it. It does put a burden on emergency services and hospitals which puts a cost on the taxpayers. Being an individual is all well and fine, but responsibility needs to be a collective thing.

Roger Owen Green said...

Today I saw a guy riding his bicycle in the middle of the road (near the double yellow line) while talking on his handheld cellphone. Oh, and he had no helmet, which is not required for those over 14, but you won't see ME riding in this city w/out it.
First thing I said to myself when I saw this guy, "He's an IDIOT!" Second was that he was not only risking his own life but others as well, which made him a bigger idiot in my book.

Seat belts almost certainly saved my life at least once.

BBC said...

I don't really have a problem with seat belts, had to have good ones back when I drove race cars. Don't much like helmets though.

And when it comes to safety being careful is the first step, if you are careful you can avoid a lot of hazards.

These new tools with the so called safety guards and extra buttons that you have to push are a pain in the ass if you ask me. They are often cumbersome to use and that is a hazard in itself.

I don't mind a saw with a brake on it but the extra button gets disabled, I find them distracting.

The trouble with the extra safety things on tools is that these monkeys are not learning to use good old common sense around them so there still ends up with many being injured.

I suppose that filter masks are good but I hate them and seldom wear one. On the other hand, I also smoke and worked in jobs with a lot of nasty dusty things at times and still made it to 66.

Maybe because I'm too fucking ornery to die yet. But when I do start falling apart I don't want to be saved so it should save the taxpayers a fair amount of money.

I just fucking want to get dead and be done with it. Death isn't much of a concept to an omnipresent spirit anyway, it's just something for monkeys that are afraid to die to fuss over.

Demeur said...

Jim - You need to remember they didn't use a lot of safety stuff when I was growing up. Kids didn't wear helmets and there weren't seatbelts in cars until the 60s.

Snave - As I recall we were actually taught safety (bike car etc) in grade school somthing they don't teach anymore.

SW - I guess I'm a bit more safety conscious because I've seen first hand what happens when a worker doesn't use common sense or use safe work practices. There are a few in my profession who don't bother at all with safety. I stay away from them. And yes they are card carrying republicans.

Holte - SW's right let em move to Alaska.

Roger - I guess the people in NY develop hard heads after age 14. The sad thing there is that you know that guy will cause an accident and walk away without a scratch and think nothing of it.

Billy - I agree. I wouldn't use and angle grinder without a dead man's switch but now they put an extra release button on them that in my opinion makes them more dangerous.
What amazes me is they haven't required masks for concrete dust yet. That stuff will kill you faster than most chemicals. Remember that if you have to saw cut concrete. Always keep it wet.

BBC said...

I've always tried to keep it wet, he he he.