SAFETY SOLUTIONS: Would You Risk Your Employee's Life?
This is a question I ask each of my clients. The paramount
problem I have encountered with some
clients is being asked to overlook unsafe conditions
that put people’s lives in danger.
How much is a life worth, if it does not include you or
your family member? I was reading a story that was written
by Steven E. Landsburg. He stated that; “Economists
measure the value of a life by people’s willingness to pay
for safety. Suppose you’d willingly cough up $50,000—
but no more—to shave one percentage point off your
chance of being killed in an accident. Then (except for
some technical adjustments) we infer that the value of
your life is 100 times $50,000, or $5 million.”
That’s a useful measurement because it bears directly on
policy decisions. Take the decision of how much to spend on
fire safety. Should a town of 100 people spend $6 million on
a piece of equipment that is likely, over the long run, to save
one life? Not if a life is worth only $5 million. Buying the
equipment means forcing the average taxpayer to spend
$60,000 for a level of safety that’s worth only $50,000 to
him or her. Economists summarize that reasoning by saying,
“It makes no sense to spend $6 million to save a life that’s
worth only $5 million.” What we really mean is: “Let’s not
force people to buy more safety than they want to.”
I have been working as an expert witness and the same
issues come up. The attorney that hired me said, “If you
see something while we are out there, do not say anything
that will hurt our case.” Was that attorney worried about
another person being injured or was he/she just worried
about losing the case? Here is another question for you.
Would you risk a 6 year old child’s life or a 3 year old
child’s life by letting them be exposed to a hazard? Not if
it was your child, but what about others?
If you visit my website you will find that I went undercover
for Fox news on the hazards of people being injured in retail
stores by merchandise falling on them. I investigated many
large companies and found that most of the stores were
unsafe and people were being injured every year. Recently I
read this story, Monday, July 24, 2006 (Indianapolis):
A mirror at the retail store Wal-Mart fell on a three-yearold
boy, killing him.
Christopher Antonio was apparently playing near the
1.50-metre floor-mounted mirror in the children’s section of
a Wal-Mart in Indianapolis when it fell. The toddler was most
likely killed by the blunt force of the crash,” said Marion
County Sheriff’s Lt Michael DeHart.
“The mother was approximately five feet away from the
child when she heard a loud crash,” DeHart said. The boy’s
five-year-old sister was also at the store. Wal-Mart was
cooperating with investigators, said Jolanda Stewart,
spokesperson for Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart
Stores Inc. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family
and the matter is under investigation,” she added. (AP).
Would you believe that over two years ago, I found the
same hazards in these stores in Minnesota? What will it
take for companies and people who work for these companies
to care enough to do something to ensure that
their establishments are safe? Next time you visit one of
these large stores go to the furniture department and
take a look at the merchandise on the shelves. Did the
store secure it from falling off the shelf and injuring your
Unfortunately, many new clients have stopped hiring me
because I am not willing to risk my client’s safety or some
employees’ life and they are not willing to spend the
money to correct hazards.
I will make this offer to you for being a reader of our magazine.
Our company will provide you up to one hour of
phone technical safety support to answer any of your questions;
all we ask is once we identify the problem, you correct
it so others may be spared from being injured. I can be
reached through the magazine or you can contact me
jpodojil@ podojilconsulting.com. Till next month, stay safe.
For more information, click on the author biography at the top of this page.