You’re probably not expecting to have an accident today

The Community Against Preventable Injuries (CAPI) (www.preventable.ca) is a grassroots charity that aims to raise awareness and encourage safer behaviour from the public in British Columbia, Canada.  As the website states:

“Each year, some 27,000 British Columbians are hospitalized and around 1,200 of us die from injuries that could have been prevented. These injuries devastate lives and, at over $4 billion a year, they place one of the largest burdens on our health care system and provincial economy.”

The site provides information on how to prevent injuries, as well as a blog detailing the local initiatives that are taking place, with two recent initiatives focusing on preventing cycling injuries through the wearing of helmets, and preventing drowning during the summer months.

“Preventable injuries don’t *just* happen to us. They’re inadvertently caused by us. Often, because we did something without thinking. The good news is, we’re the ones who can prevent them. Changing our thinking is a simple first step.”

It’s a sad truth that we assume bad things only happen to other people, of course until they happen to us (by which time it is too late).  To encourage people to change this way of thinking, CAPI have various campaigns that use slogans such as “You’re probably not expecting to drown today” printed on beach towels and placed on beaches around British Columbia, or “You’re probably not expecting to need a helmet today” printed on cycle helmets.  It is hoped that these campaigns will make people stop and realise the absurdity of the statement – since you can never know that you will be injured in the future, the only way to prevent that injury is to expect it and take steps to mitigate the risks, such as wearing a helmet or life jacket. 

Is this methodology practical in the workplace as well?  Certainly from an occupational safety point of view, this can be applied to the use of ladders (“you’re not expecting to need someone to hold this ladder today”), fire doors (“You’re not expecting to need to escape a fire today”), stairs, etc., but can it also be applied to maintainance or control rooms, etc.?  It would be interesting to hear from companies that have implemented anything like this in their workplace. 

See www.preventable.ca for more information.

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