Devil's Advocate

January 19 2020
By: Terry L. Mathis

Negative people are often referred to as pessimists or devil's advocates because they dwell on what might go wrong. In safety, this can be a positive rather than a negative. We call it hazard recognition or hazard identification. By considering what could go wrong and how it could happen, we can take the proper precautions to prevent it from happening or the proper recovery steps What Not to Do to minimize the severity when it does happen.

Interestingly, this thinking does not just apply to potential injuries. It applies to any kind of outcome you want to avoid. Some people accidently get hurt, accidently take the wrong job, or marry the wrong spouse. Looking out for undesired outcomes is a process we should use in every endeavor in our work and lives. Live safe!

Terry L. Mathis

Terry Mathis, Founder and retired CEO of ProAct Safety, has served as a consultant and advisor for top organizations the world over. A respected strategist and thought leader, Terry has authored five books, numerous articles, videos and blogs, and is known for his dynamic and engaging presentations. EHS Today has named him one of the '50 People Who Most Influenced EHS' four consecutive times. Business leaders and safety professionals seek Terry's practical insight and unique ability to introduce new perspectives that lead to real change.

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