Fragility and Fallibility

September 12 2022
By: Shawn M. Galloway

My wife was recently in Las Vegas for a long weekend to celebrate one of her sister's birthdays. The first evening, after a great experience seeing the Blue Man Group performance, stepping from the curb in high heels to enter an Uber, she stepped wrong, fell, and broke her ankle. Having spent this past week helping her get around our home in Houston using her new hands-free knee crutch and scooter, I have a new appreciation for the importance and fragility of our ankles.

According to NSC's Injury Facts⍰, 42,114 people died in home and workplace falls in 2020. As a result, ´slips, trips, and falls´ are a common workplace safety topic. As long as humans roam the earth, we can't prevent all undesirable events from occurring. That doesn't mean we should stop trying and advancing. We should do everything we can to build capacity to prevent unwanted outcomes. If we believe all injuries are preventable, we don't focus enough on developing sufficient responses to an injury or other deviations from expected outcomes occur. Thankfully, others have. My home is now full of mobility devices, and trips to receive physical therapy are part of my wife's future.

We must never forget that humans are not just fragile; we are also fallible. We must also do everything we can to build capacity to prevent injuries and help the injured recover and return to the state before the event.

"To err is human, to forgive divine." — Alexander Pope

"The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry." — Robert Burns

"Anything ever written needs a disclaimer." — Michael Whone






Shawn M. Galloway

Shawn M. Galloway is CEO of the global consultancy ProAct Safety. He is a trusted advisor, professional keynote speaker, and author of several bestselling books on safety strategy, culture, leadership, and behavior-based safety. He is a monthly columnist for several magazines and one of the most prolific contributors in the industry, having also authored over 700 podcasts, 200 articles, and 100 videos. Shawn has received awards and recognition for his significant contributions from the American Society of Safety Professionals, National Safety Council's Top 40 Rising Stars and Top Ten Speakers, EHS Today Magazine's 50 People Who Most Influenced EHS, ISHN Magazine's POWER 101 - Leaders of the EHS World and their newest list: 50 Leaders for Today and Tomorrow, Pro-Sapien's list of The Top 11 Health and Safety Influencers and is an Avetta Distinguished Fellow.