October 06 2019
By: Terry L. Mathis
The first trapeze artists that fell died. They did not intentionally fail but they were occasionally not perfect. Realizing this, the circus put up a net to catch them in case they fell. In safety today we are focused on preventing accidents and are disappointed and frustrated when we fail. This thinking is part of the reason why we have not been as successful at preventing serious injuries as we are in preventing minor ones.
We must realize two truths: 1. Many minor injuries have the potential to be serious injuries, and 2. People will not perform perfectly every time. This means we cannot dismiss all minor injuries as not being SIF significant, and we need to find ways to allow people to fail without getting killed. This means we need to focus on predicting SIFs, not just on preventing them. Prevention is the goal, but prediction is the process that allows us to do so more effectively.
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.