Humans are Risk Takers

May 06 2015
By: Terry L. Mathis

Human nature involves risk taking; every human takes calculated risks on a daily basis. Safety is about removing risks, and thus competes with human nature. We can address this by trying to change human nature or by increasing the capacity to calculate risks more accurately. Very few people know even the approximate probability of the risks they take or which risks are more likely to result in an accidental injury.

Organizations should analyze their accident data, not by body part most injured or injury category most common, but by which precaution has the potential to prevent the most injuries. This data should be methodically shared with every employee to shape their perceptions of risks and focus their safety activities. If this does not happen, individual perceptions of risks will vary by personal experience and knowledge of accident data, and will not result in maximum focus and directed effort.

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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