Do you know that your odds of winning the lottery do not change based on the number of tickets purchased? You are playing the odds based on your number selection, not on the number of players participating. Safety works in somewhat the same way. It doesn’t matter how many employees might “forget” to use safety equipment without suffering consequences. All it takes is one employee to forget at the wrong time.
Recently, three tickets split a $1.6 billion California Lottery Powerball prize, beating 1-in-292.2 million odds. As highly unlikely as it was for any one person, let alone three, to hit the Powerball jackpot, it happened. And people are injured every day because they play the odds and lose. What are the odds of an employee going blind because you look the other way when he doesn’t wear a face shield? What are the odds of a fuel cylinder exploding because someone didn’t bleed the regulator when they were through using it?
Since there are living (and dead) examples of people losing the odds, the better question is, “Is the value of my co-workers’ lives so little as to make it OK to play the odds?” It only takes one split second. Don’t risk compromising your employees’ safety, quality of life or life itself to play the odds. Don’t let them take the shortcut or skip the step in the procedure. Don’t ignore the use of personal protective equipment. Don’t risk a life to play the odds.
The Odds of Dying
What are your odds of death by a particular event? The following statistics (2008) from the National Safety Council (www.nsc.org) show the odds of dying within a lifetime from certain selected causes.
• Motor vehicle incidents: 1 in 98
• Unintentional poisoning by exposure to noxious substances: 1 in 126
• Falls: 1 in 163
• Assault by firearm: 1 in 321
• Car occupant: 1 in 368
• Pedestrian: 1 in 701
• Accidental drowning and submersion: 1 in 1,103
• Exposure to smoke, fire, and flames: 1 in 1,344
• Air and space transport incidents: 1 in 7,178
• Exposure to electric current, radiation, temperature, and pressure: 1 in 12,420
• Exposure to excessive natural heat: 1 in 13,217
• Contact with hornets, wasps, and bees: 1 in 79,842
• Lightning: 1 in 134,906
• Bitten or struck by dog 1 in 144,899
• Flood 1 in 558,896
Source: National Safety Council estimates based on data from National Center for Health Statistics
Many of these statistics indicate the odds of dying from events that you have no control over. But when you are at work, you can greatly improve the odds for life by taking control of the work environment and ensuring employees perform the job the right way every time. Beat the odds — make the right choices when it comes to being safe at work and at home.