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TALK #19

The Four Horsemen of the (Safety) “Apocalypse”

Many of us are familiar with the Bible story of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as described in the Book of Revelation. The four horsemen appear when the Lamb opens the first four seals of a scroll of seven seals. As each of the first four seals are opened, a different colored horse and its rider are seen by the Apostle John.

When the first seal is opened a white horse appears. Its rider
holds a bow. Scholars indicate this horsemen stands for conquest.

The second seal reveals a red horse, and its rider holds a sword.
Scholars indicate this horseman stands for war.

The third seal reveals a black horse, and its rider holds a scale. Scholars indicate this horsemen stands for famine.

When the fourth seal is opened, a pale horse appears, and it is called death.

So what does this have to do with safety you ask?
The bible story of the four horsemen is ominous in many ways. An adequate comparison can be made regarding the origin of most workplace accidents, which we’ll call The Four Horsemen of the Safety Apocalypse.

Those Four Horsemen are ignorance, carelessness, negligence and greed – four words that provide the common underlying cause for all too many workplace accidents.

1. Ignorance – The employee doesn’t know how to perform a job safely. Maybe the employee is new, or was rushed into a job without the proper training.

2. Carelessness – The employee makes a careless mistake, causing an accident. There are all too many reasons why employees are careless. The bottom line is employees need to keep their mind on their work.

3. Negligence –The employee knowingly performs a task in an unsafe manner. This excuse usually means the employee simply doesn’t want to take the time and effort to work safely. Example – The employee knows he needs safety glasses to perform a certain task, but doesn’t want to walk back to the equipment trailer to get the glasses.

4. Greed – A tight work schedule, or some other similar reason, can cause an employee or supervisor to take a safety “shortcut” and/or perform a task of job in an unsafe manner.

Don’t make The Four Horsemen any part of your day when it comes to working safely.

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