CMU School of Drama

Saturday, May 06, 2017

The 21st Century Safety Paradox As a research psychologist for NASA, Steve Casner spent decades analyzing how pilots think and helping turn those findings into safety protocols for the aviation industry. A few years ago he found a new calling: making the whole world safer.

Collecting decades of personal anecdotes and global tragedies, loads of safety data and even more common sense, Casner has authored Careful: A User’s Guide to Our Injury-Prone Minds


Julien Sat-Vollhardt said...

In a strange and circuitous way, this article deeply offends me and my entire lifestyle. The people who know me will surely let you know that I am not exactly a daredevil, I don't do extravagantly dangerous things just for kicks. But neither am I overzealous in my own personal safety. A disclaimer here, I know that many people don't share my lifestyle choices and I absolutely respect that, I never, and will never put anyone in danger. However I do believe that, experientially, there are many times when risking a small amount of my personal safety is very much worth it. To live life at its fullest, to complete projects to the fullest, I don't believe it is possible to be 100% safe all the time. It is not reasonable, nor is it feasible for one to live in a bubble of caution for every hour of the day, and I must add, it makes for a very dull and boring life. I prefer personally to spice things up, to jump fences, to solder without a gas mask, to use rubber cement without full PPE. I wear my seatbelt, I look both ways before using a crosswalk, but I don't let a fear of the insignificant things that could hurt or kill me bother me in any way at all.

Julian Goldman said...

This makes a lot of sense. People are trained to use the tools/ equipment they use at work, but no one trains you to use something you picked up from Home Depot. I think often theater has a lot of the risks associated with home injuries because we use a lot of tools and materials borrowed from other industries that we know just enough about to make them dangerous. I suppose we just have to be more conscious about knowing when we don’t know enough and making sure to look into the risks of the tools, materials, and processes we use.

That aside, I also think the idea of general inattentiveness comes with us being so used to everyday dangers we don’t see them as dangerous anymore. Intersections stop feeling dangerous when you cross them everyday even though they are. I think the only solution is to not let ourselves be lulled into a false sense of security.

Sarah Boyle said...

He says that things are changing from don’t run with scissors to don’t text while driving. However, I feel like that happened a while ago. There are highways signs put in by municipal governments to remind people and T.V. commercials about the devastating effects that can come from texting while driving. That isn’t a question of knowing that there is a danger, or necessarily even of being reminded of that danger, but caring. The issue with multitasking is that we think that we can do more, we think that we understand the situation or that our word is not that dangerous. It’s very different advising pilots about safety than the general public, because it is very obvious that your life is at risk as are the lives of others. And that’s not just a general others around you, but the specific people in your plane. I think that the problem would be convincing the general public that always being in super safety mode (without a threat of being fired if you don’t) is not a boring and paranoid way to live.

Emma Reichard said...

It’s interesting to explore the psychological aspects of safety. Because I really do think so much of safety seems to come from the workplace side of things, but rarely do we talk about safety in our personal lives. I know here as students at CMU we tend to only think about safety in terms of our time on crew and working in the shop. But then we’ll go back up to 33 and be using exacto knives at 3 am and running around like crazy. The article also made a good point that feeling safer due to some outside precaution can make people more reckless. I know I’ve caught myself being a little more reckless with the table saw because I know it’s a saw stop. But then I have to remind myself that either way I should be equally as careful. I hope in the future we develop methods and techniques for bringing our workplace attitudes about safety home with us at the end of the day.

Helena Hewitt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Helena Hewitt said...

Interestingly, just yesterday a group of TDs, including myself, were doing a podcast in which we discussed an article on workplace injuries. The consensus among the entire group was that, while we would never make someone else do something unsafe, our lack of regard for our own safety allows us to do things that we probably shouldn’t. But do we consider that by doing something unsafely and putting ourselves in danger, we are probably also putting the people around us in harm’s way? Therefore, we have to rely on those people to recognize that we are being unsafe and together we can keep each other safe.
I found Julien’s rather interesting: that while he would never put other people in danger, he doesn’t want to confine himself to living in a safety bubble. But what I feel this article is pointing out, right from the start where it describes Casner as an adrenaline-seeker, is that you shouldn’t have to choose. I think we have it stuck in our brains somewhere that we can either be “fun” or be “safe” but I think by using proper equipment and nurturing a safety conscious attitude in your support system, we can have both. And furthermore, because I don’t want to be a hypocrite, and I am the first person to jump into the bed of a truck or climb down a rock face with no harness, I think the most important element, when it comes to taking risks like that, is to be aware that what you are doing is inherently unsafe and who you might be affecting in the process so you that can proceed in at least the safest and most conscious way.

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