Whenever there’s an accident—whether someone is killed, or a child breaks a teacup—somebody is sure to ask, “How did it happen?”
The answer should always be the same—it didn’t happen. Somebody, or several somebodies, caused the accident.
Accidents don’t just happen. They are caused. And the cause is almost always that some person or persons fell down on the job somewhere along the line.
Suppose you fall on the stairs in your own house and break a leg. That didn’t just happen. There was no little demon waiting to trip you. Something made you fall, and that something was the result of an action of some person, or the failure of some person to act or observe. In the case of your leg, you are that person.
Chances are the fall was your own fault. Maybe you were in a hurry and took the stairs faster than you should. Maybe you had a few beers. Maybe you were trying to carry an awkward load that put you off balance. Maybe your eyesight is bad, and you haven’t bothered to get proper glasses.
But maybe somebody else did something to cause the accident. Maybe Junior left his roller skates on the stair or mom left a mop bucket. Maybe the carpet was torn or the banister was broken, and no one in the family bothered to fix it. Maybe the light was poor, and you hadn’t gotten around to installing a good light.
It’s just this simple. Not every dangerous act produces an accident. But no accident is ever produced unless one or more factors are involved.
Sometimes we kid ourselves by thinking, “Well, everything is just right, so l can break the rule, because it won’t produce an accident in this case.”
That kind of thinking is just what produces all those deaths you hear about from so-called unloaded guns. A person is sure that the gun doesn’t have a bullet in it. But sometimes he is wrong about its being unloaded. This is why the old safety rule about guns says, “Never point a gun at anything you don’t want to kill.”
In your daily work, you know the safe way to do the job. Just remember that if you always do your job that way, you’ll never be the person who caused an accident.
It’s a good idea to take stock once in a while by asking ourselves: Do any wrong attitudes apply to me?
1. Selfishness—the “me first” attitude responsible for so much lack of consideration for others, commonly referred to as discourtesy.
2. Self-importance—the idea that “I’m too big for rules; they apply only to the other guy.”
3. Overconfidence—“I’m good. I don’t have to be careful. I know it all.”
4. Chance-taking—the “live dangerously” concept, sometimes involving great faith in luck (“It can’t happen to me”).
5. Fatalistic attitude—“you go when your number is up, and what you do doesn’t make any difference.”
6. Hostility a constant “unfocused” feeling of anger towards others, resulting in an attitude of aggression.
7. Attitude of inferiority—“I won’t be pushed around.”
8. Competitive “trying to get ahead”—to beat the other fellow.
9. Unconscious self-destruction—an attitude frequently noted by psychologists, a need to injure one’s self.
10. Horseplay—showing off.
11. Pleasure in destruction—a personality maladjustment in which pleasure is derived from destroying things.
12. Transfer of guilt—creating situations in which blame can be placed on others, thus relieving feelings of guilt on the part of the instigator.
13. My safety is not a core value to me.