January 20, 2011

Rules really are monuments, gravestones...

James Kaufman, founder of Laboratory Safety Institute, emphasizes the importance of schools teaching safety and teaching safely. Those who enforce safety rules not only avoid accidents in school but they give their students the skills and attitudes necessary to safeguard their future families and co-workers and "to live safer healthier longer lives."  

In a 2005 interview for Lessons of the 1937 Texas School Explosion, Kaufman emphasized that safety rules and regulations are the lessons we learn from other people’s mistakes and short cuts.  

“What rules really are, are monuments; they are gravestones,” he said. “It’s not that safety people sit up late trying to figure out how to make it take longer and cost more money and irritate the living daylights out of their colleagues. It’s that -- as night follows day --  if you do what those people did, sooner or later, you are going to get the same result.”   Kaufman said his father once asked him, “Jim, what’s the difference between school and life?  Well, in life the test comes first and the lesson comes afterwards.”