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Feel Unsafe … To Be Safe

The blame game began in full force. The tragic incident at the AMRI hospital deserved it.

Some of them sounded as follows …

“When government hospitals don’t work private ones come in and of course they chase only profitability …. Where are the safety inspectors … Government is busy spending on commonwealth to bother about spending on health care … Safety inspectors are so lowly paid that they are easily bribable … The character and morality of the country has gone to the dogs … Doctors and staff were so selfish that they left the patients without any help … Police had asked for basem

Not sure what the helpless patients could have done to save their lives during the AMRI fire. But what could the staff have done? Why was the staff lax about safety measures? There must have been a safety officer. Why has he been careless right through?

The answer is not just in better compliance, vigilance and policing. Of course these infrastructural issues must be resolved for better safety.

In the meanwhile though, the bigger problem to solve is the overconfidence that seemingly safe environments breed in us.

The problem with safety is – The more safe you feel the more unsafe it becomes.

From a neuroscience perspective, our brain has a sort of Risk Thermostat. As the feeling of safety grows, the more adventurous and careless we get.

Refer to the news a few days back on accidents on the palm beach road, in Vashi (greater Mumbai). One of the best roads in Mumbai. But again. One cannot escape the stupid thermostat. We compensate for the goodness of the road with over-speeding. The result. About 100 accidents on that road in the last 12 months with 19 fatalities.

And to break this anomalous risk thermostat, there isn’t any thing better than the feeling of being Unsafe. Constant reminders of unfortunate possibilities. Ala the airline industry. Everyone wears the seat belts, without much complaining. More importantly, we haven’t been on a flight that hasn’t demonstrated safety measures.

The best thing to happen to potentially dangerous environments, is the sense

One case where we have successfully been able to apply this thinking and achieve great results is in the work we did in Mumbai to reduce trespassing deaths on Mumbai rail tracks.

Need to make many more places in the world Feel Unsafe … To Make them safe!

Picture Source: indiatimes


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