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Bolt from the blue or facing the fin?

Eurest | Being safe |  01 November 2012


From the moment we wake we judge risk — from the likelihood the toothpaste will squirt down your front to whether it’s safe to cross the road.

But being human can get in the way of accuracy and we often make the wrong call. Which is why, when asked what’s most likely to kill us on a visit to the beach, we’d nearly all plump for the shark over a lightning strike.

Uh-oh. Generally, your chances of being struck and killed by lightning are approximately 1 in 3million (National Geographic, 2005). Throw in the beach scenario and lightning’s attraction to the tallest thing around in an open space, the odds get worse, and you’re looking exposed out there with nothing but a towel and a great pair of sunnies to protect you.

To be precise, the odds of being eaten by a shark are 1 in 251,800,000 — which makes the lightning frazzle over eight times more likely. Got that call wrong then. But it’s part of being human.

The pressures involved in making the right risk assessments in a work context take the stress the individual feels and ratchets it up into the stratosphere. In fact, it’s too much for one person to shoulder alone. You need to get your people to unite to create — and live — a safety culture, a way of thinking that embeds sensible risk assessment and protective practices into your organisation’s DNA.

It needn’t be something you do alone.

We put health and safely at the heart of everything we do. As a supplier, it’s in our interests to be constantly vigilant and legislation-compliant; it’s something you can rely on. And, because we know universal awareness is the best guardian of health and safety, we welcome every opportunity to help you draw your people into the process.

So leave the weird world of sharks and bolts from the blue and join the common-sense revolution.

And did you know..?

‘Bolt from the blue’, meaning a sudden happening, comes from lightning’s ability to travel horizontally approximately 16 kilometres away from the centre of the thunderstorm to strike in an open space where the skies are blue?

Ispitzner (2010) ‘Judging Risk — Sharks versus the Vending Machine’, SANS Securing the Human, 13 September [online] (Accessed 11 November 2012).

National Geographic (2005) ‘Flash Facts about Lightning’, National Geographic News, 24 June [online] (Accessed 22 November 2012).

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