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"Beware of the tiger" - Man's first safety's rule

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- "Safety rules are a nuisance. They restrict you from doing what you want to do the way you want to do it." "The person who wrote safety rules must have been an old fuddy-duddy who couldn't stand to see people having fun!" "

What you just read or what you might think about safety rules being annoying are myths. Safety rules were written with the splinters of human bones dipped in human blood. They came from the lessons learned from the mistakes of others. They were written to help save lives. 

Early mankind loped around during prehistoric times with no safety rules. But when they noticed an orange, furry animal with black stripes hunting and eating their spouses and children, they certainly must have thought,  "That beast is not our friend," which was followed by the realization of  "That beast is our enemy!" 

Soon came the first safety rule: "Beware of the tiger." 

The first safety rule might have included blowing a whistle whenever a tiger was sighted - to make sure other humans knew the enemy was near. People were probably annoyed  when they first heard the whistle, because they had to stop whatever they were doing and climb a tree or crawl under a rock. But  the tiger soon lost an easy source of food and the human population began to flourish.
Early man quickly concluded that  the lion, too, was an enemy and instituted another safety rule and another whistle. 

People who were once  annoyed at having to run for their lives now realized why they were running. They also realised there were fewer instances that they endured the loss of loved ones. This may have been the first safety   "Making Memories, not Memorials" campaign.

The  tragedy about safety rules is they were slow in being implemented. People had to be eaten by lions and tigers before the rules were set into place.

How much nicer would it have been if our  ancestors had been born with an instinct that told them lions and tigers were dangerous? How many lives could have been saved by this knowledge? 

Also, how much better would it have been if the person who invented the grinding wheel realized the dangers of the wheel and  displayed a big sign over it that said: "Wear goggles when using this machine." But since that isn't the way safer working environments usually happen, countless eye injuries resulted  between the invention of the grinding wheel and the hanging of the safety sign.

Most of us know that if you don't wear goggles while operating a weed eater, 99 times out of 100 nothing happens. However, since there is one in a hundred chance that a rock might sling up into your eye, doesn't it make sense to wear goggles? Personal protective equipment (PPE) is not there for the 99 percent of the time when nothing happens - it's there to protect you during the unexpected one percent. It doesn't matter what the laws of probability state, the risk is of losing eyesight is too great. 

In applying the prehistoric tiger theory of safety, "the tiger" today is now any event that is potentially dangerous. With this in mind, the best Operational and Personal Risk management rule of thumb is - Do not do anything dumb, dangerous, or different! Under pressure you revert to what you are familiar with, so if you learn to "be aware of the tiger," you  react accordingly and this helps prevent mishaps. 

Appropriate use of risk management increases the ability of an organization and individuals both to accomplish the mission, whether it's flying an airplane in combat, loading a truck with supplies or just driving home at the end of the day. Never forget "the tiger" roams everywhere in our global jungle, waiting to pounce on unsuspecting victims. 

Finally, any form of deviation or complacency in your life is usually the weak link in the accident sequence. With continued global deployments, every Airman is affected everyday. Our job as Air Force  professionals is to pre-plan contingencies, call safety knock-it-offs or time-outs. This enables the enforcement of safety rules so the accident chain-of-events can be broken. The last thing anyone wants to face in a contingency is not being prepared or having inadequate resources to handle the Global War on Terrorism. 

The Air Force needs everyone's unique talents to make the mission happen. The person who gains the most by following any safety rule is you! Don't let "the tiger" get you. "Beware of the tiger!"
- Article written with safety information provided by www.webworldinc.com