At What Point Does Safety Become Overly Intrusive?

by Phil LaDuke on January 16, 2014

in Health,Phil LaDuke

At What Point Does Safety Become Overly Intrusive?

By Phil La Duke on his blog Phil says:

key holeCompanies are beginning to recognize that the lifestyles of workers while off-the-clock can have profound influence on the company’s bottom line. More and more safety professionals are trying to push employees to take safety home, and from smoking cessation programs to increased co-pays for workers who have risk factors employers are taking a much more active interest in employees’ home lives. In this week’s post I explore the line between employees’ freedom and employers’ rights to control costs. I hope you will give it a read and let me know what you think.


With the rising costs associated with healthcare, an aging workforce more likely to require treatment for chronic illness, and the simple fact that people in good physical condition tend to injured less severely than those who are out of shape organizations are increasingly able to argue that what you do on your own time is indeed their business; but is it?

Off-the-job injuries often spill over onto the job and create sticky situations.  A worker how twists his ankle in a pickup game may claim the injury happened at work, or a worker who, eager to get home to weekend fun, may twist his ankle at work and not recognize the severity of the injury UNTIL the pick-up game.  Ergonomic injuries can be exacerbated by daily home activities, and even if the injury doesn’t ever cross over into the workplace, a worker crippled doing yard work is still a valuable resource lost.


  • Mark

    Dave – This article adds further awareness to the fact that society in general is dumbing us down and making us more stupid. Slowly, every day there is another restraint added to our liberties. Safety professionals, being the piggy in the middle, are becoming (being shaped) to be more the protectors of profit, or as you say “the bottom line” in many companies, then they use the “we want you to be healthy” slogan as a way for us to make sense of it. Companies are already looking into social media networks to find the real you, governments are already using the free flowing information available in the world wide web to shape us. There is no going towards anything like independence.

    Below is a “ramble” I once wrote.

    We lost our Smart – by Mark Donnelly

    Somewhere along the line, I was told that humankind was an essential part of this worldly evolution process, and that we all had a small part to play. Many philosophers have argued about this thinking for years, debating if we are on a pathway towards some sort of intellectual and spiritual point, and if we are heading towards some sort of flawless perfect design.

    Well, as I am getting older, I am beginning to have my doubts about us in general, about me in particular. I was beginning to wonder if I am slowly getting more stupid as I get older, and in line with this thinking, I wondered if mankind, such as I, was also getting more stupid as it aged. I jumped on the world wide web to see if I could find anyone else that was feeling the same way as me…there they were, lots of stupid people asking if anyone else felt like they were getting more stupid as they got older.

    I said to myself after reading these questions, in which the writers seemed to be expecting, even wanting, some smart doctor to reply back saying; “No, you are not stupid, stay positive, you’re just going through a stage”, too which your would reply is…What Stage!. My un-posted reply that I wanted to write, but didn’t, after thinking about my dilemma and all those other stupid people with the same progressive dementia was this “You were always stupid”, it is just now that you have reached an age where you are now more ‘wise’ and thus now have a better understanding to know that you were always stupid, that everyone is stupid.

    I’m 40, and for some reason my speech is going, I’m beginning to stutter and I cannot even remember an ending to a movie I had seen some 10 times before. So I’ll take side with the fact that I must be getting forced dementia; most likely from being knocked out too many times, that’s a good enough excuse, because I don’t want to believe that I was always stupid.

    So I ask, in some inquisitive way…Can this be said for mankind as a whole?

    Everywhere we turn are signs displaying how not to hurt ourselves and people telling us how to live our lives. There are celebrities telling us how to become healthy, wealthy and also how to live a more fulfilled life. There are books explaining how to win the lottery through some mathematical equation that you cannot even understand. There are also all those fad diet campaigns that are basically telling you…in a polite kind of way, to eat less and exercise more, you stupid lazy so and so. Any product we purchase that uses electricity comes with a 100 page instruction booklet that devotes its first 99 pages to the various ways we might injure ourselves. My wife’s hairdryer has a warning label on it that says; DO NOT hold hairdryer to close to your face, and it also advises that you should never use the hairdryer while taking a hot bath…I’m not sure why it says that, but I’ll take note and make sure I won’t do that in the future!

    We are afraid of too much sun, and also the lack of it. Clean filtered tap water and white sugar, and there is no way I’m eating butter. We are still not sure if Tea is better than Coffee, so I myself drink milk, yes, the diet milk that is actually just watered down by taking stuff (fat) out to give it a lower fat content. We somehow believe through a 30 second TV commercial that a magnetic bed underlay will fix our lower back problems that have chronically occurred from years of hard laborious abuse, and or from a bad accident that required the fusion of 4 vertebrae. We give out our personal information freely to anyone in hope of winning the grand lottery or a even a $2 gift, and we continue to keep buying all those true story autobiographies, written by someone else, about how a person made it in this world and how they became monetarily successful and falsely happy, in hope that we can someday follow in their footsteps and write a “how to become” book as well.

    We spend 50% of our healthy lives (healthy is an average I calculate based at any time before 65 years old before you spend the rest of your life in and out of hospital or old age facilities) in the education process, working in jobs we mostly don’t like, but have to so we can eat and buy all those things we don’t really need…but the Joneses say we do. 10% of our time is spent travelling to and from work, preparing for work and or worrying about work. 30% of time is for sleeping…for which you never really get enough of, and 5% for eating. If you don’t have any relatives or children to worry about that would take up the last 5%, the remaining 5% if left trying to get some time on your own , which is easily used up to do to laundry and mowing the lawn.
    Are we really becoming flawless, or are we becoming stupid? The question is out and I am going to give my theory in to why we are stupid.

    Many thousands of years ago, we humans were progressing in great leaps and bounds. We had developed glorious civilizations that created unbelievable works of art and architecture. We knew how to produce sugarless and preservative free food in great abundance. We invented mathematics, and even learned to chart the stars. We also invented greed, war and genocide, but this could be called too much thinking. We were moving fast. At that time, most people were extremely smart. Back then, the average IQ would have shown almost everyone to be a genius, with only a thin sliver of the population exhibiting mental flatness. We were, perhaps, on our way to becoming flawless entities.

    Then one day, something bad happened. God got worried that we were becoming a mistake and he decided to create a little flood to wipe out 99.9% of air breathing animals including us humans. He only told one man about this flood and his name was Noah.

    Noah, along with his family, were all quite stupid in the grand scheme of things, they were part of this thin sliver of the population exhibiting mental flatness. Noah at the age of over 400 years old listened to Gods warnings about what was to come and followed Gods directions on how to build a massive boat. Maybe God could not find anyone else to believe his story of this coming flood and that only a stupid man would devote his labour to such an uncertain cause. Anyway Noah, just before the flood, and after many years trying to tell people to head for higher grounds, spent…”a few days” travelling the world in search of loving pairs of air breathing animals to put on this great boat. The ones he could not get to were told by God to travel to the boat, not sure why God did not just tell all the animals to head for the boat anyway (in an orderly way of course).

    Anyway, the flood came to everyone’s surprise while Noah was excitingly yelling “I told you so, I told you so”. Everyone went outside to investigate the rising water. All those intelligent humans that did not listen to a stupid old man named Noah. All those curious smart people stood, watched, and debated. But it was too late and in an instant, all of the smart people had drowned.

    Meanwhile, huddled inside a homemade boat was stupid old Noah and his family and lots of animals and insects; including sand flies, ticks and bed bugs!.

    Thousands of years have passed since that flood, and here we are, over seven billion of us, all descendants from that one family of stupid people who went on to invent such things as sky diving, gambling, 60hr plus work weeks, TV, computer games, fast food, mobile phones and celebrities.

    Back before the flood we used to navigate using the stars, today most of us cannot even read a map and now need a computer to tell them where they are going.

    We cut down a hundred acres of forest to build another suburban estate, and then we ask why we have possums in our roof at night and flying foxes eating all our fruit. We listen to sport stars who live in 20 room mansions and who drive Holden HSV V8s tell us how we can reduce our carbon footprint. We spend our time watching reality shows about other people living their lives, then wonder why we aren’t any smarter than a fifth grader.

    This morning, I read the five-day weather forecast in the local newspaper and it said the following: Partly sunny, with some cloud about, chance of a storm, but mostly fine, a northerly wind with a chance of a change in direction and a possible high tide. Each came with a 40 to 60% chance of happening. In other words, we’ve found many different ways of saying that it might rain and it might not.

    I guess, this is how we missed the turn for that quest of flawlessness and why we are getting more stupid. And yes, I am getting more stupid as I get older just like the rest of us, but it’s OK, because just like Mr Noah was once yelling out, “I told you so, I told You so”…I too will be yelling it out in years to come when that presence we call God tries to wipe us out again with something like the…“The Great Drought” only then to be replaced with a new family of smarter humans.

    Anyway,I have already built my balloon big enough for one person to survive the drought until the rains return again to green the pastures and fill the lakes.

    By the way; the weather forecast for tomorrow says there’s a fifty-percent chance of some rain, so take an umbrella and pack the sunscreen.

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