Common Sense: the Mythical Beast
Published by CME Manitoba on February 08, 2017
In the past, when accidents and injuries were accepted as a cost of doing business, there was a mythical beast that was called “common sense”. This mythical beast was used to excuse the lack of understanding, leadership and training of all who were a part of the working land. This mythical beast would prey upon the vulnerable worker and would be used when the worker was not aware of the risks that their tasks exposed them to. When people were injured while doing their daily tasks that they had not being trained on, given knowledgeable leadership or understanding of the possible risks, the person in charge of leading the worker would state that they should have known better because of the beast called “common sense”.
One day a shining beacon named safety culture came along and taught the working land that no one was safe until people were not assumed to know this mythical beast called “common sense” and that everyone in the land must be taught to assess the risks, understand the hazards, and build the controls to ensure they understood what they were being exposed to. They also were taught that asking questions and learning from others was an acceptable way to slay the “common sense” beast.
The moral of the story: don’t assume that people know just because someone else knows. Assume they don’t and give them the tools and leadership to ensure that the “common sense” beast no longer is allowed to rear its ugly head. Remember that the only the only people that may have common sense are conjoined twins because they are joined and are forced to experience the exact same things in life. There is common knowledge and common experience, but there is no common sense.