A False Sense of Security

Mental Health, the Workplace and You
October 2, 2017
Safety Isn’t Just for Construction Sites
January 24, 2018

A False Sense of Security

2013 No-gi world jiu jitsu champion, Eduardo Telles, with the author

It is unfortunate that humans have not developed to the point where we don’t need practical self-defense, but the reality is there are people out there looking to to others harm. Schools and classes and seminars teaching self-defense are abundant, as are online videos showing a variety of self-defense moves. If you follow the self-defense moves in many of these videos, such as this one, you too can be lulled into a false sense of security.

Wait a minute, I hear you saying, isn’t this a blog about safety?

Looking at self defense from a safety standpoint, the hazard is being attacked, and the inadequate hazard controls are the poorly thought out self defense moves. I have studied martial arts since 1991 and have a black belt in wing chun kung fu, and a blue belt (hopefully a black belt one day) in Brazilian jiu jitsu. It looks like I should know a bit about self defence, but I don’t. I don’t get into fights because I usually dispatch my opponents with my rapier sharp wit. I do not consider myself an expert in self defense, but I do know a critical piece of information about self defense: training with a compliant partner in a controlled setting, is a lot different than performing a self defense move against an angry attacker.

Here is a decent contrast between “fantasy” and reality in self defense. The video quality is a bit poor, but the message is on point; Self Defense Reality.

Realistic Practice

Let’s get back to safety…in safety, a false sense of security is when an inadequate control is used to mitigate a hazard. The inadequate control may work once, twice, or several times, but it works because of luck.

If you’ve taken H2S Alive training, you’ve had to put on a breathing mask (SCBA…like SCUBA, but without the “U”), and you’ve probably had to do this in a classroom surrounded by a few dozen colleagues in a fairly mundane setting. If you’ve done this, ask yourself how things would be different if you were trying to don the SCBA with an alarm shrieking in the background and knowing your co-worker has been knocked down by H2S. It’s the same SCBA you used in the classroom, but in wildly different scenarios.

Another example…I’ve taken fall protection training, and I’ve used that training a lot. I’m comfortable putting on a full body harness and tying off to an appropriate anchor point. I’ve also taken bear awareness training. If I’m approached by a bear, I’m fairly certain I won’t be able to identify its intention, whether it’s a black, brown, or grizzly bear, and I’d probably spray myself with the bear spray…but I have a certificate that says I’ve successfully completed the bear awareness training. If I had to use that training on a daily basis and reviewed the content every day, I think I’d feel a bit more confident.

Ask Yourself

Is there anything on the jobsite that might give you a false sense of security?

Have you taken any training that might give you a false sense of security?

What can you do to make sure that you are actually prepared to use the training you received, when the sh*t hits the fan and you are approached by a bear or the H2S siren goes off?

We’d love to hear your stories about when you’ve put your safety training into action. Contact us with your stories!

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