Health, Safety, and Compensation
Posted on November 13, 2008 by pacificyorkshirebird
OK, Americans are king when it comes to lawsuits. Let’s just acknowledge that for a minute. But what is going all with all of this Health & Safety and Compensation stuff?
Let me be clear what I mean. I believe fully that when our fellow humans are in need and there is plenty to go around, then we should certainly share. I also believe that anyone who has been victim in an accident of any kind should receive care and attention to make sure they are ok. And any efforts should be made to prevent accidents from happening. And if they have lost out on pay from work or incurred costs because of the accident then yeah, lets try to make this right.
But can this go too far??? Have you seen that tv commercial about “restoring the balance” so that all can be right in the world if you’ve had an accident and “you just didn’t deserve this!”
Yesterday at work, my colleague bumped her head on a cupboard. It really hurt and quite rightly she sat down, tried to relax for a minute, and had some water. The next thing out of her mouth was “Lets get that accident report form filled in.” Four hours later we were discussing the incident with our boss and filling in some of the paperwork that we couldn’t do without our bosses help. My colleague immediately sought to clarify every little thing about the form “in case anything comes up in the future and I might need compensation.” My boss’ immediate response was “If you think there is any possibility that your injury could have anything to do with future problems, then you should be in A&E right now.”
So… off she went. I went with her and we sat for several hours waiting for her to be seen, and then be reevaluated an hour later just to make sure they hadn’t missed anything. In the end she went home with a piece of paper explaining minor head injuries and that this should not have any future effects for her. I’m relieved for her. I care about her, consider her a friend and would never want her to have anything like this happen in the first place.
But it left a sour taste that she needed to document the case immediately and that she even said the word compensation.
It’s one thing to pay out a lot of money for something only to be let down or feel misled and cheated, and want your money back. It’s another thing to feel entitled to compensation every time something isn’t completely perfect. Maybe you had to queue too long for something that you’d already paid for. Or maybe you had a bump on your head that nobody wanted to happen, and that couldn’t have been prevented. Should money make this better?
Fears about the compensation culture make people like me who work with the public, fearful of everything we say and do. This fear has stopped me from putting several ideas into action, and it makes my ability to try to help people in a practical way a lot harder.
Perhaps the practice of ”Health and Safety” should be changed to “Health, Safety, and Compensation”. Afterall, isn’t that part of what it is all about?