A Unifying Principle for a Researcher Learning Safety: Reduce Uncertainty!

2018-03-07T19:44:13Z (GMT) by Camilla Kao Russell Furr
Conveying safety information to researchers is challenging. A list of rules and best practices often is not remembered thoroughly even by individuals who want to remember everything. Researchers in science thinking according to principles: mathematical, physical, and chemical laws; biological paradigms. They use frameworks and logic, rather than memorization, to achieve the bulk of their work. Can safety be taught to researchers in a manner that matches with how they are trained to think? Is there a principle more defined than "Think safety!" that can help researchers make good decisions in situations that are complex, new, and demanding?<div><br></div><div>Effective trainings in other professions can arise from the use of a mission statement that participants internalize as a mental framework or model for future decision-making. We propose that mission statements incorporating the concept of <b>reducing uncertainty</b> could provide such a framework for learning safety. This essay briefly explains the definition of <b>uncertainty</b> in the context of health and safety, discusses the need for an individual to <b>personalize</b> a mission statement in order to internalize it, and connects the idea of <b>greater control</b> over a situation with less uncertainty with respect to safety. The principle of reducing uncertainty might also help <b>non-researchers</b> think about safety. People from all walks of life should be able to understand that more control over their situations provides more protection for them, their colleagues, and the environment.</div>