Why Safety Deserves a Capital S



By Gordon Dupont. System Safety Services

Have you ever noticed that the names of people, cities, countries, months, days and important places all start with a capital letter?  Titles, car types and most abbreviations for words are honoured with a capital.  In short, we tend to use capitals to denote important words.

So why not a big, for all to see capital S for Safety?  The only logical answer I can find is that it is not traditional to do so.   If that is the case then it’s time we updated the tradition.

Why shouldn’t Safety have a capital S?  It has never been so important as now with so many lives depending on it.  I’ve given it a capital for years; except when Microsoft word drops it back down to a small s when my back is turned.

I can remember, not that many years ago, when safety was for wimps or mama’s boys as they were called back then because real men just used their common sense to survive and didn’t need silly safety rules to dictate what they could or couldn’t do.  Sure some of those without common sense were killed but it was survival of the fittest and good for the gene pool.  Then organizations like CCOHS (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety) and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), began to make safety rules.  Please note that these Safety organizations were given capital letters but not Safety unless part of the title.

The FAA, CAA, ICAO, TC, etc. also got into the safety business and with regulations and rules untold thousands of lives have been saved but no one thought to recognize safety for the importance in saving lives that it deserves.

I believe that today, safety is an important factor in a person’s life.

Today, they won’t allow you to take a child home from the hospital without a Safety approved car seat.

Lee Iacocca thought he was right at the time, 1971, when he said that “safety doesn’t sell” cars and refused to authorize a $1.00 per car fix to the Pinto gas tank because it would be cheaper to pay out for the odd person who would burn to death in a rear end car crash. (over 500 would suffer that fate in a Pinto rear end collision accident)

But he was very wrong when people realized that the car was unsafe and shortly thereafter they went out of production (1980) even with the fix.  So the Pinto earned a capital but not safety that today sees cars with shoulder harness seatbelts, airbags, collapsible steering wheel, crumple zones, reinforced doors that don’t jam etc. etc.

Today safety does sell and is expected.  Without safety, no company will remain in the aviation business for long.  Thus it is time that Safety receives the importance and respect it deserves.  Safety deserves a capital S.  I, for one will spell it that way and if you are serious about Safety, I urge you to do the same.

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