Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Capital Punishment and SMS?

Capital Punishment and SMS?

Is there proof that Capital Punishment deters murders in our society? In the same vein, we can simply substitute SMS for capital punishment and accidents for murder. Both concepts share a mutual misconception. There are many studies to determine the effects of capital punishment as a deterrence but, the overwhelming concluding fact is….We simply don’t know. Why don’t we know?  The data used in ALL studies of capital punishment is the “Murder rate.”  The murder rate is only shows “one side” of the metric. Until we can measure the “un-murder” rate of the cases where murder was NOT committed and then tie that into the capital punishment factor, can we have a true picture of the “Success” or “Value” of the practice.
Capital Punishment a deterrent to Murder

The same correlation exists with Safety! How do we measure the success of a Safety Management Systems?  The most common methods employed by regulators and Government entities is to simply monitor the “Accident” or “Incident” rate. But, don’t we have the same problem described in the capital punishment argument? How many “non-accidents” accidents did our Safety Systems prevent? If we are just measuring the accident rate then we are simply looking at one side of the data.

I do agree this comparison of capital punishment to SMS is flawed in many ways. First, in Safety we do have hazards, practices, cultures , human factors that we can examine. These are “causes” we directly link to accidents or incidents. We can eliminate the “Swiss Cheese” holes so to speak.

Goal of Safety Systems 
So as we examine the success or failure of a Safety Management System, how do we measure the result? Many companies use the “Zero injury” model. But, is zero injuries a result of a successful program or just luck? It is a difficult task to assign a success metric to a Safety Program. So what is the conclusion? Do we do nothing…absolutely not. We must use all the tools available to control hazards and abnormalities that lead to accidents and incidents.

In SMS we have the tools to examine the reasons behind or leading up to accidents. Root Cause Analysis helps us to identify the, (Machines, Materials, Manpower, Methods and Environments), that can contribute to accidents. These inputs are known as the “Deming Factors.”  Wouldn’t be prudent if society can use the same methods of RCA to examine why murders occur. In that way, we may be able to at least prevent some murders…..but then again how would we know if it works?

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