Risk and Freedom

mikeymo
Posts: 1391
Joined: 27 Sep 2016, 6:23pm

Re: Risk and Freedom

Postby mikeymo » 14 Sep 2020, 2:24pm

mikeymo wrote:I always wear a helmet when I'm cycling. They should definitely be mandatory.


I've changed my mind. They definitely shouldn't be mandatory. I thought it might put an end to these discussions, but it won't, will it? Instead we'll just have lots of protests about "freedom", and a few brave martyrs going to the gallows for refusing to wear the blasted things.

Jdsk
Posts: 2499
Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: Risk and Freedom

Postby Jdsk » 14 Sep 2020, 2:26pm

Mike Sales wrote:I think that if helmets work, it should be easy to tell. Certainly benefits "too modest to capture" are not good enough to force us to wear them.

The existing studies might be too weak to show even a large effect, especially in particular settings or for particular groups of riders.

Jonathan

Sorry: I previously misattributed this quote.

Mike Sales
Posts: 5192
Joined: 7 Mar 2009, 3:31pm

Re: Risk and Freedom

Postby Mike Sales » 14 Sep 2020, 2:39pm

What the studies clearly do not do is provide justification for mandating helmets for all.
The claims of unlikely high rates of saving lives are certtainly untenable. Rates as high as 85% have been claimed!
Goldacre and Spiegelstein go through the problems in detecting efficacy.

Helmet laws also seem to discourage cycling.

Mike Sales
Posts: 5192
Joined: 7 Mar 2009, 3:31pm

Re: Risk and Freedom

Postby Mike Sales » 14 Sep 2020, 2:41pm

mikeymo wrote:
mikeymo wrote:I always wear a helmet when I'm cycling. They should definitely be mandatory.


I've changed my mind. They definitely shouldn't be mandatory. I thought it might put an end to these discussions, but it won't, will it? Instead we'll just have lots of protests about "freedom", and a few brave martyrs going to the gallows for refusing to wear the blasted things.


You are perilously close to a confession here.
May we return to the more general discussion?

mikeymo
Posts: 1391
Joined: 27 Sep 2016, 6:23pm

Re: Risk and Freedom

Postby mikeymo » 14 Sep 2020, 2:50pm

Mike Sales wrote:Goldacre and Spiegelstein go through the problems in detecting efficacy.


Spiegelstein? Who he?

Come on now, as President of the Fan Club, I'm surprised at such an error. I wonder why you substituted that particular suffix.

Mike Sales
Posts: 5192
Joined: 7 Mar 2009, 3:31pm

Re: Risk and Freedom

Postby Mike Sales » 14 Sep 2020, 3:00pm

mikeymo wrote:
Mike Sales wrote:Goldacre and Spiegelstein go through the problems in detecting efficacy.


Spiegelstein? Who he?

Come on now, as President of the Fan Club, I'm surprised at such an error. I wonder why you substituted that particular suffix.


You have certainly chosen to comment on an important part of my post!
Is that all you can find to say?

mikeymo
Posts: 1391
Joined: 27 Sep 2016, 6:23pm

Re: Risk and Freedom

Postby mikeymo » 14 Sep 2020, 3:08pm

Mike Sales wrote:
mikeymo wrote:
Mike Sales wrote:Goldacre and Spiegelstein go through the problems in detecting efficacy.


Spiegelstein? Who he?

Come on now, as President of the Fan Club, I'm surprised at such an error. I wonder why you substituted that particular suffix.


You have certainly chosen to comment on an important part of my post!
Is that all you can find to say?


It's significant that you've misspelled the name of somebody who you so frequently quote as supporting your own opinion. That change from "halter" to "stein" isn't a simple typo, is it? It's not as though you just got the i and the e the wrong way round, a keyboard error. Every single one of those characters is incorrect, and there are no pair reversals. And the fact you substituted "stein" is interesting.

Maybe your conscious mind is not as in control as you like to think. Here, let Sigmund help you:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freudian_slip#:~:text=A%20Freudian%20slip%2C%20also%20called,or%20internal%20train%20of%20thought.

Mike Sales
Posts: 5192
Joined: 7 Mar 2009, 3:31pm

Re: Risk and Freedom

Postby Mike Sales » 14 Sep 2020, 3:11pm

mikeymo wrote:
Mike Sales wrote:
mikeymo wrote:
Spiegelstein? Who he?

Come on now, as President of the Fan Club, I'm surprised at such an error. I wonder why you substituted that particular suffix.


You have certainly chosen to comment on an important part of my post!
Is that all you can find to say?


It's significant that you've misspelled the name of somebody who you so frequently quote as supporting your own opinion. That change from "halter" to "stein" isn't a simple typo, is it? It's not as though you just got the i and the e the wrong way round, a keyboard error. Every single one of those characters is incorrect, and there are no pair reversals. And the fact you substituted "stein" is interesting.

Maybe your conscious mind is not as in control as you like to think. Here, let Sigmund help you:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freudian_slip#:~:text=A%20Freudian%20slip%2C%20also%20called,or%20internal%20train%20of%20thought.


Still trying to evade the subject.
If I imagined Spiegelhalter to be a Jewish name and so stumbled, what do you think that tells you about the murky depths of my psyche?

pwa
Posts: 12735
Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: Risk and Freedom

Postby pwa » 14 Sep 2020, 3:23pm

mikeymo wrote:
pjclinch wrote:
pwa wrote:The logic of this line of thought is that PPE should be removed from all situations in order to make people more aware of their exposure to danger. Building sites, for example. Make them safer by banning hard hats and steel toe cap boots! Except that would be ridiculous because building sites have been getting safer, not more dangerous, as the use of PPE has increased. I'm guessing, but I'd suggest that is more down to safer practices all round, rather than the PPE itself. But it does show that safety can improve alongside increasing use of PPE. It does not have to be the case that PPE stops people thinking about other safe practices.


Building sites are, by very definition, unfinished. Because they are unfinished they are inherently less predictable places than most, and combining that with lots of serious machinery makes them relatively dangerous places. Why wear a hard hat? there might be low scaffolding bars at routine head-head in places with no lights installed yet. Why not bother in the finished building? Because the roofs are all 8 feet up and the corridors are well lit.
If you look at risk management systems they place PPE at the bottom of the pile and they put engineering the risks out higher up. On a building site it's harder to removed the risk with engineering because you haven't finished doing the engineering yet, so you've brought up a false equivalence. Another place where everyone routinely wears PPE is potholing and caving. Why not re-engineer the caves? Because then you'd destroy the very thing you wanted to experience. Having said that you'll find discreet recessed bolt hangers for ladder & rope anchors because they have minimal visual and environmental impact and they do give you predictable places to hang your lines. But everyone will wear wellies with steel toe caps and hard hats.

PPE does have its place, but that place is where you can't reasonably tackle the main risks in other ways.

Pete.


As a matter of interest, have you spent much time working on building sites?

I have and a lot of the time the PPE makes no immediate sense. Like having to wear safety glasses while planting shrubs around a newly constructed old folks home because somewhere else on site somebody might be drilling something. And a hard hat too, with no scaffolding in sight and only the birds above. The PPE can be a nuisance in circumstances like that. BUT my point is that safety on building sites has improved markedly in recent decades, with PPE use insisted on. The PPE has not been the main driver of this improved safety. The main driver has been the creation of a safety culture with every activity risk assessed and conducted with safety in mind. People have not been putting on PPE and thinking that is all they need to do for safety. If they had been doing that the PPE might actually have been counter-productive, making people feel safe when they are not.

mikeymo
Posts: 1391
Joined: 27 Sep 2016, 6:23pm

Re: Risk and Freedom

Postby mikeymo » 14 Sep 2020, 3:58pm

pwa wrote:
mikeymo wrote:
pjclinch wrote:
Building sites are, by very definition, unfinished. Because they are unfinished they are inherently less predictable places than most, and combining that with lots of serious machinery makes them relatively dangerous places. Why wear a hard hat? there might be low scaffolding bars at routine head-head in places with no lights installed yet. Why not bother in the finished building? Because the roofs are all 8 feet up and the corridors are well lit.
If you look at risk management systems they place PPE at the bottom of the pile and they put engineering the risks out higher up. On a building site it's harder to removed the risk with engineering because you haven't finished doing the engineering yet, so you've brought up a false equivalence. Another place where everyone routinely wears PPE is potholing and caving. Why not re-engineer the caves? Because then you'd destroy the very thing you wanted to experience. Having said that you'll find discreet recessed bolt hangers for ladder & rope anchors because they have minimal visual and environmental impact and they do give you predictable places to hang your lines. But everyone will wear wellies with steel toe caps and hard hats.

PPE does have its place, but that place is where you can't reasonably tackle the main risks in other ways.

Pete.


As a matter of interest, have you spent much time working on building sites?

I have and a lot of the time the PPE makes no immediate sense. Like having to wear safety glasses while planting shrubs around a newly constructed old folks home because somewhere else on site somebody might be drilling something. And a hard hat too, with no scaffolding in sight and only the birds above. The PPE can be a nuisance in circumstances like that. BUT my point is that safety on building sites has improved markedly in recent decades, with PPE use insisted on. The PPE has not been the main driver of this improved safety. The main driver has been the creation of a safety culture with every activity risk assessed and conducted with safety in mind. People have not been putting on PPE and thinking that is all they need to do for safety. If they had been doing that the PPE might actually have been counter-productive, making people feel safe when they are not.

I mostly agree. "Culture of safety" is the right phrase. And quite often that culture changes, in part, because of enforcement of one sort or another. Construction is famously macho, and even 30 years ago we had to nag like hell to get workers, especially the younger "tough" ones to take it seriously. The old ones, not so much, as they had frequently seen a thing or two.

Although it's not the same domain, I would argue that changes in attitudes to social equality have happened in part because of legislation, anti-discrimination laws, same-sex marriage etc. If people get used to the idea of a man and his husband, same sex relationships become a little more normalised. Similarly, if people see PPE being used, even if sometimes its usefulness is doubtful (often dependent on the exact use case) a culture of safety, the idea that safety is important and needs thinking about, develops. So a lot, or maybe even most, of the time, even if a particular item of PPE isn't actually reducing risk, if it doesn't actually do any harm, then using is still better than not, because it contributes to a culture of safety.

I agree with you about helmets. I left construction in the early 80s, and haven't worn one since. Well, apart from at the Albert Hall (clang!), and that was for comic effect, at the request of Bonnie Langford (double clang!). Most of the sites I worked on, both as a labourer and as an engineer, were flat open civil engineering sites, with not much to fall on me. Though I enforced helmet wearing on the occasions we used explosives. Some of the occasions when helmets were useful (confined spaces) were actually also when standard issued site helmets were a damned nuisance, and something like climbers helmets would have been better.

I'm not sure I'd agree with you about safety glasses. I've got things in my eyes when I wouldn't expect to. I had to go to hospital to get a particularly stubborn spec of gypsum plaster out when I was labouring for a plasterer. Small things can come at you from the most unexpected directions.

The thing about much of the PPE used in construction is that there are many examples of downsides that counter the upsides.

Eye protection stops things going in your eyes, but also limits visibility, sometimes a lot, if the glasses are old, scratched or prone to misting. That in itself may introduce more risk*.

Helmets increase height, and in cramped spaces enough to make movement difficult.

Masks make breathing uncomfortable and I feel that they increase body temperature (don't know if that's true).

Ear protection means you can't hear. Which is both a pro and a con. Though having now developed mild tinnitus I wish I had paid more attention to what I already knew was a risk in the music industry. And if there had been a law, and it had been enforced, I wouldn't be cursing myself.

I still do some work around my house, and if I have the full kit on, safety glasses, anti-cut gloves, ear defenders, heavy jacket, I do sometimes think - "blimey, this is a bit claustrophobic". But I do it, because I think on balance I'm at less risk.

*As an aside, when I saw the very high price of some cycling glasses, I got a job lot of dirt cheap safety glasses from Screwfix. Which I use when I'm out cycling and there's a lot of beasties about.

mikeymo
Posts: 1391
Joined: 27 Sep 2016, 6:23pm

Re: Risk and Freedom

Postby mikeymo » 14 Sep 2020, 4:03pm

Mike Sales wrote:Still trying to evade the subject.


Yes, you certainly are.

Mike Sales wrote:If I imagined Spiegelhalter to be a Jewish name and so stumbled, what do you think that tells you about the murky depths of my psyche?


I'll leave that to you to consider.

mikeymo
Posts: 1391
Joined: 27 Sep 2016, 6:23pm

Re: Risk and Freedom

Postby mikeymo » 14 Sep 2020, 4:17pm

pwa wrote:People have not been putting on PPE and thinking that is all they need to do for safety. If they had been doing that the PPE might actually have been counter-productive, making people feel safe when they are not.


Exactly.

If the boss tells you you've got to wear this mask while cutting this asbestos cement pipe, it might give you the idea that asbestos cement is injurious to health. If the handing out of the mask is accompanied by a short presentation about lung disease, with graphic video of a patient struggling for breath, the message becomes even clearer.

If the boss gives you a hard hat to wear because you're going to the part of the site where bricklayers are working overhead, it might remind you that sometimes bricks, or more likely bits and bats, fall. So that not only do you wear a hard hat to protect your head, you consider what a half bat would feel like if it landed on some other part of your anatomy, so you give scaffolded parts of the site a wider berth.

Those are two very plausible examples of where PPE, far from encouraging "risk compensation" have exactly the opposite effect, of increasing hazard awareness. Because for the life of me, I can't remember an occasion when somebody on site put a hard hat on, then went and stood under the brickies, shouting - "come on lads, let me have it, I've got my hard hat on, you can't hurt me".

mikeymo
Posts: 1391
Joined: 27 Sep 2016, 6:23pm

Re: Risk and Freedom

Postby mikeymo » 14 Sep 2020, 4:59pm

Jdsk wrote:
Mike Sales wrote:I think that if helmets work, it should be easy to tell. Certainly benefits "too modest to capture" are not good enough to force us to wear them.

The existing studies might be too weak to show even a large effect, especially in particular settings or for particular groups of riders.


The existing studies most frequently quoted to support anti-helmeters' opinion don't study the effect of cycle helmets on safety. They study the effect of legislation. A statute is not the same thing as a helmet.

Cyril Haearn
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Joined: 30 Nov 2013, 11:26am
Location: Leafy suburbia

Re: Risk and Freedom

Postby Cyril Haearn » 14 Sep 2020, 5:16pm

mikeymo wrote:Interesting cover to the professor's book (the one referred to in the very first post in this exposition). I wonder if he does seaside postcards in his time off.

Indeed, one might find it in bad taste

Not what one might expect from someone who is apparently a respected expert
..
I nearly always wear safety shoes with steel toecaps, is there a danger of risk compensation?
Entertainer, intellectual, idealist, PoB, 30120
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
We love safety cameras, we hate bullies

mikeymo
Posts: 1391
Joined: 27 Sep 2016, 6:23pm

Re: Risk and Freedom

Postby mikeymo » 14 Sep 2020, 5:29pm

Cyril Haearn wrote:I nearly always wear safety shoes with steel toecaps, is there a danger of risk compensation?


Yes. I regularly throw myself into bailing machines when I'm wearing steel toecaps.