Thursday, December 13, 2007

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

I've mentioned before that I'm a safety professional. I think I've also mentioned that after seeing some of the really dumb-ass things people have done to hurt themselves I'm beginning to believe I'm doing humanity a disservice and that maybe we should practicing the "natural selection" approach to safety sciences. You know, remove the safeguards and allow the, uh, slowest members of the herd to fall where they may. If we could just guarantee they'd whack themselves BEFORE they reproduce.

For instance:

He was changing planes in an airport in Germany when he was told by security that the TWO pints of Vodka he was carrying exceeded the allowable amount of liquid. Seems he REALLY did not want to give it up. So he chugged it. Then immediately went into a staggering stupor which proceeded quickly to alcohol poisoning. With the possible exception of Tequila Mockingbird I know of few who would not suffer from alcohol poisoning after chugging a liter of vodka. He did recover however since he is 64 years old he probably already has reproduced therefore there is little net effect on the gene pool.

Of course we all know there is one safeguard that will never be removed from our lives. It is a safeguard that is in place not because of sincere concerns that someone will get hurt, not because of moral or ethical responsibilities, not because of a desire to save mankind and make the world a better place. No, these safe guards are in place because corporations are scared to death of losing their asses in product liability lawsuits. I am of course talking about Warning Signs and Labels.

The reason I'm bringing this up is that I discovered a new website this morning. The Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch, M-LAW, holds an annual contest to find the wackiest warning sign or label. This year's winner: "Danger! Avoid Death."

The list of finalists with photos can be found at My personal favorite is the one on the baby stroller. Just when you thought it was safe...


Mike said...

I used to work for a former division of GE. My God almighty, those people were out of control when it came to "safety". There were so many signs on any given machine that if you actually read them all, you couldn't possibly do any work.

I once told the guy in charge of safety that we needed a sign saying that all these signs can be hazardous. Needless to say, he didn't have a sense of humor about it because he threatened to write me up for not wearing proper hearing protection.

I told him it was not a problem since I wasn't listening to anything he said anyway.

Still, he didn't laugh.

Bruce, a work in progress said...

Yeah, safety guys traditionally don't have much of a sense of humor. Fortunately I'm an industrial hygienist as well as a safety guy. The traditional difference is that the IH wants to help solve the problem and keep you working safely. The safety guy wants to respond with lights & siren and write tickets. I'm both so I'm very confused - I'll hug you before I shoot you.

Malach the Merciless said...

"Do not place child in plastic bag" is one of my favorites. Blame the lawyers

Kitty said...

There are some quite splendid signs in Austria, around the town of 'Fucking'. Apparently British and American tourists are given to stealing the signposts, because for them they are objects of immense humour. The local mayor was reported in the newspaper as saying he wished people would stop stealing all the Fucking signs.

:-) x

Tequila Mockingbird said...

hot. thanks for knowing i could chug that shit and then fly the plane afterwards.

Bruce, a work in progress said...

Yeah Mal, kinda makes you wonder. Of course the kids will stay fresher in the plastic bag.

Kitty too funny. There's a town here in Pennsylvania called "Intercourse". Same type of thing.
My wife and I went on vacation to St. Lucia several years ago. There were what we call speed bumps on the road to the resort. The cab driver got a chuckle out of us making him stop so we could take a picture of the sign that said "Hump Here".

TM, I have faith in you darlin'. I believe in you.

Anonymous said...

I think some people eat a whole bowl full of stupid before they do things!

Colonel Colonel said...

The other thing is, corporations do nothing to help themselves. I once had a neighbor who worked for a major manufacturer of cleaning chemicals. He was in charge of the office that wrote checks to people who were suing them. He said the Legal Dept. always told him to cut a check for any claim under $5000, no matter how stupid the claim was- it was cheaper than court.

For instance- a woman put drain-cleaning fluid in the party punch? Write her a check. Man varnishes a floor in a closed room using a varnish labeled "DO NOT USE AROUND OPEN FLAME" in red and yellow letters 6-inches high, then steps back into the doorway and lights a cigarette... write him a check.

Sometimes Stupid is a two-way street.

Bruce, a work in progress said...

Prepon, as long as they're getting their fiber.

Col, I couldn't agree more. Of course it doesn't take too many billable hours for a lawyer to get to $5,000 so it may not be the company's fault. Plus in some instances you have other considerations. When I lived in FL I heard tell frm friends that MouseWorld did the same kind of thing. If somebody fell off the tram in the parking lot and got a minor injury there would be a dark suit with a checkbook and free passes there in a matter of minutes. Image was more important to them than the money.

Hungry Mother said...

A new RV is so loaded with warning signs all over the inside and outside, that I'm half afraid to get in it, much less drive it down the road.

Bruce, a work in progress said...

HM, nothing like setting out on a nice relaxing RV vacation getaway to soothe the nerves.

moooooog35 said...

My favorite one is on the cans of compressed air that you use to clean computers and sh*t like that.

If you tip it upside down, freon comes out.

On the back of these cans, they have a circle with a line through it (don't do THIS):

The picture is of a guy holding the can upside down, with the straw going into his ear.


When I want to clean my ears out, I immediately go for the compressed freon.

Tequila Mockingbird said...

i'm glad you had faith in me even before you saw the sweater.

Bruce, a work in progress said...

Moog, I use a drill bit with steel wool wrapped around it.

TM, I never doubted you for a minute.