Life in general is not without its hazards, but contemporary opinion is united in the belief that safety in the workplace is of paramount importance.

A manager can always ensure absolute safety in any workplace by closing it down. Many managers are now doing just that because some of the physical safety precautions that have been imposed on them make their work slower and more difficult and weaken competitiveness—sometimes for very questionable gains in safety.

For example, one of my former employers could take a process through the labs and onto the plant floor in less than a month when I joined the firm. Then a multiplying clan of safety experts was employed. By the time I left the firm, the process took six months. The safety record was no better and profits were a great deal worse; indeed, the firm was running at a loss. Moreover, the time lost...

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