“People are SO Stupid”: Horrible Comments on LinkedIn
How many people have seen those videos on LinkedIn and Facebook that show people doing really dumb things at work? It seems recently LinkedIn is just full of those types of videos. I’m sure it has something to do with their search algorithms that target those types of safety posts toward me. Still, there are a lot of them.
The videos themselves don’t bother me. They are showing real people doing unsafe things or accidents, which are happening every day in real life. What REALLY bothers me are the comments that people post under each video. Again concentrating on LinkedIn, people are commenting on how dumb people are, or how they wouldn’t put up with that, or “stupid is as stupid does!”
Here are a couple examples I pulled up in about 5 minutes of scrolling through my LinkedIn feed. Click on the pictures to see the comments that were made with the entries:
These comments often fall under several categories. We can take a look at these comments as groups
“Those people are not following safety guideline xxxx. I blame operator “A” for this issue!”
Obviously, someone is not following a good practice. If they were, we wouldn’t have had the issue, right? It isn’t particularly helpful to just point out the obvious problem. We should be asking ourselves, “Why did this person decide that it was OK to do this?” Humans perform split-second risk assessments all the time, in every task they perform. What we need to understand is the basis of a person’s risk assessment. Just pointing out that they performed a poor assessment is too easy. Getting to the root cause is much more important and useful when developing corrective actions.
“Operators were not paying attention / being careful.”
No kidding. Humans are NEVER careful for extended periods of time. People are only careful when reminded, until they’re not. Watch your partner drive the car. They are careful much of the time, and then we need to change the radio station, or the cell phone buzzes, etc.
Instead of just noting that people in the video are not being careful, we should note what safeguards were in place (or should have been in place) to account for the human not paying attention. We should ask what else we could have done in order to help the human do a better job. Finding the answers to these questions is much more helpful than just blaming the person.
These videos are showing up more and more frequently, and the comments on the videos are showing how easy it is to just blame people instead of doing a human performance-based root cause analysis of the issue. In almost all cases, we don’t even have enough information in the video to make a sound analysis. I challenge you to watch these videos and avoid blaming the individual, making the following assumptions:
- The people in the video are not trying to get hurt / break the equipment / make a mistake
- They are NOT stupid. They are human.
- There are systems that we could put in place that make it harder for the human to make a mistake (or at least make it easier to do it right).
When viewing these videos in this light, it is much more likely that we can learn something constructive from these mistakes, instead of just assigning blame.