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Operating a Dangerous Machine

Imagine if you will a machine that almost anyone can buy and operate. You read the training manual, practice it's use under the supervision of someone who is also a user and has some proficiency of it's operation. Finally, you take a test to see if you too have basic proficiency in it's operation. If you pass, the supervisor lets you use the machine with minimal oversight as you see fit.

Over time, the machine is upgraded with new functions and capabilities. The circumstances that you use it in also change gradually. More machines are present in the area where you work and others use them to do more work more quickly.

Some safety rules are developed for your protection, but they are not always fully communicated to you so that you learn them. In fact, you are allowed to make mistakes or deliberately misuse the machine with only minimal consequences. If you really mess up or make a large number of mistakes you may have to quit using the machine for a while. You don't lose your job or even have to upgrade your skills.

These machines kill one person a day and injure hundreds of others. No one gets too upset unless these people are friends or family, after all, the costs for this are spread over us all and we pay an amount for it each year regardless of whether we cause the problem or not.

If I were actually describing a machine in your workplace you might refuse to use it or go on strike until your employer made safety improvements. Why don't we get excited when the machine is our own motor vehicle?

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