Bob Lapidus, CSP, CSMS

Have you heard people say that there is no such thing as an acceptable risk and no such thing as an acceptable loss in the workplace?  I have.  Such comments are said with deep sincerity.

I think it is a wonderful theoretical proposition, and one that I would love to achieve, but in our complex world it is highly unlikely to exist except in the most simplistic of work environments.

My premise is based upon the following definitions:

Acceptable Risk (AR) = Your and your organization’s level of safety
Acceptable Loss (AL) = Minor
Unacceptable Loss (UL) = Major
Unacceptable Risk (UR) = Anything that may lead to an Unacceptable Loss
Probability = The odds that a loss will occur

Facing reality, I think that throughout our lives there is risk and loss and there are probabilities for such losses to occur depending upon the circumstances.

I think most of us can handle minor losses (in the workplace we call them first-aid injuries).  We all cut, and we all bruise, and that’s part of the human condition.  Minor injuries can most of the time be handled by first-aid treatment.  We wash off the cut, put on an antiseptic and a bandage, and go about our business.

When it comes to major losses, we need to take aggressive action to prevent them because pain and suffering escalates.  There are jobs in some workplaces that are just plain hazardous.  They pose a risk of severe or fatal injury.  In those situations, it is our duty first of all to take action to prevent injury and secondly to mitigate injury if the occurrence takes place.

My motto has become:

Make correct safety performance matter on a moment to moment basis.

I follow that up with a slogan that has been around for some time:

Mission First, Safety Always

Our goal needs to be to prevent unacceptable loss by preventing the taking of unacceptable risks.

For More Information:
To become part of discussions on topics like the one above, go to to obtain information about Safety Center’s Safety Management Specialist Certificate.

After completing this nine-day program, graduates may take the exam to achieve the Certified Safety Management Specialist (CSMS) designation. Recipients of the CSMS receive a beautiful plaque and become part of an elite group of safety specialists who have achieved this recognition.  Once this certification is attained, successful candidates keep it for the rest of their lives without any additional requirements or fees.

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