Field Safety in Uncontrolled Environments: A Process-Based Guidebook
“Adventures, of course, are always associated with exploration. Yet they are the one thing which a real explorer tries to guard against. My favorite quotation is Stefansson’s dicutm: ‘Adventures are a mark of incompetence.’ It says so much in a very few words. It means that if you have an adventurous expedition you did not prepare yourself adequately. Adventures are a nuisance. They interface with work... If the explorer has a clear-cut problem to solve and an honest desire to do something really worthwhile he will prepare against adventures.”
Although some degree of risk is inherent in every human activity, a primary goal of all field activities should be the safety and health of participants and staff. Those who sponsor, organize, and participate in these field activities have a responsibility to promote and support safety while achieving their technical, educational, or business objectives.
No one goes into the field with the intention of getting injured or killed. Most accidents, at root, result from a loss of perspective, a narrowing of focus, or developing tunnel vision: “I only wanted to get abetter look at the rocks by climbing up the cliff/leaning out of the boat/leaving the trail.” “Yes, people get hurt doing_, but it’s not going to happen to me.” It’s like driving down the road only looking ahead but never left, right, or behind—most of the time we get away with it, but such tunnel vision leaves us vulnerable to accidents. And, unfortunately, when an accident happens, it happens with such suddenness and severity that it breaks a person’s life in two forever, into “before” and “after.”
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