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Keeping the Alligators Away

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John Olesky, CSP

As a safety specialist I can relate Alligators to Accidents in this article.

We all know that most accidents are caused by a chain of events usually starting with something very minor that continues thru the chain until the somewhat minor things lead to the larger thing the accident. Usually it is not just one thing that causes the accidents and if we as safety professionals can break the chain of events we can prevent most accidents.

Not long ago I went on a trip to the Great State of Louisiana.  As I talked to some of the locals I heard they had problems with Alligators coming into their yards and going after their live stock and pets and sometimes even going after their children.  Several people spoke about this and said that this was a problem but most did not know what to do about it. Then one sweet little ole lady spoke up and said she had a great solution to keeping the Alligators out of her yard - this is what she said.

(Relate this to the Accident chain of events.)

She said “the way I keep Alligators out of my yard is I just stopped feeding the birds”.

We all asked how that could possibly help...

She said “When you feed the birds they scatter the bird feed all over and a lot of it drops on the ground…  then the field mice come in and eat the bird seed that is on the ground… then the snakes come in and eat the field mice… then the wild pigs come in and eat the snakes… then the Alligators come in to eat the snakes and wild pigs…

So just stop feeding the birds and the Alligators will not come into your yard!”

We were all amused and thought this was funny but she insisted it works.

So think about the many little things that we look at when we are doing our safety inspections that seem very minor such as the “bird seed” in this story and then think about the Accidents/Alligators coming...

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