Posts Tagged ‘mortality’

Ask yourself: Do you feel lucky today?

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Today, we thought we’d focus on risk in the larger sense rather than just in the workplace. This is prompted by our having chanced upon an interesting article by John Goekler, who poses the question, The Most Dangerous Person in the World? Not to offer a spoiler, but he answers this question at the outset of the article, and the answer isn’t particularly surprising: “…unless you’re serving in a war zone, the most dangerous person you’re ever likely to encounter – by several orders of magnitude – is the one you see in the mirror every morning.”
Goeckler lists various mortality statistics, offering some perspective on an individual’s risk. The so-called “lifestyle diseases” top the list of killers, but there are other interesting and surprising factoids about microbial agents and toxic substances. Death by occupational trauma is in his top ten, just after mortality by overdosing on non-steroidal anti-inflammatories and slightly edging out death by foodborne agents. (See also: odds ratio versus relative risk)
His essay is an interesting read and his larger point worth noting: “The things we fear most may be least likely to occur, which means the time, trauma and treasure we invest in them is a complete waste.” He offers this in the context of fear of terrorism, but it could be whatever bugaboo the mass media is hyping at the moment. One of our favorite annual scare stories is shark attacks – the Florida Museum of Natural History offers a helpful guide to The Relative Risk of Shark Attacks to Humans, as compared to other risks.
You’re probably safe from a shark attack, but what about the likelihood of a cardiac event? Use the cardiac risk calculator to estimate your chance of having a cardiac event, dying from heart disease, and your overall chance of dying in the next decade. It’s a handy little tool, and it might be worth sharing with your work force to get their attention on the so-called lifestyle issues that are taking such a toll on us all. Goekler’s article is a good reminder that if you want to keep your workplace safe, focusing on employee wellness may be worth the investment and the effort. Just don’t relax on other areas of safety – we’d like to see that occupational trauma statistic dropping further and further down the list.