IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTIFICATION
I work at a major government laboratory where the motto is "The world's greatest science, protecting America". I am writing to you today about an urgent matter of national security. It isn't alternative energy or nuke detectors at our ports - it's SAFETY ON STAIRS.
On the way up to the cafeteria, I touched the stair handrail without even thinking about it. Two young, eager office toadies greeted me at the top. They gave me a candy bar with an important public service message attached: "SOS- SAFETY ON STAIRS. HR DIVISION THANKS YOU FOR USING THE HANDRAILS!!"
This seems like a misguided joke. What are the odds that the candy bar might make my heart explode? How many people scratched their butts before touching the handrail which I touched before touching my pizza? I can't balance the infinite microscopic risks - they boggle my mind! I demand a focus group. I want experts with $100,000 taxpayer-financed salaries to come up with a thousand new rules to protect me from myself.
Actually, in trying to control all the little risks, we fall to the biggest risks: losing perspective and losing our edge. The Department of Energy already burdens the labs with so many beaurocratic distractions that it hinders our mission of protecting America. What's next - will we have to get "stair safety certification training" before we can work on those shipping container scanners?Nathan Currier
When we asked for permission to reprint his letter here, Mr. Currier added:
In fact, the lab is so proud of this program they even did a press release for it: