Western Courier

Safety policies are helpful but also harmful

Jason Adams, Courier Staff

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As we learn more about safety and health risks, we are seeing more and more health and safety practices.

We’re seeing it now in business, medicine, sports and even retail. Most safety measures are meant to promote safety and encourage people to be healthier and avoid injuries. But with all the good they do, there are negative consequences that go along with them, as well.

One of the biggest pushes of safety that we are seeing on a weekly basis now is in the NFL. The NFL has been promoting more and more safety policies over the years as new issues arise and the league is rampant with criticism. A lot of rules have been implemented following issues or concerns from the community. It started with tackles leading with the head being banned to prevent concussions and neck injuries, which was a safe move by the league. Many retired players have developed head injuries after retirement from tackles leading with the head, so this was a good policy all around.

Some of the later policies were a little more questionable. A lot of criticism that the NFL received in the last couple years is that some of their safety policies aren’t in the best interest of all of the players, but only specific ones. After a quarterback suffered a leg injury while being sacked, the NFL made hitting a quarterback below the waist a penalty. Last year when Aaron Rodgers was hurt when a defensive player fell on him, they made a new rule that defensive players couldn’t put their weight on quarterbacks when tackling them. While these are policies that promote safety, they cause more issues than solutions. Bigger defensive players have a harder time adjusting and stretching their bodies to avoid making an illegal hit. One major defensive player in the league has already torn their ACL trying to make the hit and is out for the season. These policies prioritize specific players and actually put other players in risk of injury. Safety policies shouldn’t prioritize specific people while putting others at risk. If a policy puts others in a bigger risk of injury, it’s not really a safety policy at that point.

Another big problem that we see in the business and work industries is the combination of safety policies and the legal terms. Some safety policies aren’t necessarily for promoting safety, but for covering the company’s bases. Some retail stores have policies that recommend that employees come early to their shift and stretch if they may be doing heavy lifting. That way, they can make the argument that if the employee gets hurt at work and didn’t do the stretches, the company is not responsible for paying medical bills. These policies aren’t meant for employee safety at all; employees shouldn’t have to come in before their shift to do anything if they’re not clocked in. If they are doing something for the company and it is encouraged by the company, they should be getting paid for it.

While safety policies are supposed to help people, they need to be fixed so they actually serve their purpose.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Safety policies are helpful but also harmful