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Liliana Oszlanyi
Critical Thinking
Dr. James
Essay 2
Health and Safety: a Misunderstood Notion in Hungary

Hungary is one of the saddest countries in the world. Citizens of the country are so
frustrated by their past and present that they cannot build a happier future. They detect
problems, eat their hearts out and then accept the disadvantageous consequences instead of
trying to change things. This frustration becomes visible in connection with their attitude
towards rules as well. For a Hungarian, rules are to disobey them just like in the case of
occupational health and safety rules. Even though, there are not so reasonable rules as well,
most of them are actually vital for safe work and must be obeyed completely.
Occupational health and safety classifies risks under three groups: there are physical,
biological and chemical risks. Obviously, not all of them are relevant at one place but the
basic ideology that human health and safety comes first as opposed to materials must be
applied in every case. Health and safety regulations were not created and are not checked to
make work harder to execute but to protect personnel. The following examples are taken from
a construction site and exemplify the lack of critical thinking or common sense among
everyday settings.
On the personal level the issue also consists of three factors: the employee, the
employer and the authority. It is the employees duty to observe the rules, whereas the
employer has to provide all the necessary equipment that enables employee to do so and last
but not least the authority has to check how well the employee and the employer do. If
everybody obeyed all the rules, nobody would ever get hurt. As people do get hurt and do die
on construction sites the question emerges: Why do they neglect this area of their job?

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Let us start with an extreme example: A World War II bomb was found by workers
during excavation on a construction site in Budapest. The work was immediately stopped by
the Health and Safety Coordinators, who acted according to their responsibility. Bomb
disposal experts were called and almost the whole territory had to be evacuated. Fortunately,
no one got hurt due to the appropriate and immediate actions. Later on one of the workers said
the following to the Coordinators: You can be absolutely sure, that we will not let you know
if we find something suspicion next time. We are two days behind the schedule because of
you. Reactions like this are shocking and unintelligible. These workers risk their lives just
for work and seemingly they do not think of their families and children. It is assumable that
all they have in mind is retaining their jobs which is basically their way of taking care of their
families. They lack the abstract way of thinking, they cannot see the possible chain of events
so the actual seriousness of an incident like this remains unrecognized by them.
Employers often act contrary to their own interest: they risk their physical well-being
and neglect safety to keep their jobs and to please their boss. There are other reasons for
disobeying rules. Most of the people working at construction sites are poorly educated thus
sometimes workers cannot interpret the rules properly. Their educational heritage also
defines their attitude towards occupational health and safety. In vocational secondary schools
the usual approach to health and safety is carelessness: You should use safety goggles while
cutting, but we are going to do this without them. If they were brought up professionally to
obey rules, the vast majority would execute work phases properly later on.