Editor's Note

Editor's Note: No accident?

During the production of this issue of Safety+Health, Copy Editor Bryan O’Donnell and I had a brief but serious conversation about the placement of a comma in a particular sentence. One day later, I took part in a debate with Managing Editor Jennifer Yario and Assistant Editor Tracy Haas regarding the use of a colon versus a period in a news brief. Having learned over the years that punctuation, grammar and word choice are not subjects most people want to discuss at dinner or on a date, I consider myself privileged to work with kindred spirits who are always happy to talk about semicolons or act as a sounding board for one another’s writing.

I wish I had taken greater advantage of this recently, when it was time to create a new “What’s Your Opinion?” poll for the S+H website. The topic was one that I know some people in the safety community have strong feelings about: whether the use of the term “accident” is acceptable.

I struggled to find the right words for the question and the responses, consulted other people, made up my mind – and then second-guessed myself and ended up missing the mark. The poll forces voters to choose between “accident” and “incident” without offering a “sometimes acceptable” option for “accident.” I realized I’d made a mistake almost as soon as the poll went live, but by that time people already had begun voting and it wouldn’t have been right to make changes.

A few commenters called me on it, and rightly so. Fortunately, though, my clumsiness didn’t stop many of you from casting a vote and posting some really interesting comments. And although by the time you read this a new poll will be on the S+H home page, it’s not too late to weigh in on “accident” versus “incident.” Go to http://sh-m.ag/20yOJDn to find the archived poll and join the conversation.

Melissa J. Ruminski The opinions expressed in “Editor’s Note” do not necessarily reflect those of the National Safety Council or affiliated local Chapters.

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