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.