Trusting the Safety Officers

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    Someone posted somewhere recently that now we all realize that safety rules must be kept and that not all laws are directed at disturbing us, and [despite the anti-antisemitism / anti-charedi movements] the the laws are not out to get us. etc.
    I am all for safety, וחי בהם, and ונשמרתם. I’ve been mechallel shabbos before for safek pikuach nefesh.
    However, i do suspect that there is an underlying concern that we collectively feel, even if safety rules and regulations exist for our benefit, but how can we trust the officers that X or Z is really needed, when we know that they’d love to do anything to make our lives miserable.
    How can we know they are being honest and genuine, and how can we know when they are going far beyond the letter of the law, and insisting on extreme measures just to spite us, to cause us expenses, and headaches etc. How can we know when they are abusing their positions and we are safety-naive.
    The only option i can think of at the moment is that we have our own home-grown safety officers. The kehillos have safety professionals whose opinions and recommendations we can trust, just as we have our own doctors lawyers and politicians, who are generally on our side, who understand our point of view, know our lifestyles etc.
    Any comments?


    Having safety officer is a good idea. In addition, we need to listen what the government says even if our experts disagree. If you suspect that you are treated unfairly, you can compare your circumstance with other groups. If you feel aggrieved by the government, Baruch Hashem, you can vote, you can sue, you can move.

    Amil Zola

    “…but how can we trust the officers that X or Z is really needed, when we know that they’d love to do anything to make our lives miserable.” I will graciously opt out of your ‘we’. My preference is to live with limited paranoia.


    How do I know what I do not know, is the ultimate starting point for all human endeavors. And we move forward by doing what yo do. If you have this problem now, then you have always had it. You chose to ignore it, because you do what you do.


    I have been responsible for EHS on major industrial construction sites for most of my professional career. I have written and enforced safety procedures for construction and operation of electric generating plants. My experience it these matters allows me to make a couple of observations.
    1. No catastrophic failure is the result of a single cause. Every major accident or disaster is always the result of a chain of individual events the elimination of any one of which would have prevented the event. In the Meron event, for example, If there had been fewer people, or if a different exit had been used, or if the floor hadn’t been slippery, or if it hadn’t sloped down, or if the exit hadn’t been temporarily blocked, or if… You get the idea.
    Safety procedures are a pain in the neck. They are often inconvenient and time consuming and interfere with the necessary work. In addition, the often seem unnecessary, even silly. Don’t be fooled. Here’s an example that recently occurred on one of my projects.
    2. OSHA (occupational Safety and Health Admin) requires that fall protection be required for all work more than six feet above the floor or deck. This means that workers must wear a fall harness with lanyard which needs to be secured at shoulder height or above in the work area. Now, the fall harness is uncomfortable to wear and the lanyard always gets tangled between your legs and there often isn’t a convenient place to secure it and it has to be unhooked and re-hooked when you move and six feet isn’t really that high, etc. The fact is that this particular requirement is often ignored altogether or the harness is worn but lanyard is just tucked in. And you what. The worker ignores the requirement and nothing happens. He does it once, twice, ten times, a hundred times, and the hundred and first time he slips and falls and breaks his back!


    Redleg: You are the guy we need. Someone who knows what the dangers are as you explained above, even if the layman doesn’t know, we can trust you that you are saying it for our sake.
    But if an anti-semite or in Israel, an anti-charedi officer comes, it’s his heyday. He’ll find every possible excuse to mkae life misrable on little things that the law does not demand, and that he knows are totally unnecessary. He will have a field day making as much red-tape as possible. We can’t know what are the accepted standards, but we do know he is biased and will abuse his position.
    we saw this clearly in Covid, when they enforced extreme on chardeim, and ignored the chilonim. Were they doing it because they cared more that charedim should not contract Covid?
    When that happens, we lose trust in them.
    That is why we need Charedi safety inspectors, who know the balance, what is safe and what is extreme, and then we, the rabbonim, askonim and public, will trust them.
    Have i made may case clear?


    Dear Got,

    Yes. I get you now. Just two thoughts. One, some bureaucrats are just petty. It does not make them biased. Most people are not generally racist. They are partisan. But it usually does not elect them from doing their job. – Rambling Alert! – Two, Israel’s anti discrimination law goes like this: under no circumstance may you discriminate. I get to discriminate. And now you are being charged with discrimination for calling me a hypocrite. Naturally, BaGaTz gets to decide. That leaves them as the ultimate discriminatory power. It is not surprising that the Health Ministry thought that the Chariedim were more at risk. The secular world underestimated how they would react. What?!? No work and no party? – Rambling Alert! – Your point still has merit. But it is not that much of an argument.


    as redleg says, people are not very good at estimating low probability events – falling of the 6ft platform, catching COVID from short encounters, crossing street in dangerous places.

    to see the value v. cost of such procedures, you can sometimes conduct a social experiment. Compare two localities with different rules or different attitudes towards rules and look at the accident statistics.

    for example, look at statistics before and after a new OSHA rule is in place. Or nearby cities in different counties or states with different rules. Upon someone’s claim here that Jewish communities are doing fine under COVID without a need to bother, I looked up death rates in Lakewood and surrounding communities and saw a factor of 2x difference (or 4x if you adjust for Lakewood younger population).


    Got, so just hire redleg for a second opinion next time you are told to do your construction legally.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    AAQ – So checking the death rate anywhere does not find you that answer and you know it. You just don’t like it. The answer that is actually relevant to the conversation at hand about low probability risks would be the death tolls after the big public gatherings that had people predicting doom but it didn’t happen. Our original losses in this pandemic were very notable, but the unmasked shils. The in person schools and even the wedding parties that i agree should not have taken place did NOT result in waves and surges as predicted.

    So can we finally talk about something else or will this topic always need to be stuffed in to keep your divisiveness alive and active?


    an interesting question about big public gatherings. There was a research paper about this looking at statistics in multiple cities. These gatherings actually decreased infection rate – because most people in the city reduced their activity and did not go to stores and restaurants in downtown while a minority of citizens raged there. This was not just a hypotheses, activity levels in cities are systematically measured using cell phone and similar data, and correlated well with decrease in covid levels.

    I am not sure why you are saying:
    >> checking the death rate anywhere does not find you that answer and you know it. You just don’t like it.

    I agree that you might want to do a little more analysis, taking maybe several locations. You seem to reject this approach entirely, without any explanation, implying that I somehow know what you mean. I do not.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    AAQ -Here’s what I meant:

    You said to look at different communities with different attitudes toward being careful (the topic was people not recognizing low probability dangers)

    Then, in continuation of that statement you bring in Lakewood, which we all know is a place you see as having a wrong, incorrect and dangerous attitude toward caution or being careful. And to “prove” how wrong they are, you specify that the death rate there was 2 or 4 times the nearby communities.

    The problem is that a death rate tells you how it blows thru the community and too many social and geographical factors (and Gd) decide how it blows. The “uncaring attitude” you speak of was after the first bout of covid when the lock downs wouldn’t lift and the mask mandates were in place. During these times you and your peers talked about the murderous people gathering in minyanim and halls. If you want to know if the careless attitude really was murderous (which you claim to be a slam dunk yes), then the death rate is irrelevant. You would need to see where the second waves, third waves or surges were in those neighborhoods and in relation to the murderous events.

    Things didnt’ quite pan out that way for you. The indoor minyanim thankfully did not fair worse overall than the outdoor minyanim. The weddings and funerals did not result in multiple waves AS WE WERE TOLD IT WOULD. So it is exciting for you to point out how many Jews died in communities like lakewood and try to correlate it to the attitude you disdain, but the larger scale graphing did not support your theory.

    I’m guessing you will now tell me I misunderstood you. Or that I am not making sense. Okay. At least I tried.


    Syag, I still do not fully understand your objections to my analysis. I agree that measuring at one particular moment is noisy. Epidemics indeed come in waves and time of waves is different at different locations. That is why I looked at cumulative rates over a year and specifically compared with nearby areas. The numbers were higher and there were similar reports from Israel, that I didn’t verify, so I don’t understand how you are saying that nothing bad happen. You bring not one number to support your position. Again, the numbers I brought have limitations, but they are quite suggestive.

    Maybe you mean that you didn’t see people getting sick right after an event. This doesn’t refute statistics because the virus propagates thru the community with little symptoms until someone gets seriously sick and then you don’t see a connection. This is known in halakha that teshuva is hard when a person can’t connect two events, so I am not holding my breath to see people changing their minds.

    I am not sure why you pepper your text with disparaging remarks though. I am very sad about all the losses we had and disturbed by the attitude of ostensibly observant Jews who do not care about lives. I am not excited about talking about it, not I am happy to see the data later that confirms initial warnings. Again, if you know of data that refutes it, please provide it. If you don’t have it yourself, maybe you can ask your experts. I am sure someone somewhere in your community used some logic to allow what you did. You should be interested in that

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    You are trying to prove that lack of masks and social distancing caused an increase in covid deaths but are using numbers of deaths that included those occured before it was an issue.

    Is that clearer?


    Syag, thanks for the clarification. Are you suggesting excluding, say, February-April 2020 from the analysis? Thanks, I’ll try to look at that, bli neder. I do need to say that DW made us fly in masks in mid-February already, and I was ducking embraces from people when delivering shalahmonas… Mi hu haham. haroeh at hanolad …

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    I didn’t say February-April. I didn’t give any dates. I was just calling you out on misrepresenting the numbers for the sake of an opportunity to restate Lakewoods death rate .

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