Today's message comes from the President of CIC:

No one would proclaim someone a good person simply because they haven’t been thrown in jail yet. Obeying the law is a minimum. It is not an ideal. It is not even an achievement. Likewise, the industry standards such as CENELEC or ATEX or NFPA norms are minimums. It is what is necessary and probably sufficient to prevent fires and explosions. We say “probably” sufficient because even installations that seem to meet all the code requirements still experience fires and explosions, just at a much lower rate than others. 

The words “seem to meet” requirements is the key. The buyer often under pressure to buy the least costly equipment that meets the code. Some even see that code as a lofty ideal rather than a base minimum. In the EU, the acronym BATNEEC defines the requirement to have the “Best Available Technology Not Entailing Excessive Cost.” This philosophy meets in match in the real world, in the form of CATNIP, or, “Cheapest Available Technology Not Involving Prosecution.”

Humor aside, reality can be a cruel teacher. When well-intentioned and well-prepared people have accidents, it is not some unseen hand, some lack of luck, some twist of fate that brings them down - just a form of human error – a lack of foresight, of imagination perhaps, with an added dash of the unexpected – most often from lack of experience.

Very, very, few people are unscrupulous enough to intentionally ignore basic safety principles. Many people simply don’t believe that anything can go wrong.

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