Russian Roulette is a lethal game of chance where a single round is placed in a revolver, the cylinder is spun, and the player sets the muzzle against his or her head and pulls the trigger. Without rotating the barrel of a six-chamber pistol after every pull, the average number of tries before the bullet discharges is 3.5.
Based on these odds, why do some people still play this deadly game in the first place? In many cases, it’s because the players have a death wish. But for some daredevils, the reason is simply optimism bias.
The Optimism Bias
This bias is merely one of the many cognitive biases most people experience on a day-to-day basis. These represent various errors in rational judgment, driven by a person’s subjective interpretation of reality. Humans naturally are drawn by the allure of a cohesive narrative of the events happening around them. We constantly simplify things, cherry-pick information, and in some cases, overestimate the success rate of our endeavours.
This optimism starts in childhood and follows us well into adulthood. In the Western world, children are taught from a very young age to have a positive outlook on life, which is generally a good thing but can also lead to optimism bias.
It's because of this bias that we tend to discount the statistical likelihood of tragic accident or illness occurring to a loved one or ourselves. when a loved one is involved in an accident or diagnosed with a severe illness. The optimism bias is what makes smokers and gamblers disregard the statistics and keep with their vices. It's also why it’s so hard for people to change their behaviour when faced with a relatively slow-moving trend such as climate change. And it's why some play Russian Roulette. They skew or disregard the facts so they can maintain their personal and optimistic narrative about themselves.
Not Doing Regular Audits and Inspections
When it comes to business settings, an equivalent of Russian Roulette (optimism bias) is not doing regular safety audits and inspections. In 2017, there were a total of 5,147 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States. That’s the equivalent of 3.5 deaths per 100,000 full-time employees and about 14 work-related fatalities per day.
Some managers, executives, and even employees tend to disregard these numbers and gamble with their safety and the security of others on a day-to-day basis. This apparent shortsightedness is a clear example of overestimating one's odds and believing that bad things can only happen to others. But as like with Russian Roulette, it only takes one bad luck of the draw to bring that entire subjective optimism crashing down into demographic reality.
The Checker Software is a cloud-based mobile audit and inspection software designed to optimize and streamline workplace safety procedures. It ensures that no safety procedures are skipped or forgotten and it generates reports, analyzes data, identifies hazards, and spots developing safety- or maintenance-related trends, significantly decreasing the risk of accident and workflow disruptions in the organization.
Russian Roulette is a terrible “game” with extreme risk—just as neglecting workplace safety is a unnecessarily dangerous path that can lead to tragedy and loss.