Disable instructions

Italsider factory, Genoa, Italy, around 1962.
Eugenio Carmi is working to improve safety within production workshop. Accidents, even serious ones, are weekly matter. Eugenio Carmi is an artist and knows nothing about safety procedures. But he doesn’t trust instructions. He knows human beings don’t like instruction, usually they prefere visions. Furthermore, as Carmi finds out everyday, instructions don’t work: workers are too self confident to follow them, thus accidents happen continuously. Then Carmi understands. It is one of these fruitful and long lasting “aha!” moments. If you want people to take care of themselves you should avoid instructions and provide visions. You can’t force a worker to wear an helmet, a pair of goggles, a pair of working gloves and punish him if he doesn’t; but you can help the worker to look at his head, eyes and hands in a different way. It is very easy and very effective. It worked in Italsider fifty years ago and it still works nowadays everywhere: disable instructions to enable insights.

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13mani-2

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