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Hazardous language


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W.J. said that if lived to 300 years he wouldn't say "poses a hazard" in a report. Is there any difference between poses or presents a hazard?

Whats the suggested language in reporting safety hazards?

When would you suggest trying to avoid the use of expresions containing the word hazard and instead simply describe the danger that will befall someone? For example in my guardrail narrative post, W.J. didn't use the "hazard" word and reminded us that the guardrail keeps us from falling off of the deck.

Chris, Oregon

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Posing or presenting a hazard isn't necessarily wrong (IMHO), but "posing" is associated w/something that is not what it appears to be; posing is something that is often associated w/falsity.

"Presents" takes the condition once removed from the current reality; it makes it sound like it may or may not exist. It also means "to put forth in words", or to otherwise place it in a subjective setting.

I think things are hazardous, or they aren't.

And, using extra words violates my predilection for using as few words as possible. If I could make it a contraction, I would.

Loose guardrails, by any definition, are a hazard. I describe this stuff along the lines of.....

"The guardrails are loose; they can fail catastrophically under load. They are a falling hazard."

Repair recommendations I'll leave up to whatever someone wants to say. Personally, I just say "fix them".

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Originally posted by AHI

How about?

"The guardrail on the rear deck is loose and is therefore a safety hazard. If it were to fail then personal injury could result from a fall. I recommend that it be repaired to reduce this risk."

OK im ducking now for the onslaught.

I think it's fine, but I'm bored typing house reports......

"The guardrail on the rear deck is loose and is therefore a safety hazard. If it were to fail fails, occupants could fall & be injured. I recommend that it be repaired to reduce this risk. Repair the guardrails for safe use of the deck."

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Walter's memory must be failing, or he just chooses to pick on someone or on what suits him on any given day. Couple years back on the ASHI board, he chided me for saying a defect *presented* a hazard. He told me in no uncertain terms that the defect *posed* a hazard versus *presented* a hazard. I thanked him for the correction, and have used it ever since.

He's done this to me a couple times on this board lately. Last month, it was how a defect *needed* something. He defended saying such here recently, but in fact chided me years back about same, stating how an inanimate object couldn't *need* anything.

I truly value his help, but wish he would be consistent instead of being *crotchety* (his own words here last month to explain his inconsistency).

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Originally posted by Jerry Simon

Walter's memory must be failing, or he just chooses to pick on someone or on what suits him on any given day. Couple years back on the ASHI board, he chided me for saying a defect *presented* a hazard. He told me in no uncertain terms that the defect *posed* a hazard versus *presented* a hazard. I thanked him for the correction, and have used it ever since.

Your memory is better than mine. If I ever wrote or suggested the phrase, "poses a hazard," then I'm ashamed of myself. It is better than "presents" a hazard, though. "Presents" creates an image of a hazard handing something over to somebody.

Of course, I do try to improve over time. id="blue">

He's done this to me a couple times on this board lately. Last month, it was how a defect *needed* something. He defended saying such here recently, but in fact chided me years back about same, stating how an inanimate object couldn't *need* anything.

Could've been a context thing. When I pick at InspectorSpeak, I tend to correct the things that are flamingly weird and/or sound like something other than human speech. There's the old editor's urge to leave the writer's words as close to intact as I can. With InspectorSpeak, that's hard. There are often more errors than anything else. It boggles the editorial mind.

And, as brother Kurt suggests, dang creative types (and he's one his own self) are peculiar. Besides that, there's a recent study that says creative types are closer to crazy than regular people. Could be that. Or this: I don't write HI reports anymore. These days, everything I write is straight-up conversational prose. I've mostly purged my brain of InspectorSpeak. It feels good.id="blue">

I truly value his help, but wish he would be consistent instead of being *crotchety* (his own words here last month to explain his inconsistency).

Inconsistency. Evolution. Or something... I just have an itch to nudge professional folk to simplify, and write like a human, rather than like some kind of defective android. (Nothing can go wrong... go wrong... go wrong...)

Good news is, brothers Katen and Mitenbuler have gotten very good at explaining and using simple, understandable and uninflated language to communicate the simple things we HIs need to communicate. An HI who wants to get better at HI writing would do better to follow their leads than to follow mine.

WJid="blue">

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Originally posted by AHI

There are so many different ways to say the same thing. Who says that any one persons version is perfect?

As far as HI report writing is concerned, Katen is perfect, or dang close to it. So's Doug Hansen. Kurt is the master of explaining complicated things in few words. Les writes very well.

Y'know, if smart, educated people who've been writing well for decades tell you that there's good writing and bad writing, and they explain how to make writing better, don't waste your time trying to justify bad writing. Just pay attention to the excellent writers, and do what they do.

If Michael Jordan walks into the gym one day, and offers to show you how to shoot a basketball, do what he says.

WJ

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Another thought.....

I don't separate "perfect" from the economic side of this gig. If I'm spending lots of time using lots of words that aren't necessary, I increase time & reduce profit.

If I make dozens of these mistakes a day, multiplied by the hundreds of days I do this thing, it turns into a lot of time.

It sounds silly, but carving out all the unnecessary verbiage makes me more money. And in the end game, it sounds better too.

This stuff is droop jawed, eye sag boring most of the time. Make it short & sweet. It's better that way.

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It's the basics of report writing that are important, not the style details. Direct and to the point, conversational tone, active voice, and rigorous honesty are all essential in my book. There is also no substitute for being able to compose a good sentence, using punctuation correctly, and properly organizing the message. Beyond that we're never going to agree on how many words are required to describe a given condition, or exactly which words are best. We can and should follow the best examples, but in the end we still have to be ourselves.

Brian G.

Viva La Difference [:-party]

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