Humans make mistakes. Even when trying to be careful. In a good environment your long-term level of care tends to be roughly whatever is sustainable for you in that environment. If I tell you to "be more careful" it might create a temporary boost, but it's unlikely to prevent all accidents in future. It's not a solution to mistakes.

Worse yet, punishing individuals who mess up discourages people from owning up about their mistakes or near-misses, denying valuable data to identify and fix the root causes.

Instead, focus on the broader system humans are a part of. Can automated checks prevent the issue, or free up cognitive load from elsewhere to spend on this task? Can training be given (or improved) to reduce mistakes? Should the culture be shifted towards safety (often at the cost of other features - you can't make everything your top priority)? Is the current level of expected mistakes actually the correct trade-off and we should just accept it?

Using a mistake to remind people to be more careful can still help contribute to a culture of care. But it's not a solution by itself, and it's important that it doesn't feel like punishment.


Yes, technically yelling at people to be more careful all the time or terrifying them with dire consequences should they mess up is one way to create a culture of care. But the costs are high, both in happiness and in discouraging them from owning up to mistakes. This is why air accident investigations are restricted from use as legal evidence against any individual, because the benefits of open discourse about accidents and how to prevent them far outweigh those from punishing individuals who make mistakes.