Setting the Standards

During the industrial revolution, manufacturers realized that the production of products could be done more efficiently by distributing the work flow and having each person become an expert on their particular step in the process of manufacturing. During World War II, scientists began studying how to do things more efficiently and how to do them more safely. By studying the process, the researchers began to notice that setting standards for safety saved lives. Standards such as the Uniform Building Codes prevent deaths during earthquakes. The occupational safety and health administration and the OSHA rules prevent numerous work place injuries during the course of each year. There are literally hundreds of standards which protect your life everyday. You may not know it because these standards generally apply to specific industries. The manufacturers of the product will know the standards, while you never need to necessarily think about them.

These standards, created by experts in their fields, help to apply the best practices to everyone in a community. Doctors over the years also began developing objective standards. These standards set the expectations of the medical providers, the community of doctors in a certain specialty. Likewise, police forces began to set clear standards. The violation of these standards was evidence that the person who violated them was being negligent.

Sadly, in the 1990s and the new millennium, the standards have been watered down to the point where they become meaningless. Vague standards undermine the whole purpose of having standards in the first place. If the best thinking that doctors, experts in the field, and police departments can do is to say “be reasonable,” there is no reason to have standards in the first place.

The point of a standard is accountability. The millions of people whose lives have been saved by the application of standards are everyday testimony to the importance of these standards. Robbins & Curtin strives to maintain the highest level of standards for their practice and expects that those who must follow standards should follow the best standards. We deplore the disappearance of standards because when we let our standards fall, we all lose, whether it is the loss of life, health, property, money or freedom.

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