By Ra’Ed Jaradat
Placing a price tag on something that most people would deem priceless could prove to be a difficult task. However, determining a monetary value for life is sometimes necessary. Fahrenthold (2008) discusses an example used by the Federal Consumer Product Safety Commission in 2008 where a proposal was made to make mattresses less flammable. Implementing the proposal would save 270 lives but would cost the industry $343M a year. By having a monetary value, a cost-benefit analysis was conducted to show that proposal was a good idea. The point of putting a monetary value on human life is not to devalue the preciousness of our life but to allow comparisons between options, and make a reasonable decision as to how to allocate resources. If we had unlimited resources we could implement every life saving/protection procedure possible. If the value of life is not quantified, resources, also having value, cannot be allocated rationally to develop and implement countermeasures to protect life. Employers and policy makers also have the tools to make funding decisions when comparing different options. Money, itself, has no real value. It is simply a devise by which we measure other things. In an ideal world, all risks of a system lead to the death or injury of an individual should be eliminated or controlled to an insignificant level. In reality, however, there are always financial and operational restrictions that could apply. Therefore, we will not always be able to eliminate all risks.