One of the common attributes of the safety industry is ‘playing it safe’. Of course, this makes sense to this industry and is consistent with the archetype of compliance and conservativism common to its culture. This attribute also limits creativity, imagination, discovery and learning. It also limits the way one understands risk because imagination is central to risk. Playing it safe simply generates fear of the unknown and once one knows safety, there is nothing more to know.
Outside the box thinking is valuable in thinking of what might and could happen. Outside the box thinking is risky and in safety, risk is demonised, risk is dangerous – risk doesn’t make sense (https://www.humandymensions.com/product/risk-makes-sense/). This is why all my book covers symbolise in one way or other, a discourse about a leap of faith.
If you can’t risk, you can’t learn.
Unless one steps away to what is known to the unknown, one cannot learn.
In safety, one is indoctrinated into a fortress so that one cannot leap in faith. Indeed, despite so much talk in the industry there is so little talk about ‘risk’ and ‘faith’.
Anything that challenges ‘the safety fortress’ must be provided a name and label to prevent enquiry and learning. One of the latest I got was that what I presented was ‘hot air’. Such indoctrinated ignorance is what safety fosters. Once safety has become the manifest truth, there is nothing more to learn and certainly no other discipline has anything to say to Safety. The last thing Safety wants is enquiry into anything outside of safety. Once the safety worldview is anchored then anything that is not understood becomes anti-safety.
I knew a person once who called themselves ‘Safety Tom’, who was a consultant to the safety industry. Many people just called him ‘Safety’ for short. In other words, Tom was personified as ‘safety’ wherever he went and he proudly acknowledged this title. Interestingly, it took a while for Tom to throw off the label once he finally could see the problem. But people had become so anchored to this brand that he couldn’t shake it for years. I couldn’t think of anything worse. The last thing I want to be identified with is anything anchored to the safety industry.
I don’t identify, nor want to be identified, with an industry that is considered by many workers as an embuggerance and punitive block on trying to get work done. My ontology (reason for being) is NOT anchored in safety but living, being and community.
- The best way to help people tackle risk is NOT to confuse safety with living.
- The best way to understand culture is to NOT frame a worldview through the lens of safety.
- If you want to understand culture DON’T start with safety.
- The best reading one can undertake is NOT in safety.
I may have read many books in the genre of safety, but I never start an understanding of anything from such a narrow base. This is one of the reasons why Safety finds it so difficult to understand culture.
Unfortunately, once one has been indoctrinated into the safety worldview and ‘confirmation bias’ is set in ‘sunk cost’ (https://safetyrisk.net/20-cognitive-biases-that-affect-risk-decision-making/ ), whatever follows is viewed as either non-compliant or as some form of deviance from the norm – policing paperwork, hazards, controls, PPE, counting injury rates and legislation.
Any form of dissent or questioning of safety is then defined as being anti-safety.
This binary mindset is one of the characteristics of the culture in safety.
Interesting, when one undertakes study in any discipline other than safety, the foundation for such study starts with questioning the foundations of that industry. Questioning and deconstruction is considered normal in most academic disciplines. For example, in a Degree in Education students are invited to question the many theories of learning that infuse the Education sector. Students are invited to question the biases, philosophies and worldviews of various educational theorists. The goal of a teacher or Educator is NOT to police the Education Act! Not so Safety.
It doesn’t seem to matter that much of what Safety does in the name of safety, gets smashed in court (https://vimeo.com/showcase/3938199 ). It doesn’t seem to matter that counting injury rates has no relevance to the creation of a safe workplace. It doesn’t seem to matter that overload in checklisting doesn’t work. It must be defended to the last brick in the fortress and make sure any challenge to the ‘safety worldview’ remains ‘hot air’.
When it comes to safety, it doesn’t seem to matter that, so much of what is done doesn’t work. So much paperwork that has so little correlation to reality and so much policing that alienates people to tackling risk practically, is maintained as what is normal for safety.
Anything that demonises and dehumanises persons cannot ‘work’. If you want to know what works perhaps you can read this: https://www.humandymensions.com/product/it-works-a-new-approach-to-risk-and-safety/