AIHS BoK Ethics and Professional Practice Launch Brisbane 10/02/2020

Here are some thoughts and questions following the recent launch:

1 – The late George Orwell once proclaimed….The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection. Pornography is pornography and irrespective of how zero harm or vision zero is portrayed, it relentlessly advocates excellence. Moreover, the ideology is frequently promoted and remains endorsed by the AIHS. This denies fallibility and eventually dehumanises people. Its corrosive impact destroys communities of practice and extirpates incidental learning. How can it possibly be ethical and align with the AIHS BoK Ethics and Professional Practice guidance material

2 – How can any corporation that embraces the Friedman doctrine be ethical if its only social responsibility is to make a profit?

3 – The primary object of the WHS Act is to secure the health and safety of people at work. However, the AIHS vision runs the production v protection gauntlet and advocates safe and healthy people in productive workplaces and communities. What is the AIHS position on the pervasive practice of linking extraordinary performance bonuses to unrealistic production targets? It generates many undesirable consequences, which often forces senior executives to step down for family or personal reasons but they are typically rewarded via a golden parachute or even bestowed with an order of chivalry. Meanwhile many bereaved dependents are left chasing smoke in a quest for justice.

4 – What is the AIHS position on revolving doors, which exacerbates the risk of regulatory and policy capture? (Australia Institute Graham Readfearn – Too close for comfort October 2015)

5 – What is the AIHS position on the widespread use of contingent labour hire and exploitation of vulnerable people, which includes the federal government Job Active Program and its work for the dole scheme?

6 – What is the AIHS doing regarding the ineffectiveness of the JAS-ANZ and self-insurance auditing schemes?

7 – The AIHS recently endorsed the Boland review which claimed the objective of harmonisation remained strong. It is like a dog’s breakfast and will be further exacerbated by the introduction of industrial manslaughter. What is the AIHS doing regarding harmonisation and ratification of the following ILO Conventions:

  • C139 Occupational Cancer
  • C148 Working Environment (Air pollution, noise and vibration)
  • C167 Safety and Health in Construction
  • C170 Chemicals convention
  • C176 Safety and Health in Mines
  • C174 Prevention of Major Industrial Accidents
  • C190 Violence and Harassment

8 – What is the AIHS position covering the sinister practice of executive indemnity against criminal liability penalties pertaining to work, health and safety legislation?

This makes a mockery of law and the standard of justice much like health care will eventually be determined by bank balances or credit card limits.

9 – The ethical decision making process in the AIHS BoK Ethics and Professional Practice (Figure 4, Page 49) could easily have been lifted from an IKEA instruction manual for assembling a bedside cabinet.

It is rather like a clunky mechanistic event tree logic diagrams which are often littered with binary and/or gates. The Skinner black box psychology disguises that the brain does not make decisions, it merely hosts conversations (Guy Claxton). Life very rarely resembles a clinical assets and liabilities statement from an accounts ledger detailing withdrawals or deposits. It is thankfully far more messy, uncertain and complicated.

Bernard Corden

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26 Replies to “AIHS BoK Ethics and Professional Practice Launch Brisbane 10/02/2020”

  1. I attended the Adelaide presentation yesterday, and although the case studies were interesting there was little opportunity to raise these and other questions. I wonder if there is the capability of the organisation to ask itself those questions let alone answer them. Probably why I let my membership lapse.

    1. Same report from Adelaide from another. No forum, no listening, no learning. More bricks in the fortress and nothing changes and noone learns. But let’s celebrate incompetence then call it professional. You are like many Peter.

  2. Some interesting questions, and some challenges for the AIHS. Having been a safety professional for some 23 years, I find the current lack of constructive discussion somewhat disturbing. If we are not engaging, where is the discussion to be held? Let’s be honest, it is good to see that the ethical considerations of our profession are being explored. It’s about time! When can we start to discuss what happens when we identify a deep organisational/ cultural practice which represents serious risk? Why is it that when we tell these deep bad news truths that are hard for senior leaders to hear , that they both seek and abhore, that we are often treated in ways that are not often friendly and collegial…. what about if it’s not ” how well we communicate ” but instead is about the difficulty of people in positions of power to hear these truths? Should we not have an opportunity to discuss these and so many more issues ?
    Ethics, morals, values… let’s chat about doing no harm ( yes… doing no harm = Zero harm) … it may be a lofty intention, it is certainly a moral position… it is not… a SMART goal. It has also become a sticking point which divides us in ways I find disturbing. 23 years… it’s a long time since I finished my degree in OHS…. and I dare say? I don’t think this last 10 years has taken us forward….

  3. Susan, the ideology of zero is symbolic of the problem. When you embrace zero then all discussion and learning ceases, it has been made the shibboleth of safety and cannot be given away even though it doesn’t work and creates many more problems than it solves. Its ideology is toxic because it’s founded on the unethical denial of fallibility. Zero drives numerics, metrics and the toxic tone of safety that insist that number define it. Unfortunately, zero ideology is not some lofty intention and it is certainly not a moral position at all, in fact the opposite. One can never be moral about humans by denying fallibility and mortality. The only way one can sustain the nonsense of zero is from a binary logic, it certainly cannot be sustained in the real world. The majority of people who profess zero have no idea about why it is unethical and only think of it from the closed worldview of WHS, there are many other worldviews that make sense and reject zero. I would easily join the AIHS if they would give it away!

  4. Bernard, none of these questions are anything like what bothers me about the BoK or the ethics chapter. I appreciate your concerns and understand your questions. For me, its the ideological divide that such a chapter creates and the normalizing of a deontological ethic disguised as if it is some objective commentary. Then to write nonsense like ethics is innate and check your gut is such amazing amateurish stuff then call it professional is astounding. Such a chapter demonstrates the opposite of a profession. Having developed ethics curricula at university, schools and for religious organizations and taught ethics at university and at postgrad supervision, this piece of work is worse than appalling.

  5. The following report from the Reverend James Jones Bishop of Liverpool was written following a request from Theresa May, the former British PM to ensure the pain and suffering of the Hillsborough families is not repeated:

    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/655892/6_3860_HO_Hillsborough_Report_2017_FINAL_WEB_updated.pdf

    It is extremely powerful and quite disturbing and contains extensive discussions on police ethics with an emphasis on caring, listening and learning. These attributes are sadly lacking amongst many safety rednecks who often behave like neurotic Tonton Macoutes on steroids. An over zealous focus on zero harm with compliance and enforcement has merely generated pettifogging and destroyed incidental learning and tacit knowledge..

    Meanwhile, the Dreamworld coronial inquest is scheduled for 24/02/2020 in Court 17 at the Brisbane Magistrates’ Court complex and the coroner will deliver his findings. I trust the fire protection system for the complex has been maintained and emergency response and evacuation systems are effective.

    https://www.courts.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/92872/OngoingInquestsMonthlyReport.pdf

  6. Dear Rob,

    I can appreciate your frustration, especially from an existential dialectic perspective and many thanks for the reference to Mizzoni – Ethics, The Basics. Its on my reading list.

  7. Dear Rob,

    I also reviewed your readings list and folder on ethics, which contains ample additional resources including:

    a) Alasdair Macintyre
    b) Dr Piers Benn
    c) George Stuart Fullerton

    There’s plenty more to keep me occupied

    1. Bernard, the BoK on Ethics bibliography tells you are great deal about how framing matters. When you frame your worldview through safety you anchor it to the key principle of dumb down. The bibliography of the BoK is indicative of this worldview. When we want to learn anything we go to a safety person??? Indoctrinated in the comfort of all we know, the best way to learn nothing. The AIHS is a century away from transdiciplinarity.

  8. The SPoR Handbook Chapter 4 Social-Ethical Influencing is well worth reading, especially the following sections:

    a) Professions and Ethics (Page 98)
    b) What is an ethic of risk? (Page 100)
    c) Ethical goal setting (Page 104)

    https://www.humandymensions.com/product/the-social-psychology-of-risk-handbook/

    None of this invaluable material is referenced within the AIHS BoK Ethics and Professional Practice with its inordinate objectivism and behaviourist approach.

    I strongly suspect several of the technical advisory panel are acolytes of Jordan Peterson. Indeed several members are from Canada and have a guess where the next XXII World Safety Congress in October 2020 is located for another bout of circle jerking:

    https://www.safety2020canada.com/

    Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently – Rosa Luxemburg

  9. It would hardly surprise me if the International Chrysotile Association was appointed as a major sponsor for the XXII World Safety Congress in Toronto.

  10. It would hardly surprise me if the International Chrysotile Association was appointed as a major sponsor for the XXII World Safety Congress in Toronto.

  11. Dear Rob,

    I can appreciate your frustration, especially from an existential dialectic perspective and many thanks for the reference to Mizzoni – Ethics, The Basics. Its on my reading list.

  12. Some interesting questions, and some challenges for the AIHS. Having been a safety professional for some 23 years, I find the current lack of constructive discussion somewhat disturbing. If we are not engaging, where is the discussion to be held? Let’s be honest, it is good to see that the ethical considerations of our profession are being explored. It’s about time! When can we start to discuss what happens when we identify a deep organisational/ cultural practice which represents serious risk? Why is it that when we tell these deep bad news truths that are hard for senior leaders to hear , that they both seek and abhore, that we are often treated in ways that are not often friendly and collegial…. what about if it’s not ” how well we communicate ” but instead is about the difficulty of people in positions of power to hear these truths? Should we not have an opportunity to discuss these and so many more issues ?
    Ethics, morals, values… let’s chat about doing no harm ( yes… doing no harm = Zero harm) … it may be a lofty intention, it is certainly a moral position… it is not… a SMART goal. It has also become a sticking point which divides us in ways I find disturbing. 23 years… it’s a long time since I finished my degree in OHS…. and I dare say? I don’t think this last 10 years has taken us forward….

  13. Dear Rob,

    I also reviewed your readings list and folder on ethics, which contains ample additional resources including:

    a) Alasdair Macintyre
    b) Dr Piers Benn
    c) George Stuart Fullerton

    There’s plenty more to keep me occupied

    1. Bernard, the BoK on Ethics bibliography tells you are great deal about how framing matters. When you frame your worldview through safety you anchor it to the key principle of dumb down. The bibliography of the BoK is indicative of this worldview. When we want to learn anything we go to a safety person??? Indoctrinated in the comfort of all we know, the best way to learn nothing. The AIHS is a century away from transdiciplinarity.

  14. The following report from the Reverend James Jones Bishop of Liverpool was written following a request from Theresa May, the former British PM to ensure the pain and suffering of the Hillsborough families is not repeated:

    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/655892/6_3860_HO_Hillsborough_Report_2017_FINAL_WEB_updated.pdf

    It is extremely powerful and quite disturbing and contains extensive discussions on police ethics with an emphasis on caring, listening and learning. These attributes are sadly lacking amongst many safety rednecks who often behave like neurotic Tonton Macoutes on steroids. An over zealous focus on zero harm with compliance and enforcement has merely generated pettifogging and destroyed incidental learning and tacit knowledge..

    Meanwhile, the Dreamworld coronial inquest is scheduled for 24/02/2020 in Court 17 at the Brisbane Magistrates’ Court complex and the coroner will deliver his findings. I trust the fire protection system for the complex has been maintained and emergency response and evacuation systems are effective.

    https://www.courts.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/92872/OngoingInquestsMonthlyReport.pdf

  15. The SPoR Handbook Chapter 4 Social-Ethical Influencing is well worth reading, especially the following sections:

    a) Professions and Ethics (Page 98)
    b) What is an ethic of risk? (Page 100)
    c) Ethical goal setting (Page 104)

    https://www.humandymensions.com/product/the-social-psychology-of-risk-handbook/

    None of this invaluable material is referenced within the AIHS BoK Ethics and Professional Practice with its inordinate objectivism and behaviourist approach.

    I strongly suspect several of the technical advisory panel are acolytes of Jordan Peterson. Indeed several members are from Canada and have a guess where the next XXII World Safety Congress in October 2020 is located for another bout of circle jerking:

    https://www.safety2020canada.com/

    Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently – Rosa Luxemburg

  16. I attended the Adelaide presentation yesterday, and although the case studies were interesting there was little opportunity to raise these and other questions. I wonder if there is the capability of the organisation to ask itself those questions let alone answer them. Probably why I let my membership lapse.

    1. Same report from Adelaide from another. No forum, no listening, no learning. More bricks in the fortress and nothing changes and noone learns. But let’s celebrate incompetence then call it professional. You are like many Peter.

  17. Susan, the ideology of zero is symbolic of the problem. When you embrace zero then all discussion and learning ceases, it has been made the shibboleth of safety and cannot be given away even though it doesn’t work and creates many more problems than it solves. Its ideology is toxic because it’s founded on the unethical denial of fallibility. Zero drives numerics, metrics and the toxic tone of safety that insist that number define it. Unfortunately, zero ideology is not some lofty intention and it is certainly not a moral position at all, in fact the opposite. One can never be moral about humans by denying fallibility and mortality. The only way one can sustain the nonsense of zero is from a binary logic, it certainly cannot be sustained in the real world. The majority of people who profess zero have no idea about why it is unethical and only think of it from the closed worldview of WHS, there are many other worldviews that make sense and reject zero. I would easily join the AIHS if they would give it away!

  18. Bernard, none of these questions are anything like what bothers me about the BoK or the ethics chapter. I appreciate your concerns and understand your questions. For me, its the ideological divide that such a chapter creates and the normalizing of a deontological ethic disguised as if it is some objective commentary. Then to write nonsense like ethics is innate and check your gut is such amazing amateurish stuff then call it professional is astounding. Such a chapter demonstrates the opposite of a profession. Having developed ethics curricula at university, schools and for religious organizations and taught ethics at university and at postgrad supervision, this piece of work is worse than appalling.

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