Originally posted on September 27, 2020 @ 8:15 AM
An Ethical Psychology of Risk
The foundation of professionalism is Ethics. Without such a foundation one can masquerade and parade about all kinds of unethical nonsense as good. This is why safety more than any industry needs an Ethic of Risk and doesn’t have one. The poor excuse for an Ethic of Risk in the AIHS BoK Chapter 38.3 is nothing more than a deontological ethic to give permission for unethical conduct in the name of duty. There is very little in that document that helps people in the safety industry deal with the daily challenges of being ethical and modal in decisions about risk.
The last think Safety needs is the promotion of more selfishness in the name of good. We don’t need messages that tell you how to manipulate others to get what YOU want. Such messaging is anti-community, anti-justice and anti-learning. Of course, this is a common message from people who are not psychologists but people more interested in promoting business than a common good.
One of the most important messages safety people need to learn is that the medium is the message. If safety people cannot get the ethics of what they message right, they will have no chance of ever being professional (https://safetyrisk.net/not-a-professions-bootlace/). It is so funny to watch safety people promote their care for safety in a medium that undoes their purpose of safe outcomes (https://safetyrisk.net/the-medium-is-the-message/).
This is why this industry needs a ethical Ethic of Risk, not some cooked up immature stuff about ‘check your gut’ and ‘do your duty’ (https://safetyrisk.net/the-aihs-bok-and-ethics-check-your-gut/).
Safety doesn’t need a document like the AIHS BoK on Ethics that tells you that safety as a priority justifies unethical behaviour in having power over others. You can’t achieve an ethical outcome by unethical means. The end never justifies the means, that’s just utilitarianism in disguise.
One of the experts on the nature of ethical Influencing is Cialdini (Influence, Science and Practice (2009) Pearson. Boston). You can have the greatest intentions in the world, not want anyone to be harmed, desire the best for others but express them in a medium of manipulation and self and it all comes undone. Without an ethical foundation any wish for safety for others simply becomes a justification for power, coercion, distrust, deceitfulness and deception. Without respect for persons in enactment of method, it doesn’t matter what follows will be enacted unethically.
This is why the ideology of zero is unethical (https://safetyrisk.net/an-ethic-of-harm/). With the best of intentions overriding the will of others even though they may hurt themselves, doesn’t justify the harming of others psychologically for the physical outcome YOU desire. Here is this absurd mantra of ‘safety is a choice you make’ and an industry determined for you not to have a choice. The end does not justify the means, one of the first lesson one learns in a study of Ethics which of course is not any safety curriculum.