Censorship in Safety
One doesn’t have to look hard to find censorship in the safety industry. Simply look at what vocabulary and semiotics are available to the industry and what is suppressed and there is the evidence. Similarly, look at the propaganda, smoke and mirrors, taboos and rituals and, censorship is easy to find. For example, go anywhere in the industry and look for key words like: fallibility, learning, helping and unconscious and they are very hard to find. It is in the best interests of the zero ideologues to be silent on such words. It’s pretty difficult to have the word ‘fallible’ in your vocabulary and maintain the nonsense language of zero. The insurance industry exists because of the reality of fallibility whereas, the safety industry lives in denial.
Similarly, search for words like: compliance, vigilance, policing, complacency and punishment and you will be overloaded with the favourite language of safety. Trawl through conferences, policy documents, standards and media and discover what Safety talks about. Research what are the common images of Safety and calculate the percentage focused on objects.
Censorship never works by edict or regulation. It works unconsciously by indoctrination, repetition, propaganda and silence. Take for example the preoccupation with the word ‘professional’ in the safety industry. There is no more spruiked word in the industry that the word ‘professional’. Indeed, its excessive use clearly demonstrates an obsession with not being professional. Propaganda works under the formula that if you say something often enough then it must be true. However, you won’t find any in-depth research or definition in the safety industry about what it means to be professional. There is no ethic of safety in the safety industry.
So, let’s have a look at the SIA BoK OHS Risk and Decision Making , and see how the industry censors knowledge:
- There is only one mention of the word ‘unconscious’ in the text and even then it misunderstands what the unconscious is.
In the same text there is no mention of the word ‘fallible’ indeed, no definition of how humans make decisions. How strange in a work on Human Decision Making.
The word ‘heuristic’ is used once and only three cognitive biases are discussed as if heuristics are not the major mode of decision making.
The word ‘anthropology’ doesn’t appear in the text neither is the word ‘learning’ defined.
There is no discussion at all of how social arrangements affect decision making nor any discussion of critical social psychological factors determine decisions. (Social context is not social psychology)
Interestingly, the SIA BoK OHS Risk and Decision Making has no concept of personhood but rather assumes a behaviourist-cognitivist approach to human thinking. Poor old safety locked in the same old paradigm with no access to a transdisciplinary approach to human personhood.
The list of key thinkers still has a focus on the binary model of Kahneman with only one mention of Wilson’s obscure text on the unconscious. Indeed, in the references most of the scholars of importance in human decision making are not there. Oh but yes, plenty of the old favourites in safety orthodoxy.
There is no discussion or mention of the concept of semiotics (how signs and symbols affect decision making), semiosis (meaning in decision making), motivation, the psychology of perception, antifragility, psychology of goals or homeostasis. It is in the best interests of zero to be silent on all these. Otherwise one cannot maintain the masquerade of cognitivist-behaviourist blame and punitive discourse.
The cognitivist-behaviourist assumptions of the text have decision making locked into the human brain, with no concept of all of how the mind works or any mention at all of the ‘embodied’ mind or any of the latest research from neuroscience about decision making. Poor old safety tied to 1930s models of decision making with humans as rats in a cage (https://safetyrisk.net/95120-2/).
There is no mention in the text of the many critical social psychological realities in decision making that are well known like: diffusion of responsibility (by-stander effect), Stanford Prison Experiments, the work of Zimbardo (Lucifer Effect), Authoritarian Personality, Milgrim’s experiments on obedience, social politics, automaticity, belief congruence, binary opposition, bounded rationality (Herbert Simon), cognitive dissonance (Festinger), the nature of faith-belief, day-dreaming, enactment, priming, framing, definition of habit or habituation, implicit knowledge (Polanyi), mimetics or reciprocal determinism. Hmmm, quite a list.
Indeed, there is so much missing from the text about Human Judgement and Decision Making that it could at best be described as a ‘Body of Quarter Knowledge’. Yet, the word ‘professional’ occurs at least 25 times.
The SIA BoK OHS Risk and Decision Making is a perfect example of how censorship works in safety.