Competition Winner – Crazy Safety Campaigns
One of the most interesting outcomes of the competition is the number of people who posted me crazy stuff but who didn’t want to be identified for fear of losing their job. I will be sending these people a gift of a book but they don’t want to be identified in a blog. This also happens when anyone challenges zero in the workplace. If you question zero then it’s usually the sack. Nothing like having a mortgage to help uphold the tyranny and brutalism of Zero.
It says a great deal about an industry and its culture when anonymity is so critical. In such a culture there can be no debate, no listening, no questioning it’s comply or the sack.
No matter how dumb and juvenile the campaign is like Mum’s for Safety or unethical like Dumb Ways to Die or alienating like Hazardman, the last thing that emerges is a campaign that focuses on the everyday skills (https://safetyrisk.net/everyday-safety/ ; https://safetyrisk.net/everyday-simple-safety-leadership/ ) of doing safety. I know, let’s do something completely different and run a conference workshop on counting hazards, modifying systems and talking injury rates, brilliant!
Some of the entries to the competition were also interesting not because of silly posters and language but, because the workplace completely resisted any language for an ethic of care or helping in safety. This of course demonstrates significant skill in critical thinking (https://safetyrisk.net/critical-theory-critical-thinking-and-safety/ ), not by what is present but by what is absent. This is one of the activities we do in the Introductory model to SPoR (https://cllr.com.au/product/an-introduction-to-the-social-psychology-of-risk-unit-1-free-online-module/ ). First up is a Language Audit where we look at the language and semiosis (construction of meaning) in language of an organization. It’s easy to do. Just get out your company’s policies and analyse the language used, what is said and not said about risk and safety.
I once got an email from a safety executive in a global tier one organization who tried to get the word ‘helping’ in their WHS Vision Statement and was howled down by the Executive for even making such a suggestion. The truth is, safety in that company is most often seen as a brutal activity of prowling and policing. This is of course ably assisted by the safety curriculum and AIHS BoK that says nothing on an ethic of care or helping! When you look at Frameworks of IOSH or INSHPO, the same.
So, I can’t announce who the winner is and I can show the winning entry. Here it is ‘Work Safe or Die’ complete with skull and crossbones. How motivational is that! NOT! Why is it that Safety comes up with this terrible stuff? I think you may know why.
Of course, when the safety world is devoid of language about: an ethic of helping, care, a curriculum on ethics, psychology of motivation or psychology of goals, this is what you get. This is what this industry encourages through the brutal work of behaviourism. It’s not about ‘work safe and live’ but always the punitive focus, the deficit focus and of course always with the absence of any semiotics about persons. The focus is on death and safety is used as a threat. In the psychology of risk and motivation using any semiotic such as this actually drives the opposite of what is intended. Using a good thing as a threat actually turns that thing into a negative. This is 101 stuff.
How strange this industry that seeks to be professional and seeks to make workplaces safer, that has no interest in the psychology of goals, psychology of motivation, social psychology of influence, the nature of the human and collective unconscious, Transdisciplinarity and, cultural semiotics. And, not even the will to learn about such!
However, if you are interested in doing something that actually works (https://www.humandymensions.com/product/it-works-a-new-approach-to-risk-and-safety/ ) perhaps you’d like to sign up for the next FREE online Introduction to SPoR Module that will be offered in September (https://cllr.com.au/product/an-introduction-to-the-social-psychology-of-risk-unit-1-free-online-module/ ).