There is nothing more scary in safety than not having control or at not being able to talk about controls. How strange that the subject of safety that is about risk and all about uncertainty should be so fixated on controls. Of course with control comes power but in safety when you read about controls and telling people what to do, there is never any discussion about power. Awareness about power is the elephant in the room for Safety.
One of the things that tends to attract people to safety is the power of power, the power to control. I find it interesting how many people come into safety from the military. Nothing is more seductive than earning the power to control over others with just a Cert 4 in safety. Telling others what they should and shouldn’t do is the power of this seduction. This is why Safety loves to talk about controls but never talks about associated power. BTW, there is plenty of talk about control in the AIHS BoK but nothing on the nature of power or the politics of power/control. Predictably, there is nothing in the BoK Chapter of Ethics on power either. How bizarre, because an understanding of power and politics is the beginning of developing an ethic. Of course, the AIHS BoK on Ethics all about duty and deontological ethics (https://safetyrisk.net/the-aihs-bok-and-ethics-check-your-gut/) and of course, no assumption of a deontological ethic is declared in the text.
Safety is one of those industries that tend to attract the wrong people. People who love telling, controlling and power tend to find safety seductive. What awesome power when you can be sacked by someone masked through the motive of care and zero. Where else can you get such raw and absolute power?
If one is focused on learning then power and control cannot be your focus. If one if focused on helping (something attached to all professions except safety) then learning is about facilitation, discovery, creativity, innovation, faith, trust and the relinquishing of control. The pathway of learning is not the pathway of power or overpowering others. The least helpful thing in any situation of learning is telling.
One of the best blogs ever written on this site was by Rob Sams 6 years ago (https://safetyrisk.net/are-you-a-safety-crusader-or-a-safety-leader/). Rob is now a GM at Lifeline and enjoying his role in a helping profession outside of safety. Rob often refers to his first degree in safety as a ‘degree in objects’. One of the things that his blog captures so well is the attraction of crusaders to this industry. More than ever this industry doesn’t need any crusaders. Crusaders stifle learning and crusades are all about power. Learning is the way of humility and risk is not about the way knowing but rather helping.