CSEE Proposal for an OnLine Ethics Course
I see with interest the Canadian Society for Safety Engineering (CSSE) advertising for the development of an ‘Ethics Course’. Of course it’s not an ad for the development of an ethics course, it is an ad to develop a course that confirms a code of ethics. A code of ethics is not a course in ethics just as the AIHS BoK on Ethics is not a Chapter on ethics.
The goals of this supposed ‘course’ are defined in the advertisement of proposal (Figure 1. CSSE Course Proposal) and these are:
· Describe the BCRSP Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct
· Describe each of the standards of the Code and how they apply to Professional practice
· Describe what Compliance with Code of Conduct includes
· Demonstrate understanding of the Code of Conduct that includes: adherence, accountability and where to find supporting policies and processes
Of course, these expected outcomes are not about a course in ethics, neither are these goals about critical thinking, understanding ethics, learning or professional practice. Key words in the expectations of the outcomes of these goals are a giveaway: describe, compliance, adherence, accountability, policies and processes. Sounds so much like the deontological ethics that the AIHS has tried to pass off as ethics (https://safetyrisk.net/the-aihs-bok-and-ethics-check-your-gut/). Studying ethics and learning about ethics is essentially engaging with the complexities of moral and ethical decision-making. Of course the AIHS BoK chapter on ethics proposes that these are the same and interchangeable, a sure giveaway that they have no idea about ethics.
Just do a quick search of any reputable university course in ethics and expected outcomes and you will get an idea what an online course in ethics should look like. For example:
This effort from the CSSE is simply a request to confirm a code of ethics not consider the methodology and ideologies of ethics embedded in such a code. Once again Safety rejects critical thinking in the place of compliance, a deontological ethic.
This proposal is not about learning about ethics in the workplace or critical thinking about ethics. No surprise, there are no goals to: learn about ethics, the development of wisdom in decision making, challenges of moral dilemmas, the unethical nature of zero or daily challenges for safety people in humanizing risk in systems that seek to dehumanize persons. Hey, what else could you expect from Safety proposed as engineering. The last place I would be seeking expertise, learning and wisdom about ethics is from engineers.
The key to understanding ethics is to engage in the competing values hidden in the workplace and hidden in safety activities. It is no wonder that in our survey (https://safetyrisk.net/take-the-zero-survey/ ) that 85% of over 1000 respondents target zero as generating unethical practice, deceitfulness and dishonesty. No code of ethics in safety even comes close to addressing such fundamental problems in the daily practical challenges of being a safety person in an organization.
Studying ethics fundamentally about critical thinking, understanding the nature of power and politics embedded in social practice and how to approach moral dilemmas in daily work. None of this is present in the AIHS BoK on ethics or this proposal from the CSSE.
If you want to learn about ethics and undertake a challenging course that will help you think critically about ethics, perhaps consider Module 17 with the Centre for Leadership and Learning in Risk (https://cllr.com.au/product/an-ethic-of-risk-workshop-unit-17-elearning/). You can read here about the learning outcomes of the program here.
If you register you will be mentored by Dr Long in Zoom sessions, watch a number of videos, keep a reflective journal, do a few reading, deconstruct the AIHS BoK on non-ethics and, undertake practical exercises relevant to your workplace regarding ethical decision making.
If you want to learn about the Social Psychology of Risk the fourth cohort and free offer commences in mid November, you can apply here: https://cllr.com.au/product/an-introduction-to-the-social-psychology-of-risk-unit-1-free-online-module/