Envisioning Risk in Canada
As I landed in Vancouver enjoying the snow-capped Rockies and myriad of islands, I wondered about meeting the ‘safety heretic’. After landing with a smashed bag and seeking a replacement I meet Jeff Lyth and we chatted about falling out with ‘the faith’ and about worldviews. This was my first meeting with Jeff the Safety Heretic and I must say, I haven’t had so much fun in years.
Jeff Lyth is founder of QSP Leadership (https://www.qspleadership.com/) and had organized a workshop which was conducted on 8 May with over 70 participants from a variety of industries, including safety people.
A great day was had by all in their first introduction to the Social Psychology of Risk (https://safetyrisk.net/understanding-the-social-psychology-of-risk-and-safety/ ).
What became apparent in the course of the workshop is that people in Canada are just as constrained by non-sense and excessive systems/bureaucracy as people in Australia. Many people know that the system is broken and are seeking something different but don’t know what to do. What new skills are required if one reduces dependence on ‘tick and flick’? What are the legal ramifications of tick and flick (https://www.humandymensions.com/product/risky-conversations/)?
Even so, the anxiety about reducing systems and bureaucracy was met with the same fear as is experienced in Australia. The same mythologies about legal obligations and regulatory mythology exists in the safety archetype worldwide. Perhaps the archetype is worse in Canada, as their accreditation system (https://www.bcrsp.ca/) dictates a curriculum and examination methodology that endorses safety mythology, antiquated leaning theory (https://bcrsp.ca/sites/default/files/Doc.024%20CRSPEX%20Candidate%20Handbook.pdf) and mono-disciplinary focus. The SIA in Australia and seeking to replicate this form of formal mis-education.
Jeff Lyth has consciously given up his crsp accreditation, thereby freeing up his mind and actions to undertake a real approach to risk beyond the indoctrination of Heinrich, Bird and Reason.
One of the key foci of the workshop was on semiotics, semantics and semiosis. How do language, text, discourse, iconography, signs and symbology create cultural structure? The language audit was as revealing there as it is in Australia. My current language audit data exceeds 5000 and reveals an astounding confirmation of toxicity associated with the language of safety.
The word ‘safety’ itself triggers more than a 70% deficit association in surfacing implicit knowledge. This is also confirmed by extensive MiProfile data.
You can see participants below working through the issues confronted by an SPoR approach to risk. It was a busy day introducing new thinking and practice into an industry screaming out for an escape from risk aversion and dumb down safety.
As part of the workshop we also had discussions around binary traps in language set out by the safety industry and the challenges of compliance ideology and discourse of professionalism. It’s clear that the folks in Canada have just as many challenges in orthodox safety discourse as we do in Australia.
I met many sharp people in my journeys in Vancouver including a range of innovators stepping outside of the accreditation system. One such innovator was Bob Nielsen. Bob is doing some great stuff in Road Safety with his Cone Zone Program. Bob’s work through experiential learning methodology was a delight to see (http://www.bridgingthegapsafely.ca/bob_nielsen.php).
The feedback from the workshop was extraordinary with plans already for more work in November in B.C. and Toronto.
As part of the visit I also presented the keynote at the launch of NAOSH week (https://bcrsp.ca/sites/default/files/Doc.024%20CRSPEX%20Candidate%20Handbook.pdf). One of the highlights of the launch was the welcome to country by the First Peoples presenter, Florence Dick. Florence’s welcome shared how her people think culturally about language, semiotics and holistic being. You can see her presenting below:
We have a long way to go in the risk community before we catch up to the cultural intelligence and holistic approach to risk of the Songhees people (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Songhees).
On the next leg of my trip was an intensive two day workshop in Calgary organized by Frank Garrett with a focus on Oil and Gas. You can see the group below and also hard at work learning about key SPoR concepts. We also had some great fun translating Aussie concepts as well. Who would have though that Canadians wouldn’t know what a ‘dobber’ is? The cultural translation was about much more than inter-cultural difference but more on what kind of organizational culture is being created by the toxicity of Safety.
It was great to meet a number of Canadians over this trip who have been studying with the Centre for Leadership and Learning in Risk (CLLR) (https://cllr.com.au/) in the last few years. One such student is Joseph Slavin and it was a delight to meet Joseph face-to-face and present to his certificate for completion of four SPoR modules (https://cllr.com.au/online-courses-overseas-students/). Joseph is part of a cohort of 120 students who are currently studying with CLLR. CLLR issued over 85 certificates on this trip.
It’s not long till I am in Belgium to run three intensive workshops in Leuven Belgium. You can register for the public workshop here: https://cllr.com.au/product/international-workshop-introduction-social-psychology-risk/
The next Modules being offered in Australia are only for ongoing students with Introductory modules only being offered in early 2019. CLLR only has an introductory intake in February and March unless one is an overseas student and in this case enrolment is continuous.