Essential Ethics for Safety and Safety Prohibitions
Whilst it seems ethical to talk about ethics in safety some critical elements of ethical conduct are often missing in these discussions. So let’s talk about some ethical essentials when we discuss the notion of ethics. Here are a few basics when it comes to ‘being’ ethical:
· Ethical practice
· Social politics
· Critical thinking
The moment one seeks to question the nature of ethics or the idea of compliance/duty (a deontological ethic) you will find out quickly all about the ‘Safety prohibitions’.
A deontological ethic as is evidenced in the AIHS BoK chapter on ethics is actually counter to ethical conduct. The insistence on duty and compliance mitigates the essentials of ethics listed above. Just look at the list above and search for them in the AIHS BoK on ethics. What do you find?
Apart from this blog, where is Safety held to account? Apart from this blog, where is the dehumanising unethical conduct of Safety questioned? If safety wants to be ethical then it should have the capability to stand up to scrutiny, questioning and the accountability it loves to talk about.
Unfortunately Safety doesn’t want the essentials of ethics it just wants to talk about blind compliance/duty. You either comply with the narrative of the associations, regulator or orthodoxy or will be marginalised.
Safety doesn’t want debate, it just wants compliance. Safety doesn’t want scrutiny, it loves compliance. Safety doesn’t want critical thinking, it just wants zero. This is your duty so comply. This is the message of the AIHS BoK on ethics. As long as you can count and comply, you get in the Safety club. If you debate and question, you will be ‘made’ the pariah of safety.
If you want to find out if this is the case just question any of the Safety ‘sacred cows’. There is no greater de-sacralism than to question the sanctity of safety. Here’s a few to start with:
· Question the value of paperwork and suggest that it is not a defence in court.
· Question the mumbo jumbo models of incident investigation.
· Question behaviourism
· Question the risk matrix.
· Question the Bradley Curve.
Oh and of course, never question zero, the golden calf of safety soteriology. Don’t question that global mantra that we are agnostic about (ha! Ha!), that features in every nook and cranny of the Safety cathedral.
Give it a go and write to me and tell me what happens.