When we hear the word fundamentalism, what images does it conjure up?
The concept of a fundamentalist comes from the publication of a set of books called the fundamentals in 1915. The notion fundamentalism comes from a set of ninety essays published between 1910 and 1915 by the Testimony Publishing company of Chicago. Fundamentalism usually has a religious connotation that indicates unwavering attachment to a set of irreducible beliefs. Does this sound like safety? For example, Zero Harm is an example of an irreducible belief. And it is a religious faith because it denies the reality of fallibility. Fundamentalism is also related to religious dogma, “Safety is a choice you make”, “All accidents are preventable” and “Safety saves Lives”. Such dogma is presented as binary, black/white propositions. “How many people would you like to kill today?”
So when we talk about putting the FUN into FUNdamentalism, what are we talking about? Where is the shift from one world view, to a new way of seeing the world?
I recently saw a website called https://safetyfundamentals.com . The website is focussed on the Fun in FUNdamentals. There is no suggestion of any change in safety fundamentals, or any shift in traditional safety worldview, but rather confirming that safety FUNdamentals should be made fun. The website itself confirms that traditional safety is not fun. But here are all the things that this website never mentions
All we learn from this website is making the traditional focus of safety (systems, hazards, behaviours), “more FUN”. You can even get some infographics on what this website is selling.: activity books, posters, and training activity books on all traditional favourites: systems, behaviours and hazards.
What the approach advocates is not any change to the FUNdamentals, but having FUN inside FUNdamentalism. So once you have purchased all the training books and activities, is there any move from traditional safety?
Once you have completed your Health Hazard Hunt, Scavenger Hunt and Safety Sort, you are still a FUNdamentalist. Just imagine, you can play all these activities and games and still believe in Zero. You can do 100’s of activities and still believe that all accidents are preventable.
And don’t forget to be funny about it. Apparently being a funny fundamentalist can be good for your heart, lower your stress, increase memory, give greater attention. This is putting the FUN back into FUNdamentalism. As long as your approach to safety doesn’t change.
Of course the favourites on this approach are gamification (role-play in systems), hazards (and controls) and behaviours (more BBS) and so you can empty your bank account so nothing changes in safety.
Where would we better place training activities, activity books and fun? Unless these help move away from fundamentals, there will be no learning. Unless there is a change in worldview it remains busyness within a worldview, not movement out of that worldview. Unless safety shifts away from it focus on systems, hazard and behaviours it is likely to not focus on People, Learning and Culture change.