What is it about the safety industry that thinks OHS qualifies one in everything? What is it about Safety that makes one a Teacher, Nurse, Social Worker, Epidemiologist, Hospital Administrator, Doctor, Lawyer and Brain Surgeon? Just because safety is a generic generalist study what gives Safety the right to enter into fields it knows nothing of and sprout forth with advice based on ignorance and arrogance? Why is it that expertise in safety only travels in one direction? Why is it that Safety only favours its own insular worldview, rejects the offer of Transdisciplinarity in understanding risk (https://safetyrisk.net/transdisciplinarity-and-worldviews-in-risk/) and listens to no-one. That’s right, Safety is the teller not the listener.
Well, we saw this insular, arrogant and ignorant paradigm demonstrated on 27 November in an AIHS Media release
This media release of ‘shoot from the hip’ non-diplomacy attacks the Commonwealth’s Infection Control Expert Group labelling this group as ‘ignorant, arrogant and out of touch with reality’. Is the kettle black?
You can view the expertise, qualifications and competence of this eminent group here: https://www.health.gov.au/committees-and-groups/infection-control-expert-group-iceg#members
The members of the ICEG group list experts and eminent professionals in the fields of: Medicine, Health, Allied Health, Nursing, Epidemiology, Hospital Administration and Infectious Diseases. ‘The Infection Control Expert Group provides expert advice and information to support best practice related to infection prevention and control in community, hospital and other institutional settings’.
The AIHS media release also states:
‘the fact that critically important workplace health and safety practices are all but missing in many hospitals’.
What an astounding claim from a group like the AIHS that has no expertise in Hospitals, Health or Medical sectors. Why would the ICEG pay any attention to an amateurish group that parades the language of ‘professionalism’ with a closed WHS Curriculum and narrow body of knowledge infused with a love of objects and zero harm? There is simply no comparison between the education of Medical, Health and Allied Health professionals to the training and insular world of Work Health and Safety. Dunning-Kruger nailed it (https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/basics/dunning-kruger-effect ).
The media release goes on in an attempt to shame the ICEG by stating how little the ICEG knows about what is happening on the ground. Oh I get it, only Safety knows about Hospitals and Epidemiology and no amount of Health expertise is a match for a Diploma OHS!
Further the media release claims:
‘hospitals did not apply the proper health and safety controls to protect them’.
Poor old Hospitals, all they need is to be bogged down with safety paperwork (https://safetyrisk.net/proof-of-safety-is-not-through-paperwork/) meaningless bureaucracy (https://safetyrisk.net/bureaucracy-and-paperwork-in-ohs/) and endless process that don’t make people safe. Safety seems to be the only trade in the game that believes its own lies.
But it gets better in the media release:
‘The guidance on those controls comes in part from groups like the ICEG. The comments from ICEG members represent a total failure to understand the responsibilities of the ICEG, to adopt that responsibility, and to accept that the advice it was providing was inadequate’.
Ah, I get it, only Safety knows how to run a group like the ICEG. Ah, but there is more. The AIHS comments:
‘We have serious problems with the culture of hospitals when it comes to worker health and safety. Those problems have been laid bare by the COVID-19 crisis, and they cannot get solved unless they are acknowledged. The comments from the ICEG reflect the same hubris and lack of understanding throughout the healthcare system about this issue’.
How fantastic to lecture others on culture when you have no expertise in culture. Indeed, the BoK Chapter on Culture demonstrates just how pathetic Safety is when it comes to this Discipline. That’s right, ‘culture is what we do around here’. How embarrassing. Poor little olde Safety, closed in its own world defined by itself throwing darts at the boogie man outside who knows nothing about safety. An then this:
‘The notion that workplace health and safety in hospitals is good, is a myth’.
How astounding, how arrogant, how embarrassing. Why would the ICEG pay any attention to meaningless noise from a group that screams ‘zero harm’ from the rooftops in fear of hormesis. Why would you pay attention to an industry that doubles its own bureaucracy every 5 years? Ah, what hospitals need is more dehumanisation, more policing of petty risk, zero harm and brutalism.
Perhaps you should read the whole AIHS media release to get a sense of just how ill-informed and arrogant it is. Is this the group that represents you?
The media release even labels the ICEG as offering ‘lazy comments’ in clear contradiction of its own argument that a comment of laziness is unprofessional. Poor old Professors and Medical experts are offered this:
‘because the ICEG and other infection control groups do not yet properly understand the problem’
How wonderful to become an Epidemiologist and Risk expert in Hospitals with a qualification in safety. How dumb one becomes when after 40 years of experience and expertise in Medicine, Hospitals, Specialist Health and Allied Health one needs to be lectured by an association that struggles for an identity and has no vision. Amazing all those medical degrees, extensive experience and post-graduate Health degrees on the ICEG that are meaningless when all one needs is a degree and experience in safety. Can someone pass me a SWMS template ((https://safetyrisk.net/the-template-trap-and-paper-safety/) and another slips, trips and falls checklist?
What kind of thing jumps out of its own infected skin to lecture others about skin disease? What kind of thing politicises the issue of Health from a base of ignorance? What kind of thing shouts ignorance from the rooftops to others who swamp them in expertise, qualifications, education, learning and experience? Oh yes, that’s right – Safety. No wonder people are ashamed of the job of safety when this is the kind of thing paraded on the airwaves.
Rob Long says
Adam, when your world is small and you imagine it as more than it is you lose perspective through introversion, you imagine that everyone else sees the world like you. In associations that are insular with one string on their fiddle, the power of power becomes an end in itself. You demonise all enemies and make everything a political measure of loyalty to brand or club. This is 101 for social psychology and explians many things we know about the Stanford Experiment, Milgram, Lewin, etc etc. When your glass house is imagined as a fotress, you throw rocks and wear the consequences.
It’s about power and control. From the ‘Reichstag is burning, we need to save you’ to ‘we’ve got to monitor every email because there’s bad people who want to screw with you’, those who make the rules care little for the masses but crave power and control; they recognize that a critical part of nullifying resistance is to spice their propaganda with fear porn. And it works so we will continue to be bombarded by it until we collectively find a way to discern the facts from the bs. At the rate we’re going I predict that will happen in the year 20never. Technocracy rising.
Rob Long says
I was in Hospital 3 weeks ago and had my gallbladder removed and had lots of time to study the work of nurses and doctors, a more professional mob you couldn’t see. Just imagine telling these people who deal with suffering each day that their motto should be zero harm. Just imagine telling your surgeon who risks losing lives each day that slips trips and falls are a priority. Just imagine wasting the time of these people with a SWMS or some other irrelevant waste of paper.
The massive challenges for these people with mental health on site is off the scale only to be told by some safety fool who knows nothing except hazards, objects and brutalism that zero and behaviourism are the way to manage mental health.
This charge by the AIHS for some semblance of relevance is an indictment of all that has developed in safety over the past 30 years. When you have no vision people perish.
Bernard Corden says
….” because ICEG and other infection control groups do not yet properly understand the problem.”
I can envisage the following at most ICUs in major hospitals:
Danger! Door opens inwards!!!!!
Danger Detergent! Do Not Drink!!!!!!!!!!!
Safety is Your Responsibility stickers on wash room mirrors
Danger!!!!!!! Hot Water!!!!!
Zero Harm embroidered into high visibility operating theatre gowns
Imagine conducting behavioural safety observations on an operating theatre surgeon using pejorative descriptors such as eyes on task, situational awareness and eyes on path.
This is what many electricians and other qualified tradespeople have to endure across construction sites every single day under a rubric of righteousness.
Over to you safety thought leaders and delusional bloggers.
Someone just wrote to me telling me that hospital staff refused to help his elderly mother, in serious pain, out of her bed to go to the toilet because, even though they wanted to help, they were constrained by health and safety and manual handling rules – he was disgusted and did it himself
A friend of mine works in a large public hospital and recently asked me for ideas to help her win the safety slogan competition they were running
Rob Long says
My daughter works in post op in Canberra Hospital and is in her second year out after graduating with a dual degree in Nursing and Paramedics. I experienced her studies was amazed at the professionalism and transdisciplinarity nature of learning. She too has worked in the past for me in safety and considers the safety world a joke. It is one of the most immature disciplines on the planet.
Bernard Corden says
Dr. Anthony Stephen Fauci (ChOHSP) must be having a few sleepless nights.
Rob Long says
Only Safety could be this adversarial and think people must bow to its imprimatur. Last time I looked Safety looks like a rabble looking for a hole who crawl down. No vision, no leadership, tunnel knowledge, one string violin and wonder why no-one pays attention.
I wrote to the ICEG and they have never heard of the AIHS, how interesting. So much for ‘A coalition of expert organisations has been trying for months to bring to the attention of the ICEG the fact that critically important workplace health and safety practices’.
Legends in their own lunchbox but a great way to piss people off and not be taken seriously. Oh yes, and so professional.
Bernard Corden says
The media release was sent out after lunch on a Friday afternoon. It reminds me of Leonard Cohen’s version of the Dunning Kruger effect in the lyrics from Closing Time………”and the Johnnie Walker wisdom running high”