You have to hand it to Safety, the great myth maker of all time. The constant speaker of nonsense to people (https://safetyrisk.net/safety-experts-in-speaking-nonsense-to-people/).
Of course, this is from an industry that has no cognizance of linguistics, the effect or trajectory of priming/framing/anchoring, critical thinking nor the consequences of what its language creates in its own culture.
Just have a look at this nonsense from the Work, Health and Safety Show coming soon to Brisbane. The good old favourite myths: ‘safety is the number 1 priority’ is there and then this one: Figure 1. It is your responsibility to keep your workforce safe’
Figure 1. It is your responsibility to keep your workforce safe’
The sheer arrogance and ignorance of this statement is breathtaking. No wonder so many safety people get sacked in the workplace the first thing that goes wrong! No wonder the safety person gets a flogging over every injury they have to count! No wonder so many people leave this industry of crusading and brutalism.
The absurdity of this language is mind-blowing. The projection of what this statement implies is ridiculous.
But this is what safety does best. It presents nonsense indoctrination like this couples it with zero and other nonsense language like: ‘safety is a choice you make’ (https://safetyrisk.net/the-great-safety-is-a-choice-delusion/) and, ‘all accidents are preventable’ (https://safetyrisk.net/all-injuries-are-preventable-and-other-silly-safety-sayings/) and bingo, look at the culture of safety – ignorance, brutalism and irrelevance.
The reality is, I am NOT responsible for your behaviour or choices. The arrogance to think I have the right to override your culture (just read this goop from Hopkins – https://safetyrisk.net/safety-gives-me-the-right-to-over-ride-your-rite/ ) and being, is simply a quest for power, unfettered control and domination over others. This is how Safety ends up with all this concocted confusion and unethical conduct based on what it doesn’t know (https://safetyrisk.net/you-can-fool-someone-some-of-the-time-but-you-can-fool-safety-all-of-the-time/). Then asserts authority over others based on its ignorance.
Any slight investigation into unconscious cognitive bias (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_bias) or the myriad of unconscious social influences (Figure 2. Social Influences) rips to shreds the ignorant behaviourist/engineering worldview that is behind this crazy linguistics of Safety.
Figure 2. Social Influences
Of course, none of this is of interest to an industry that would rather have a good collection of myths/rituals than an ounce of risk intelligence.
Even when it projects about research, it’s not about research (https://safetyrisk.net/research-basics-for-safety/). When it talks about psychosocial ‘hazards’ its not about persons (https://safetyrisk.net/what-is-psychosocial-safety/). When it uses the word ‘professional’ it’s never about care, helping or ethics, it’s about the control of objects (https://safetyrisk.net/researching-within-the-safety-echo-chamber/). When it uses the word ‘learning’ it means indoctrination, training and schooling (https://safetyrisk.net/what-theory-of-learning-is-embedded-in-your-investigation-methodology/). Even when it talks about ‘neuroscience’ it’s just code for behaviourism (https://safetyrisk.net/more-safety-code-to-disguise-behaviourism/). Even when it uses the word ‘code’ it doesn’t mean code’ (https://safetyrisk.net/breaking-the-safety-code/ ). When it uses the word ‘zero’ it never means zero (https://safetyrisk.net/when-safety-zero-is-abusive/ ). This is how we end up in such silly linguistics about how Safety ‘saves lives’ (https://safetyrisk.net/safety-people-dont-save-lives/).
Such is the safety code (https://safetyrisk.net/deciphering-safety-code/) that declares what it is, by what it isn’t.
Most of all of this is about promising what it can’t deliver, selling products that don’t work, avoidance of the elephant in the room (moral philosophy and personhood) and regurgitating policing, paperwork, abuse and engineering as ‘thought leadership’.
For example, just look at the AIHS BoK, is mostly about the control of objects as is reflected in the latest Chapter (https://safetyrisk.net/researching-within-the-safety-echo-chamber/).
When you use the language of ‘hazards’ for psychosocial and mental health you clearly have no idea what you are talking about (https://www.whsshow.com.au/psychological-safety).
Just deconstruct any of this stuff, apply just a skerrick of discourse analysis and scratch the surface and you will find the projection of un-ethical conduct in the name of good. No wonder the favourite word of Safety is ‘control’ (https://safetyrisk.net/the-safety-anthem-control-all-and-all-in-control/). No wonder this industry thinks it has the right to bully, brutalise, abuse and victimise persons.
So let’s finish on a story that exemplifies this:
We were in a Zoom call this week with our friends in Brazil who are progressing through the SPoR curriculum and one of the participants mentions a nasty moment during a conference that week. He received a message on his phone that his daughter was very ill and so he stood up walked away and started to text back when all of a sudden a safety crusader (https://safetyrisk.net/are-you-a-safety-crusader-or-a-safety-leader/) berated him for texting while walking. Then when asked said crusader if he wanted to know the context and the crusader stated, he had no time for context or care, he was responsible for everyone’s safety.
This is what you get from the nonsense culture of safety crusading that believes its own lies and myths and then overpowers others in its own delusional lies of care. This is the outworking of this language we see projected by this safety show in Brisbane (partnered by the AIHS).
However, if you want to learn outside of this safety worldview there are two workshop series in SPoR that are available in Europe and Canberra:
- In Vienna from 26-30 June (https://safetyrisk.net/workshops-with-dr-long-vienna-austria-26-30-june-2023/) and
- Canberra 18-21 September 2023 (https://spor.com.au/september-canberra-workshop/).
These workshops will help you move away from engineering/behaviourism/positivism approach and the myth of objectivity and, discover methods that actually work to humanise risk (https://www.humandymensions.com/product/it-works-a-new-approach-to-risk-and-safety/).
I read your posts, mainly to challenge my own thinking – getting out of the echo-chamber as you might say. There is merit to be found in some of the ideas. Unfortunately, however, you never appear to reciprocate, failing to adopt a more nuanced or sophisticated approach in discussing ‘safety’. In this post, for example, you use one example of poor practice and extrapolate again to write off many people doing useful and positive work.
I recognise the failings of ‘safety’ and, after a long career, I think I know what good looks like. But I am constantly prepared to learn and challenge my own thinking. I only wish you could do the same.
Rob Long says
Chris, I hope you understand that discussing an archetype is not about the people in an industry.
For example. All of the examples cited are extensive and projected by associations, businesses and regulators.
How interesting that applying critical thinking to the linguistics of Safety is not nuanced or sophisticated. How amusing.
I never write off people. I am always available gif people, always open gif discussion and debate. Many people who know me know this.
You ought to notice that an attack on behaviourism, engineering or scientism is not an attack on a person but rather the toxicity of an ideology and indeed, how such ideology demonises and brutalises people.
I know of two researchers at the moment investigating this and how this industry brutalises safety people. That’s what this blog was about.,
How interesting from someone who doesn’t know me to assert so much in a response, indeed if you knew anything about Transdisciplinarity you would know I constantly seek challenge to my own thinking outside of my own disciplines.
If you are also prepared to learn and think out the box of course happy to discuss. But none from safety ever write to me or ask open questions.
There are also of course many peopl and organisations that discover that SPoR works and is positive, constructive and practical.