Making Safety Religious
There was an interesting article in the Conversation today by Chris Hartney arguing that ignorance/naivety about religious awareness tends to make one more religious. One doesn’t have to look very hard to demonstrate this is true in Safety. It is very clear now that the roots of the safety industry in engineering and science have set up this industry of zero to now become more religious than any religion faculty at any university.
Let’s explore a few examples:
The Spirit of Zero (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VIRXEuniWA ) video endorsed by ISSA (https://visionzero.global/videos ) is buried deep in the: metaphysics of miraculous healing, theology of salvation (https://safetyrisk.net/the-spirit-of-zero/ ), supernaturalism, religious semiotics, apocalyptic discourse, cultic belief and mystical iconography, more so than most works you would find in fundamentalist religions.
Without a transdisciplinary focus on learning and risk (https://safetyrisk.net/transdisciplinary-thinking-in-risk-and-safety/ ), Safety as Zero has marched headlong into religious discourse and doesn’t even know it. Hartney is certainly on the money when he states:
‘University campuses more generally will be affected, too. Students and staff will become less critical of religious claims when they see no scholarly force with the religious literacy and confidence required to seriously question those claims’.
In this case not universities but the monodisciplinary industry of Safety.
Where is the criticism of the religious claims of Zero-Safety? Where is the critical thinking of tying Safety to metaphysics and soteriology? Where is the expressing of caution as all these nonsense truth claims about zero are made? There is no evidence globally that zero ‘works’. Indeed, there is more evidence that the ideology of zero creates greater harm.
Yet, the industry continues to assert and attribute a connection between the ideology of zero and truth claims. This is ably assisted by religious dogma and mystical attribution, drawing Zero away from any possibility of practical criticism because it has been made a religious mantra. Once in such a space, the engineers and science worldview is out of its depth and has no equipment with which to think about it.
This is how we get safety people like Dekker writing biblical theologies about suffering and then apologising for using the word ‘faith’ (p.x1) and entering into theology.
Without some sense of competence and knowledge of religion and theology, one is more likely to drift into it. Hartney gets it so right.
Common Sensei (https://commonsensei.com.au/ ) is endorsed by the Housing Industry Association (HIA) and the iCare Foundation and promotes safety as a ‘sacred sense’ and ‘mystical’ wisdom. Here we have the bizarre claim that there is a form of sensmaking in safety that is akin to a Japanese mystical art! You can only get to such discourse via a complete ignorance of what you are asserting (https://safetyrisk.net/the-dangers-of-common-sense-language-in-safety/ ). Of course a Sensei is an ‘ordained’ Master and ‘spiritual’ leader. What person in their right mind in the safety industry would claim that a Diploma in Safety makes one a ‘sensei’. This is without any reference to the dangerous idea that ‘common sense’ even exists. The last thing anyone in safety should be asserting is that there is a common known knowledge about risk and that safety people can impart it.
What a crazy attribution to state that there is such a thing as ‘common sense’ but one needs a ‘sensei’ to communicate it? In other words such sense making is not common. The idea of common sense is a dangerous idea (https://safetyrisk.net/the-common-sense-fallacy/ ) which is why safety people exists, to help create common knowledge. Such an activity is not mystical but rather an ordinary everyday activity (https://safetyrisk.net/everyday-safety/ ). Safety is best delivered by people who are humble listeners and helpers ‘advising’ others in how they tackle risk. That is it! Any reference to metaphysical power is simply delusional.
How did Safety get to this end? Ah, just believe (https://safetyrisk.net/no-evidence-for-the-religion-of-zero/ ).
There are of course many more examples of how safety sets itself up as somehow unique in ‘saving lives’ (https://safetyrisk.net/safety-people-dont-save-lives/ ) and how the secular is made sacred (https://safetyrisk.net/how-the-secular-is-made-sacred-in-safety/ ) by this delusional ideology of zero. Any talk of ‘safety heaven’ (https://safetyrisk.net/heaven-n-hell-and-the-safety-religion/ ) and mystical, metaphysical meaning attributed to safety activities portrays such activities as sacraments and ritual (https://safetyrisk.net/safety-sacraments-and-rituals/ ).
Safety is now bogged down deep in a religious hole (https://safetyrisk.net/the-religion-of-safety/ ) that it will not be able to dig its way out without a transdisciplinary approach to risk.