Mixed Messages but No Redemption
The idea of redemption is not common language in the world of safety although it is closely tied to the idea of being saved. It is interesting that the safety world is keen to hold to ‘safety saves’, ‘safety heaven’ (https://safetyrisk.net/heaven-n-hell-and-the-safety-religion/), ‘safety sacraments’ (https://safetyrisk.net/safety-sacraments-and-rituals/) and ‘cardinal rules’ (https://safetyrisk.net/commandments-cardinal-and-life-saving-rules/) yet avoids the language of ‘redemption’. Still knowing Safety, it won’t take long and I’m sure the language of redemption’ will surface somewhere as safety continues to speak the delusions of zero.
The idea of redemption is that of deliverance. In the case of zero vision, deliverance from harm. The idea being that if one keeps to the ‘cardinal rules’ or zero methods one will achieve zero.
So, I was curious when I came across this image in an airport a few years ago that seemed to mix every message of Christmas together: the redemption message of the birth of Christ, a Santa hat, Spongebob swinging on a rope all set against some strange shaped head. However, the more I looked at this conglomeration of mixed messages, the more I thought of Safety (https://safetyrisk.net/all-that-you-dont-see-in-messaging/). This is the kind of mixed messaging that leads to Meerkat safety (https://safetyrisk.net/meerkat-mythology-in-safety/) and sexy safety (https://safetyrisk.net/safety-isnt-sexy-and-it-shouldnt-be/). This is the kind of mixed messaging that makes safety meaningless.
One of the most profound impacts of the ideology of zero is the endless mixed messages that are projected to avoid the idea that zero is an unachievable numeric.
The more you look at all the messaging about ‘zero’ the more it becomes meaningless, like Spongebob swinging on a monster face with Santa hat stating redemption. Apparently zero means all of the following:
· A strategy and ideology (https://visionzeronetwork.org/about/what-is-vision-zero/)
· A claim to being ethical (https://at.govt.nz/projects-roadworks/vision-zero-for-the-greater-good/) through an unethical mantra of absolutes. The idea of zero cannot consider a ‘common good’ because a common good required tolerance.
· A political commitment and network (https://visionzeronetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/VZN-9-Components.pdf)
· A claim to vision through a number and metrics that of course cannot convey vision.
· A ‘code of conduct’ (http://read.linfox.com/the-linfox-way/be-safer-vision-zero/)
· A statement of numerical un-achievement (http://saferoaduse.unhcr.org/about-vision-zero/). Amazing how zero organisations always count the number of times they don’t achieve zero.
· A ‘safety culture’ dialogue and semiotic (http://visionzero.global/dialogue-forum-safety-culture) or a ‘zero harm culture’ (https://new.siemens.com/global/en/company/sustainability/safety/zhc.html)
· A form of vigilance and policing (https://new.siemens.com/global/en/company/sustainability/safety/zhc.html)
It seems you can make zero mean anything except admitting it is a dehumanizing ideology that brutalises people and creates confusion (https://safetyatworkblog.com/2017/09/15/vision-zero-zero-harm-wtf/).
We do however understand the idea of having ‘redeeming qualities’ or ‘redeeming’ something in exchange for payment such as a voucher in payment for goods but there is nothing redeeming about zero. There is nothing redeeming about the brutalism required to enforce zero (https://safetyrisk.net/data-cannot-drive-vision/). There is nothing redeeming about dehumanizing people because one’s vision is consumed by objects and a number (https://safetyrisk.net/envisioning-and-creativity-in-safety/). There is nothing redeeming about endless paperwork that has no meaning and little legal value.