Moving Away From Zero so that Safety Improves
One of the strongest emotions in safety is anxiety, this is evidenced in the fixation with zero and slogans like ‘all accidents are preventable’. What results from the binary ideology of zero and slogans like this is a culture of: blaming, punishing mistakes, numerics and a focus on petty risk. A toxic culture is an unsafe culture. A toxic culture is an unethical culture.
Whenever I work with an organization, zero and safety mythologies are the first things to go, if you want safety to improve.
However, the best way to demonstrate that things don’t fall over when this happens is to share the journey of a global organization that has done just this – moved away from safety mythologies and zero, so that safety will improve.
Those who criticize and are anxious about zero don’t realize they have been trapped into a culture vortex and don’t know how to get out. This is why the next global congress on safety (https://www.visionzerosummit.com/) continues to sustain the binary delusion of zero vision (https://safetyrisk.net/a-safety-sense-of-ethics/ ). Safety will never grow up or become professional, ethical and visionary (https://www.humandymensions.com/product/envisioning-risk-seeing-vision-and-meaning-in-risk/) until this toxic ideology is silenced.
In the following video one of the authors of ‘It Works, A New Approach to Risk and Safety’ Brian Darlington (https://vimeo.com/526759940) explains why he has documented the change brought into his organization.
Brian Darlington is no newcomer to safety, now Group Head of Safety and Health, Mondi Group. Brian’s 30 years of practical experience in risk and safety in South Africa and Europe are detailed in the book including his story of moving on from traditional safety. Moreso, Brian’s story is not just about moving away from traditional safety but a positive story of what he moves to. A practical approach that works! Hence the title of the book.The story of Brian’s organization could be told over and over by many organizations that move away from zero so that safety improves. In the front of the books on the Social Psychology of Risk (SPoR) you can read testimonies of managers and leaders in organisations (https://www.humandymensions.com/shop/) who have done the same – move away from zero so that safety improves.
In SPoR we have always focused on practicality and outcomes in risk and safety (https://spor.com.au/ ). SPoR is not just an academic idea without strong practical tools for change and skill development to support that change – to move away from zero so that safety will improve. As long as traditional Safety clings to zero, things can only get worse. This is why zero vision stifles vision.
The move away from zero and safety mythologies is also supported in SPoR by strong visionary studies and training that helps organisations sustain a new approach to risk and safety (https://cllr.com.au/).
Most safety people don’t believe in zero (https://safetyrisk.net/take-the-zero-survey/) and know it doesn’t work but have all the trouble in the world trying to move CEOs and GMs bogged down in zero. This predicament is aided not just by the global safety industry but also associations and peak bodies who also have zero vision. Many of those who advocate zero have no practical experience on the ground and believe that the marketing of zero will invoke vision. It doesn’t. It does the opposite. The only way to move forward and develop vision in safety is to move away from zero, to silence zero and start to humanize risk.
The book ‘It Works, A New Approach to Risk and Safety’ demonstrates how this can be done (https://www.humandymensions.com/product/it-works-a-new-approach-to-risk-and-safety/ ). The book ships from Europe and Australia.