No Hope for Humans in Zero Harm

No Hope for Humans in Zero Harm

zero harm

Last week Greg Smith and I hosted a 2 day workshop on Due Diligence at the Wayside Chapel Kings Cross. What better place to understand the nature of diligence, neglect and hope. We met in the seminar room (see pics below) and were catered for by the people from the Daily Living and Hospitality Program. You can find out more about Wayside here:

The purpose of the Due Diligence Program is twofold: to dispel the many myths in the WHS industry about the nature of Due Diligence and provide skill development to develop assurance in the management of risk at work.

Everywhere you look at Wayside you meet people who for no fault of their own have been injured by life and are looking for hope. Sometimes the trigger is as simple as a broken relationship or a loss of work. The last thing anyone needs at Wayside is cheap judgement and simplistic naïve binary theories about suffering and harm. The first thing everyone needs in life is hope not the absolute of zero.

The Due Diligence workshop starts with seeking clarity about how people define Due Diligence. On every occasion I see just how much people have been indoctrinated by the mythology and symbology of Safety. Most people have Due Diligence parcelled in some concept of regulation. The fundamental misunderstanding is about the ethical nature of Due Diligence as a ‘moral contract’ in social engagement. Fundamentally diligence is a disposition towards others and negligence is the abuse of others. Interestingly, the law understands the nature of ‘accidents’ and ‘mistakes’ these are both very different than negligence.

One of the trajectories of the language of zero is intolerance, the opposite of hope. On day two of the Program we heard the story of Rob Holt, one of the workers at wayside and he demonstrates just how hope works. His story will be on ABC TV on 24 November on One Plus One ( Rob showed how so easily a very successful professional life can turn sour and then how through hope and relationship a life can be rejuvenated. The last thing Rob ever needed was zero tolerance.

The Due Diligence Workshop is directed by Greg Smith who provides examples of case law that shows the ineffectiveness of paperwork to assure due diligence and just how much of typical WHS ‘paper systems’ will be used against you in a court. Greg also demonstrates how the ideology of zero and cardinal rules backfires in a court room.

From my perspective I show how the ideology of zero fosters a culture of brutalism and how intolerance crushes people and provokes depression, anxiety, distrust and mental illness. Just imagine what would happen if WHS counted mental illness as an injury? There goes any chance of zero! The ideology of zero is really about the selectivity of what one ‘counts’ as injury and much of the game playing in safety counting demonstrates the nonsense of zero.

Of course the nature of anxiety, depression, mental illness and related substance abuse is the core work of Wayside.

When I post out a copy of my book For the Love of Zero ( btw, the only publication against zero in the safetysphere, I often write:

‘There is no hope for humans in zero’ or ‘the ideology of zero offers no hope for humans’.

Why do humans need hope?

The black and white binary view of the world doesn’t understand grace, hope and forgiveness, it loves brutal justice – but only for other people. Zero doesn’t understand the nature of ‘accidents’ or how things can emerge through no fault of your own. Interestingly, the court does understand this just WHS doesn’t, who in an astounding claim to professionalism has absolutely no study of ethics in any WHS curriculum.

The reality of life tells us that misfortune can be just around the corner, things go bump in the night and sometimes wheels fall off the wagon when least expected. But Safety doesn’t want this message and maintains the nonsense language of ‘safety is a choice you make’ in total denial of the randomness and social nature of life. This is why the binary worldview of Safety loves brutalistic judgement of others in denial of bad luck and randomness. This is why the most common metaphor for Safety is that of the hero, totally out of touch with reality. The hero can’t be ordinary, the hero is superior, the hero takes control and dominates and rescues others, robbing them of any opportunity to learn and discover ownership.

When we understand the importance of the psychology of hope we know that humans need:

· Hope not heroes

· Presence not presents (not blind positive psychology)

· Care not compliance

This is the spirit of Due Diligence






Dr Rob Long

Dr Rob Long

Expert in Social Psychology, Principal & Trainer at Human Dymensions
Dr Rob Long

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Dr Rob Long
PhD., MEd., MOH., BEd., BTh., Dip T., Dip Min., Cert IV TAA, MRMIA Rob is the founder of Human Dymensions and has extensive experience, qualifications and expertise across a range of sectors including government, education, corporate, industry and community sectors over 30 years. Rob has worked at all levels of the education and training sector including serving on various post graduate executive, post graduate supervision, post graduate course design and implementation programs.

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