One of the things Safety is good at is spin, reframing language so that meaning is anchored to gobbledygook. The use of spin, propaganda and misinformation is a ready way to market to the undiscerning to distract from Real Risk (https://www.humandymensions.com/product/real-risk/). For an industry that has no interest in Linguistics (https://cllr.com.au/product/linguistics-flyer-unit-21/ ) it does such a good job at making words meaningless. Zero serves as the best example, because it never means zero.
We also see the use of spin in Psychosocial Health, for example Hot Desking.
Of course, we try to not use the language of ‘hot desking’ anymore, it’s now ‘flexible seating arrangements’, ‘coworking spaces’, ‘hybrid working’ and ‘shared’ offices. All of this language is just spin for harming people using language that seems good.
The best way to harm people is to put a ‘zero harm’ flag outside the office, fly it high and then brutalise people in the name of good.
The evidence is clear, hotdesking is harmful (https://safetyrisk.net/selective-safety-and-well-being/ ):
The research is extensive, how we design and use space can make us sick (https://safetyrisk.net/sick-building-syndrome-and-the-problem-of-uncertainty/). See further: Sick Building Syndrome and
All use of place and space carries an ‘affordance’. An affordance is about the energy and directional bias that an object or space ‘affords’. Eg. a chair affords sitting, standing on it or holding a door open. A ball ‘affords’ throwing, kicking, catching etc.
There is no such thing a neutral objective design.
All design carries an affordance in how it influences what people do (https://safetyrisk.net/safety-silences-in-culture-affordances/). It’s just that Safety never talks about it. Two great resources for understanding affordance are:
· Bachelard, G., (2014) The Poetics of Space and,
· Letiche and Lissack (2011) Coherence in the Midst of Complexity
So, with all this noise about Psychosocial health, will Safety declare hotdesking a hazard? Not likely. After all, zero harm never meant zero harm.
Will FIFO and DIDO be declared a Psychosocial hazard? Not likely, regardless of the many National reports that demonstrate so:
Of course, the best FIFO companies are the ones that make the most noise about zero.
There is no better strategy for making a problem go away that reporting on it, then ignoring the report. Or,
Get an engineer to do a report on culture, Socialitie and fatalities in Mining (https://safetyrisk.net/brady-review-nothing-new-no-way-forward-2023/) and then call for greater vigilance when it’s clear it doesn’t work.
This is how spin works. Declare something ‘bad’ as ‘good’, and for gods sake make sure that your ethic blasts from the roof tops ‘duty’, ‘duty’, ‘duty’ (https://safetyrisk.net/the-aihs-bok-and-ethics-check-your-gut/). And don’t forget to ‘check your gut’. The ensure that Care Ethics are suppressed and proclaim the word ‘professional’ as much as possible while also suppressing the language of ‘helping’, ‘learning’ and ‘empathy’.
The great rule of Safety is to make sure you don’t bite the hand that feeds you. If a FIFO company declares The Love for Zero (https://www.humandymensions.com/product/for-the-love-of-zero-free-download/) be compliant and publish spin about how to manage FIFO or juggle the pros and cons (https://www.mpirecruitment.au/news/the-pros-and-cons-of-being-a-fifo-worker). This is how Safety spins the con. Hey, ignore the reports FIFO is good (https://catercare.com.au/resources/benefits-of-fifo/).
This is how compliance works!
This is how compliance culture works (https://safetyrisk.net/you-dont-want-a-compliance-culture/; https://safetyrisk.net/the-compliance-conundrum/ ). And make sure to suppress critical thinking as anti-safety).
These are just 2 examples (FIFO and Hotdesking) that demonstrate that all this noise about Psychosocial health is window dressing, superficial and facile.
However, if you want to know what works, you can explore a SPoR case study of how SPoR is enacted in a workplace (https://www.humandymensions.com/product/it-works-a-new-approach-to-risk-and-safety/) so that persons matter.
Do you have any thoughts? Please share them below