Safety Crusaders Shutdown

Safety Crusaders Shutdown

caped crusaderSo impressed to see a recent Safety Spud Head debate on Linkedin, initially latched on to and fuelled by the Safety Crusaders (See: Are You a Safety Crusader or a Safety Leader), then totally shutdown and owned by the impressive points made by Safety Leaders who get it and understand real risk. The debate started when the video of a 5 year old boy, starring in an advertisement for a pallet jack, was introduced (see below) and the question was asked: “Is this right or wrong?” For starters this is typical Safety Crusader binary language and that which supports concepts such as zero harm and all accidents are preventable. As Rob Long states in Binary Opposites and Safety Goal Strategythose who commit to zero in binary opposition thinking, then have to carry on with the most absurd semantic gymnastics and redefinition to try and make reality fit their discourse”. What Safety Crusaders do is to judge and control and push their own agenda from afar: without any concept of the context; without any conversation with those involved; with a binary use of legislation as their justification; with a belief that only they know what is best and all others are stupid; via the use of a memo or online forum; and, with absolutely no understanding of how people think, learn or are motivated.

Here are a few quotes from the debate:

Safety Crusaders (this is pretty much all they had):

  • Not impressed at all!
  • I vote “wrong”. Tom may be cute and (just) capable, he may have been instructed on each of the tasks he performs with the trolley jack, but safe he is not!
  • Is he inducted and if so does he understand? What would he do if the load shifted, or if the load was too heavy for him to move, would he hurt himself trying?
  • Jackpallet should receive a visit from the local regulators for this. Not clever…
  • appalling that a child is shown demonstrating how to use a pallet jack in what is clearly a work area.
  • There is an old saying that; “you can’t educate idiots”. This is wrong on so many counts – Child in workplace, PPE, control of load, endangerment to child and others, ergonomics, etc. Producers and Rack Pallet should face charges.
  • There is no way Tom had control over the load, he had no safety boots.
  • If you can’t see the inherent dangers in this perhaps it’s time to seek an alternative line of work.

Safety Leaders (so many awesome points and I wish I had room for all of them):

  • blind adherence to safety rules is not helpful. As ISO31000 tells us, one of the first steps in risk management is to ‘establish the context’.
  • The kid looked competent, great job.
  • Perhaps the ACT Hazardman should be notified to fly in and rescue poor little Tom from the scary pallet jack!
  • Really? what an awesome thing for a kid to have a go at! Controlled conditions, supervised, well trained. Lots of great messages about the ease and safety of the task when done correctly. Riding a bike or playing sport is many times more risky – we gonna ban that as well. Unfortunately Safety Crusaders have created a serious disdain for and joke of the word safety. This is not a case of child labour – its an ad and a bloody good one – it is not reality!
  • Great video and points out that it’s a simple thing to use and that safe ‘safety professionals’ may actually be complicating things by putting all these ‘controls’ in place.
  • I feel prompted to comment seriously now because you’ve obviously missed that I was being sarcastic. The fact that you (and others) appear to advocate a regulatory response to this seemingly benign event really demonstrates what is wrong with ‘safety.’
  • anyone who thinks that safety is about compliance, control, punishment, PPE and procedures are the ones who will soon find themselves looking for an alternative career – industry and society has had enough of this rubbish and starting to say enough is enough. Safety is about people, understanding how they make decisions and helping them learn how to discern and properly manage inherent risks which can never be effectively eliminated by autocratic control or even Hazardman as suggested by some!
  • At that age there are only things that you can’t do YET. Learning on the job with Dad in attendance, what better way to build skills and resilience. Great that Dad didn’t interfere when it was a little bit tough.
  • Interesting that the original question was right or wrong? Seems like this is the only question that happens in safety. I like grey and messy, makes me feel more human 🙂
  • I know that the current crop of bubble wrapping, compliance preachers won’t get this, but I am trying to pass on some of my risk taking and risk awareness capacity to my grandkids and I love helping them get up when they fall and fail – I’m just pleased that they have a go, take risks and learn.
  • At the risk of getting tramped ,Sam, yes I believe we do learn by taking risks. The old saying “risk little-win little”

The last time I saw this happen was when the Crusaders wanted a very popular reality TV renovation show shutdown because participants were not wearing PPE! Another victory for Safety Leaders (see Release the Safety Monster and Wreck a Good TV Show).

To all those who say that there is nothing we can do to fight the Safety Monster, then this is a great example to show that it can be done. I love the positive example Rob Sams recently gave in his article Conversation Corner – these kinds of approaches are like Kryptonite to the Safety Super Heroes – it totally weakens them and empowers the people they say they are trying to protect from themselves. Another great example is the UK Safety Myth Busters Campaign which; “provides a mechanism to independently challenge advice or decisions, made in the name of health and safety, that are believed to be disproportionate or inaccurate”.

So, I don’t think there needs to be anymore debate on the video but I would love to hear stories about how a Safety Crusader was defeated or thoughts on how we can make Safety a word that people understand and respect.


Do you have any thoughts? Please share them below