Safety Icons and Communicating to the Unconscious

Safety Icons and Communicating to the Unconscious

Construction Working IndustryIt is not surprising that many organisations who ‘profess’ an interest in people use objects as their icons in safety. With slogans that are about how much they ‘care about safety’ (not care about people), they chose icons of hard hats, cones, glasses and barricades.

Words and icons are of critical importance because they communicate to the unconscious. This is why organisations like McDonalds, Woolworths, Virgin and Apple will haul you before the courts for any breach of their icon. If you want to find out just how important icons are to people who know their importance, just try to deface one and find out how far it will go. Now I’m not suggesting you go around vandalizing organisations, supermarkets, computer shops and churches but that cross means more than one realizes. With a lengthy history of ownership, that cross is the very identity of the church. That cross says, ‘this is who we are’. That apple symbol is non-negotiable, it is who we are.

When we chose an icon we say a great deal about our identity and brand, and on many occasions Safety chooses the brand and icon of an object as an identity.

I don’t particularly need to single out any one organization but just do a quick research project for yourself. Chose a company, observe their vision statement, look at their icon/brand and see if the focus is really people. Sometimes the word and brand just don’t mix. So, when an organization chooses a big zero as their logo the focus is not on people but on counting and numbers. When an organization chooses a hard hat as an icon, it is less concerned about people’s heads than the object that protects those heads.

One of the things that happens when we chose objects as icons and brands, they unconsciously drive us to treat people as objects too. The focus of the object unconsciously ‘helps’ align priorities so that safety becomes more important than people. In this way, in the name of safety, we can brutalise people, belittle people, bully people, rob people of their rights, thrive on power and do so all in the name of the ‘good’ of safety. What a strange ideology that preaches the safety of people but thrives on psychologically injuring them in the love of objects and numbers.

Dr Rob Long

Dr Rob Long

Expert in Social Psychology, Principal & Trainer at Human Dymensions
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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