Scars and Wounds on The Inside

imageThe risk industry is an ocular-centric industry. Harm is only harm when it can be ‘seen’ and counted. In this way harm can be validated and measured. So, when it comes to safety the eyes have it.

Unfortunately, seeing is NOT believing. The pathway to perception is not just through the eyes but rather through all our senses and in an embodied way. If one only believes what one can see then one doesn’t understand belief. The STEM-only worldview that anchors to the construction of a ‘scientific method’ needs evidence for what is believed. And whilst there is some validity in empiricism not all eggs should go in the one basket.

Of course the safety industry is the industry of zero ( and not just zero but the commitment of belief and faith in zero, for there is no evidence for zero. All entropy is the contradiction of zero, all fallibility is the contradiction of zero and all mortality is the contradiction of Zero. One needs an enormous dose of faith to ‘believe’ in zero ( ), in denial of reality. This is why safety must move to religious language and metaphors looking for salvation.

The ocularcentrism of safety needs measures because only what can be ‘seen’ counts as evidence. This is because the counting of numbers and injury is considered evidence of ‘safety’ and ‘unsafety’, when it is not. If you have any injury rate above zero then there hasn’t been the presence of Safety.

This poses a huge dilemma for this oculacentric industry.

How can it measure and count the scars and wounds of people on the inside when they cannot be seen. Just think about what comprises scars and wounds on the inside! Unfortunately for Safety, the lover of behaviourism, many of the scars and wounds on the inside don’t result in behaviours to be measured.

When it comes to ‘broken hearts’, ‘disturbed minds’ and mental health Safety can’t go to the seen or ‘behaviours’ for evidences of what to count. Instead it must accept verbal testimony or the testimony of psychiatry, psychology or other health professionals to deem injury and harm. And real professionals don’t ‘believe’ in zero. Real professionals know that the scars and wounds on the outside are relatively easy to heal, it’s the scars and wounds on the inside that put Safety completely out of its depth. This is where the love of objects and measurement is out of place. This is because when one steps outside of measurement into a wicked problem ( ), all counting disappears. There is no ‘fixing’ for the scars and wounds on the inside (perhaps read Van Der Kock The Body Keeps the Score – )

When we know that real injury and harm is on the inside we need a new methodology for engagement, one for which Safety has never been educated. And if safety is about health and well being, then Safety is simply unprepared to even know how to dialogue with these Scars and Wounds. Indeed, Safety is not even educated to see them, all that matters is the LTI or TRIFR rate to deem safety. What a sad indictment of an industry, keen to project professionalism through its denials of reality and its religious belief in zero.

When all we care about is what can be counted then we focus most on what doesn’t count.

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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