Originally posted on February 15, 2021 @ 3:31 PM
The Measurement Mindset in Safety???
Most human living is NOT measurable. Most of the things that are important to fallible persons, are not only NOT measurable, they shouldn’t be. Any effort to measure qualitative values demonstrates a psychosis with measurement itself, and this demonstrates one attribute of ‘the safety mindset’. The idea of a mindset denotes a broad disposition or orientation, which is why the word ‘mind’ is used, not ‘brain’.
A mindset is a set of philosophical assumptions associated with the way someone is oriented towards the world (worldview/ideology). So, I was not surprised to see that Safety is proposing to measure ‘a safety mindset’, whatever that means?.
Of course, if you want to know what Safety is oriented towards just look at the safety curriculum, global zero discourse or AIHS Body of Knowledge and you have your answer. From the evidence one can conclude that the safety mindset is characterized by: the adoration of objects, counting, dehumanizing, blaming, punishment, control, regulation, excessive paperwork, petty pissy risk and brutalism. The language one doesn’t hear in safety is: helping, care, ethics or personhood. So, the safety mindset is the last thing I would want on a worksite. Even then, you can know such a mindset is present, but it can’t be measured.
The last thing we need in the workplace is the mindlessness of dumb down safety. The last thing needed in the workplace is some safety crusader fixated on zero and the discourse of regulation. The last thing we need is waffle language about clear and focused minds, methodical attitudes and associated measures.
Anything that is qualitative is NOT measurable, neither should it be. This is why Safety needs to get a grip of Poetics (https://safetyrisk.net/a-poetics-of-safety/).
The Poetic world is a world of: art, dance, music, poetry, song, metaphysics, emotions and aesthetics that we turn to whenever we are confronted with significant experiences of human living. Despite all the knowledge we might have about life, we still turn to a song to express love, poetry for suffering and harm and, metaphysics to explain the mysteries and awesome experiences we all share. The last thing people turn to in the face of mystery or harm is science. Oh but not Safety, for Safety its always a number (https://safetyrisk.net/its-always-a-number/).
This recent proposal to ‘scientifically’ measure mindsets is evidence itself of the safety mindset. The last person I would ever want on my team in any organization is someone with such a safety fixation.
Even when Safety thinks it is saying something ‘different’ is uses quantitative linguistics to explain itself (https://safetyrisk.net/linguistics-and-risk/ ). When your global mantra for safety is zero, then the answer to every question is a number.
Bernard Corden says
Irrespective of the flavour of the month such as HOP, BBS or Human Factors it inevitably resorts to the black box psychology of Watson and Skinner and operant conditioning.
The brain does not make decisions it merely hosts conversations – Guy Claxton
Rob Long says
Bernard, the real giveaway in this kind of stuff is the language-discourse. Lets look at it, so a few questions to consider: What is a safety conscious organisation? Does this mean an organization that is unconscious is not safe? Who are the high performing people? How is performance measured? If you look at all this HOP stuff loved by Safety, its all just more anxiety about quanta. What is ‘the right mindset”? I’d be pretty sure a fixation on safety would make someone quite dysfunctional. What is an engaged, considered, methodical attitude? All points to a rationalist understanding of why things go wrong. More behaviorism, rationalism and cognitivism. What is mental control? Has no idea how the Mind works. What are lead safety metrics? and all of this connected to this mysterious thing called a ‘safety mindset’. Then ‘specific and adressable safety behaviours’ to improve safety systems? There you have it, BBS in sheep’s clothing, it’s all about rational cognition driving safety behaviours. Of course, none of this is even slightly connected to the best research on how humans make decisions nor who incidents occur. Classic safety anxiety for safety metrics and nothing changes.
Bernard Corden says
Meanwhile, the mine dust lung diseases toll on the Queensland Government – Business Queensland web page confirms there are now over 200 victims:
Rob long says
Bernard, where would you start. Every time I read stuff like this it’s always about process and systems.
I know what. I’ll measure you one ideology and two worldviews and raise you a safety disposition! Then divide the outcome by 3 climate surveys over the square root of 10 behaviours. Then square two mindsets by 4 attitudes and 3 safety values.
Then after you’ve emptied your bank account on seven safety mumbo jumbos, nothing will change.
Bernard Corden says
Most of the buffoons do not understand the difference between measuring and counting.
How do you measure incalculable attributes such as grief, love, care and compassion?
Any attempt at measuring such precious attributes extirpates their intrinsic value.
“The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection, that one is sometimes willing to commit sins for the sake of loyalty, that one does not push asceticism to the point where it makes friendly intercourse impossible, and that one is prepared in the end to be defeated and broken up by life, which is the inevitable price of fastening one’s love upon other human individuals.”
George Orwell – In front of your nose (1945-50)
Bernard Corden says
There was a safety crusader on one major coal seam gas project who was intent on measuring the project’s safety pulse.
This was accomplished via a qualitative survey with a series of questions with a Likert scale and categorical data.
Questions regarding the repeatability and reproducibility of the test method, confidence intervals and statistical significance produced the usual dumb blank looks.
Who the hell employs these dunderheads?