The Safety Charade as Tokenism in Safety

The Safety Charade as Tokenism in Safety

imageWe learn today that Boeing have been proud participants in the Safety Charade (https://www.humandymensions.com/product/the-great-safety-charade/). The Safety Charade is when you spruik the propaganda of safety, usually zero harm, and then go about your business with real belief running underneath in culture. BP is also another classic example (https://safetyrisk.net/the-bradbury-effect-bp-syndrome-and-trifr-stats/).

It is now clear that Boeing knew the 737 Max 8 was riddled with problems and did nothing about it. (https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-05-06/boeing-knew-737-problems-before-lion-air-ethiopia-crashes/11084326). No better example of the Safety Charade, zero harm indeed.

Of course the safety motto for Boeing is ‘Go for Zero One Day at a Time’ (https://www.boeing.com/principles/employee-safety.page). Zero is the language and ideology for companies that have a binary behaviourist philosophy of safety and don’t know what else to say. When you identify safety with a number you must pursue the nonsense of zero.

We all know TRIFR etc is absolutely meaningless (https://safetyrisk.net/challenge-the-great-trifr-and-lti-delusion/ ). But, good olde dumb down Safety keeps banging on with the delusional ideology, safety as LTI and nothing changes.

Zero is of course the global mantra signed on to by the SIA and it certainly ain’t no ‘by line’ (https://safetyrisk.net/sia-has-a-bet-each-way-on-zero/ ). Zero is not a number. Zero is an ideology that drives thinking in denial of fallibility (https://www.humandymensions.com/product/fallibility-risk-living-uncertainty/) resulting in brutalism. Safety simply doesn’t know what to do with fallibility and it looks pretty stupid when things go wrong and the scrip is zero.

So perhaps Boeing might change their zero ideology after killing hundreds of people? ah, not likely (https://www.boeing.com.au/resources/en-au/pdf/EHS-Policy.pdf). Look at the Boeing EHS policy spruiking zero harm whilst covering up their safety charade and now paying the price for safety tokenism. EHS policy looks pretty shallow when one looks at the intentional deception and delusion in the face of hundreds of dead bodies on the ground and plane crashes.

If you think that safety is about numerics and objects then the language of zero is all you have. Yep, just plaster zero harm everywhere, put out the checklists and then chase the golden dollar until found out! And just like BP, the price for tokenism is calculated in the tens of billions of dollars (https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/13/boeing-lost-26point6-billion-of-market-value-since-sundays-crash.html) and still there will be no lessons learned. As long as the delusional discourse is zero remains and the industry denies fallibility, nothing will change.

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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