The Scars and Harm You Don’t See and Can’t Count
You don’t know what safety is. I know what real safety is, 1km underground in a grubby longwall, now that’s safety. Yep, 200 metres up on the end of a harness, now that’s safety. You don’t know what safety is, sitting for 3 days behind a desk filing checklists and preparing injury reports, at the end of a coal loader or on an oil rig, you don’t know what safety is. Ah, you don’t know what safety is, doing an incident investigation on a fatality or working a warehouse the size of the MCG.
Like a skit from the Four Yorkshiremen (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKHFZBUTA4k) this is the kind of infantile rubbish I get sent at times from safety people who want to display their intelligence about being the ‘safety tough guy’, ‘crusader’ and ‘safety hero’ and it’s always about the prevention of physical harm. It’s always about being tough and always about discrediting psychology or forms of knowledge deemed ‘academic’.
I remember running a training session for contract drillers once a kilometre underground and a safety advisor walked in and stated ‘I don’t need any of this pu#*y Sh$t!’, ‘I’ve got to be back out there where the real work is!’ I usually ignore macho bravado noise that often comes out from Safety when a 35 year old tries to tell me I haven’t lived, and don’t know safety. Usually by the end of the day you find out that all the bravado and noise is a smoke screen for deep psychosis and dysfunctionality. You learn quickly that workers on site have no time for the said safety advisor indeed, their safety bravado is laughed at.
The physical side of safety is straight forward when it comes to tackling risk. The tough stuff is the harm and damage you can’t see and it takes much skill to surface it and know how to respond to it. Most often safety crusaders (https://safetyrisk.net/safety-crusaders-anonymous/ ), who make the most noise, have the greatest collection of hang-ups. If you need to compete with others about the toughest or most brutal heroics in safety watch out, your psychosis is showing.
I have written before on the unseen scars and unseen harm in the risk and safety industry. It’s an area of harm the industry is simply incompetent and knows so little about (https://safetyrisk.net/scars-and-wounds-on-the-inside/). Whilst Safety is busy counting cuts and sprained ankles, the most destructive harm is unseen. If you ever listen to someone who has been destroyed by grooming and gaslighting (https://safetyrisk.net/personhood-and-risk/) for 10-20 years, then you might experience harm that is immeasurable. Whilst bones and skin can heal and leave scars that can be counted, the scars of psychological harm are much worse and can’t be counted.
When Grace Tame got up to receive her Australian of the Year award (https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-01-25/2021-australian-of-the-year-award-recipients-named/13089884), you felt the years of harm and pain in her voice, the anger of having her personhood robbed by a 58 year old teacher who she trusted. Until such harm comes to the surface, you can’t see it. Often it’s only when someone suicides that their story of harm and abuse comes to the surface. And people with such harm would never speak to a safety hero or crusader, because they know they don’t listen.
Of course, at the heart of the problem is zero, the safety global mantra . When you define safety by the counting of observable injury then the real injury, the long lasting injury, suffering, pain and harm that remains unseen, fades into the background. This is the real harmful by-product of the zero cult. The more Safety promotes this bravado rubbish, the counting of numbers and objects, the more the most significant harm remains hidden.