You Market What You Believe in Safety
The marketing of safety is one of the ways the industry of safety ensures it will never be professional. How strange that when Safety wants to say something it seeks out marketers who know nothing about safety to promote safety. This is made worse by regulators and safety associations protecting territory, still fixed on the fortress rather than educating the industry to a mature approach to risk.
It’s easy to explain this by looking at the recent Worksafe Victoria marketing process (https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/marketing-campaigns ). What we see in these marketing campaigns is more of the same: objects not subjects, mechanics not persons. Take a look at this one: ‘More Inspectors, More Inspections’ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AqeGwLvWIc )
- The video starts with an accident scene, a scaffold collapse and the victim blinking their eye and the first question is: ‘Can you remember the last time you checked the equipment?’ I’m sure that’s the last question you want to hear when you are laying under tons of scaffold. Ah yes, but not professional safety no, the best response to an accident is seeking cause and blame.
- The next scene is a car roll over in a paddock and people running to the scene with a man trapped inside and the question is: ‘What was the load limit?’. I’m sure the person trapped in a car wants to be pelted with such a question when they are fighting for breath. Ah yes, but not professional safety, again first thought is not the well-being of persons but finding cause and projecting blame.
- The next vignette is in a factory with a person cutting a metal bar and the first question is: ‘When was the guard taken off?’ Ah yes, the safety mindset on full show, accusative, blaming and projecting attribution.
- Then the scenes are reviewed with more blame: ‘Your failure to keep them safe could cause serious injury or even, death’.
- Then we see a court scene, which of course is intended to present a scene of blame and fear with, grieving parents in the seats. (Of course, most of what is considered essential in safety is not defendable in court – https://vimeo.com/showcase/3938199 ).
- Then an inspector appears stating: ‘Keeping your employees safe is your job’. Again, another distortion of reality. Then, the gem of closure is the enforcement theme on policing. All beautifully underlain by solemn music. A multimedia feast that has no focus on persons and all the focus on blame and policing.
The last thing any accident needs is a heartless inspector showing up with their silly objects and regulation focused questions seeking blame. There’s nothing to like in this ad as it promotes all the wrong attitudes and foundations for understanding accidents. Amazingly unprofessional! But thankfully only has 800 views.
You could have a look at some of the other ads in this marketing suite and ask yourself: What does Worksafe believe? What do they want you to believe?
Fortunately, most of these videos only haven a few hundred views so great that they won’t have much effect. The Social Experiment video is perhaps the least professional of all the ads. If I promote it here will just give it more hits. Such a poor understanding of Social Psychology and such a poor understanding of workplace dynamics. Such a poor promoted message. (BTW, the Risky Conversations videos have over 30,000 views https://vimeo.com/showcase/3938199 ).).
So, if 91% of all job applicants accept unsafe work, what is Worksafe Vic doing to tackle this? More ads? More inspections? More of the same?
You have to ask, how much does all this marketing cost? How effective is it? Where are the evaluations? Where are the real professional messages in safety?
Well, you won’t find them in Worksafe marketing nor in the associations. So good at noise and so good at silences (https://safetyrisk.net/culture-silences-in-safety-linguistics/ ). So good at miseducation and so good at telling.
And we still have all the same safety courses and qualifications teaching all the same shlock so that the safety industry doesn’t change.