Auditing the 7 Golden Rules of Zero, A Miserable Fail

One of the positive skills of learning SPoR is understanding the core elements of diagnostics, auditing culture and deconstructing meaning (semiosis) in organising. We do this with the unique MiProfile survey but also with other models of auditing.

One such diagnostic is the ‘iCue Language Audit’ã. In this audit we examine the language of a policy or policies, organisational discourse and the presence and silences of key language in any belief statement. The process takes bit of learning but is generally able to be undertaken with skill following a SPoR program on diagnostics. SPoR auditing is like nothing else on the safety market and is anchored to a sophisticated understanding of culture way beyond the typical nonsense of safety ‘what we do around here’.

So, let’s undertake a brief iCue language auditã of the so called ‘7 golden rules of zero’ ( ).

All auditing, diagnostic design and surveys hide an underlying methodology/philosophy. This is never articulated or discussed in any of the typical systems or so called ‘culture surveys’ in safety. Indeed, I am yet to see any so called ‘safety culture’ survey that has much of a clue about culture. Most of the surveys on the market are behaviourist surveys or systems surveys. In SPoR, all our work in diagnostics and survey design is articulated and held open in methodology and underlying philosophy.

The place to begin in auditing the so called ‘7 golden rules of zero’ is by gleaning language associated with an understanding of a ‘golden rule’ ( The kind of language we would expect to see in any discussion of golden rules ( includes language about:

  • Together
  • With
  • Mutuality
  • Reciprocation
  • Ethics
  • Moral responsibility
  • Conversation
  • Care
  • Helping
  • Understanding of persons
  • Community
  • Empathy
  • Collaboration
  • Cooperation
  • Listening
  • Persons

The golden rule is often captured by the saying “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

None of this language is any of the so called ‘7 golden rules of zero’ includes any of this language.

In the invitation to the zero congress to be held in Sydney in November we see special mention of the 7 non-golden rules.

None of the language in these 7 so called ‘golden rules’ reflects any of the language expected of a ‘golden rule’. So, diagnostically, this audit shows that these rules are NOT golden rules.

There is no language of working WITH others, MUTUALITY, RECIPRIOCATION or COLLABORATION in tackling risk indeed. Let’s audit the actual language of these so called ‘7 golden rules of zero’.

  • Zero – 32 times
  • Safety – 75 times
  • Enterprise – 50 times
  • Measure – 20 times
  • Hazard – 10 times
  • Rules – 17 times
  • Intolerance – 2 times
  • Assessment – 17 times
  • Accident – 21 times
  • Preventive – 8 times
  • Employees – 51 times
  • Employer – 4 times
  • Executive – 4 times
  • Communication – 2 times

What do we learn from this brief iCue Language Audit?

We can see clearly there is nothing in these so-called ‘golden rules’ that has anything to do with golden rules. There is nothing about ethics, moral responsibility, listening, mutuality, reciprocation or collaboration. It is all directed by those in power OVER those without power. There is no sharing of power, which is the foundation for claim something as a ‘golden rule’. It matches beautifully the deontological ethic of the AIHS BoK.

This is what Zero/Safety does so well, declare what it is, by what it isn’t. and, without a well-educated or critical thinking workforce, whatever is stated is deemed to be so.

This is how the propaganda of Zero works. It declares what it is doing (without evidence) and then this is attributed as valuable, where there is no value. Most importantly, none of this is held up to scrutiny or criticism. There will be no debate about zero on the program.

Just go back to the Invitation, the language is about zero as a: a goal, strategy, vision and golden rules. Yet, the zero guide provides zero vision about anything to do with mutuality, reciprocation, ethics, care, helping or listening.

This is the great safety delusion (

This is the industry that prides itself on believing in nothing!

This is the industry that defines safety as injury rates and, then builds a belief system on it and yet, injury rates are NOT an indicator of the presence of safety.

Having a zero injury day, week or year doesn’t indicate anything about safety nor a capability to tackle risk.

What we see through the iCue Language Audit above is that zero promotes power over the powerless, spin and propaganda based on a mis-definition of safety. Then it creates zero as an ideology and this can only ever have a trajectory of brutalism over fallible people.

Of course there is an alternative that works (, that is positive, constructive, practical and humanising that achieves great outcomes by disposing of the ideology of zero. It can be done and is being done and demonstrated to work, such is the nature of SPoR and its many positive, constructive and practical methods.


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