Culture Silences in Safety – Stress, Personality and Behaviours

imageIn all the mythology projected by BBS (the darling of safety) you never read about the subjectivities of perception, aberrations of behaviour or how personality/temperament determination enactment. The crazy assertion of BBS is that behaviours in themselves are somehow objective, when they are not. The observation of a behaviour doesn’t tell you very much about judgment, decision making or what such a behaviour means.

When we study the Culture Cloud ( ) and understand culture semiotically, we always link behaviours to the 4 key factors of stress: stress, eustress (euphoric stress), de-stress and dis-stress.

Each of these affect the way we behave, along with a host of other social dynamics ( ), personality factors and unconscious unseen influences (another culture silence of Safety). Observation of behavior is neither neutral or objective, it is always conditioned by worldview and context. Yet Safety loves behaviourism (; ) because it provides an excellent excuse for judgment, bullying and brutalism, in the name of good.

It is so amusing when you see these silly signs to report ‘suspicious things’ to security. The Chaser boys showed just how dumb that was ( Yet, there is no training in safety in embodiment (another safety culture silence – ) nor any development in expertise in observational skills.

Similarly, Safety includes no skill development in body language, gesture or understanding of paralinguistics ( ). What a wonderful foundation for unethical judgement in the name of good. You beauty, just do your duty and check your gut ( ). And yet we never hear from the associations on curriculum reform or development of holistic approaches to the education of people in safety. No wonder the download of templates is the most popular activity of Safety.

I was doing a coaching session with a Safety Superintendent in an International JV in Kazakhstan yesterday. A man with 30 year experience in safety with all the safety post-nominals after his name and role, and yet he had never heard of anything before that I discussed with him about culture. Sad to say, this is the state of safety.

Similarly, you won’t find any study in safety on the nature of personality and how this influences decision making. Nor will you find anything about the ‘personality’ and ‘character’ of teams ( ) and how critical heuristics ( ) like ‘group think’ determine collective action. Similarly, there is no training in understanding trauma or psychological injury. Neither is any of this mentioned in understanding teams in so called ‘safety differently’ where neither teams nor learning are defined.

So, in stressful or distressful situations (common to any high production area) it is quite common for someone to say that they are ‘not themselves’. Sometimes people will say ‘I don’t know what came over me’.

So, can you imagine what actually goes on in a safety investigation with all these ‘safety cultural silences’ put into play. How do you approach someone who has just witnessed a traumatic event who is distressed (traumatized) and ‘extract’ information?

Can you just imagine rolling out a taproot, bow tie or iCam ( ) with complete disregard for so many critical cultural issues ( )?

Can you just imagine going into an investigation with a dumb definition of culture (‘what we do around here’), belief in ‘all accidents are preventable’ and ‘safety is a choice you make’ and seeking to ‘investigate’ (how hazards were not controlled) an event?

Then add a deontological ethic and the ideology of zero and you can guarantee all involved in the event will be suitably brutalized.

For extra measure, imagine you believe in safety heroes, ‘born to save’ ( ) and that ‘safety saves lives’. What a package! Meanwhile, maintain the myth of ‘professionalism’ in ignorance of all these things discussed above.

Goodman would have a field day ( ) with all of this as evidence of ‘compulsory miseducation’ ( ).

With so many silences in Safety, how are people prepared to do the task of ‘advising’ in safety? With so many silences in safety how are people prepared to understand events and behaviours?

Then we get this endless masquerade of ‘safety culture change’ and ‘safety culture survey’ material that ensures that nothing changes in safety. As long as all these critical silences are maintained, Safety will not be suitably prepared to act professionally or ethically.

If you do want to learn about culture there is help available here:

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