Culture Silences in Safety – Trajectories

Safety MonsterWho would have thought that 50 years ago that the quest to keep people safe could become a monster? Who would have thought that the idea of documenting decisions in risk could become a useless end in itself, that doesn’t ‘work’ ( )? Who would have thought that all this paperwork could just become tick and flick ( )? Who would have thought that the goal of zero could become a spiritual ideology in safety ( )? Who would have thought that the idea to ‘care’ about safety in BBS and counting injury rates would result in brutalism? Who would have thought that the creation of safety by engineers would result in an industry of dehumanizing others? Who would have thought?

Yet, this is what has resulted from 50 years of safety that demonstrates once again the truth that accidents and futures are NOT predictable, despite any nonsense you might read about ‘predictive analytics’ ( ).

Who would have thought that when you promote ‘all accidents are preventable’ that people are demonized when an accident happens? Who would have thought that the language of ‘safety is a choice you make’ demonizes people involved in accidents? Who would have thought that investigations into events would become and ‘inquisition’ into causality? Who would have thought that all of his could generate a billion-dollar income stream for every crook and shyster on the planet selling ‘certainty’ where there is none (

How often does Safety stop for two seconds and think, I wonder where this will take us? I wonder if Safety ever regrets its nonsense language ( ) and deontological ethic ( ) that fosters the victimization of persons in the name of good?

One of the foundations of ethics is teleology ( ). Of course, you won’t read about this or any other critical elements of ethics in the AIHS BOK Chapter on Ethics. Neither will you see any mention of care ethics, helping or a host of critical elements of ethics in any discussion of investigations (another cultural silence of safety – ). Neither is there any consideration of the psychology of goals, the foundation of teleology.

The foundational question of ethics should be: ‘what will this DO to people?’ If Safety really believes that culture is ‘what we DO around here’ why doesn’t Safety consider what it does to people in what it enacts???

You won’t read anywhere in safety a discussion of teleology. The last thing Safety considers is where an act will take us. This is because all Safety cares about is the short-term physical technical (workspace goals) things and has no focus on the Headspace and Groupspace ( essentials in tackling risk. Most of the time Safety doesn’t even think for a second about its purpose. Such would require a well-articulated methodology ( ), and Safety shows no interest in that either. Indeed, there is no study of ethics, ideology or philosophy in any safety curriculum. All falls under the myth of objectivism, that doesn’t exist, but Safety makes it so.

A method is the outcome of a methodology, a philosophy that drives doing. Hence in safety the methodology of engineering and Behaviourism ( ) generates a method of brutalism. It’s all about hazards and objects, including the human who is never considered a person, another cultural silence in safety ( ).

All that matters is, get the template, fill out the checklist, police the regulation, count the hazards and injuries and, safety is done.

Most people who discover SPoR after 30-40 years of working in safety often say they are sick to death of doing safety TO people. They always say, I wish I had known this at the start. Such would require a sense of teleology in ethics.

Yet, so many want to know how to affect culture but don’t know what to do. Safety doesn’t prepare anyone for the task ahead. The WHS curriculum doesn’t, the associations don’t and no one even suggests that the WHS curriculum needs radical reform ( I spoke about this 7 years ago. And where is Safety now? Still with no sense of teleology.

Can you just imagine when the call for reform comes next and it will be given to an engineer or Behaviourist?

Vision, the essential of leadership, comes from ethical teleology. To envision risk ( ) is to ‘see’ how a methodology creates a method. It also knows how the hiding of a methodology is disguised by a method-only focus.

The central question to a teleology is: By what method will this be achieved? What will happen ethically and politically by this method? Such questions require critical thinking ( ). This is why you can’t do anything ‘differently’ by using the same methods.

If you want to learn about teleology and a holistic approach to ethics in risk, you can study online here:

There are constructive and positive alternatives to all this questioned above and to start will cost you nothing but a change in will and a desire to learn (; ).

If you are in Australia or New Zealand there are face to face workshops starting soon:

There’s even a face to face set of workshops coming to London in October:

It’s not as if the methodology of SPoR is hidden, so much is available for free download ( ) for those who want to find a different future to brutalizing people. There is plenty that is explained in the pages of this blog too, about positive, constructive and practical ways (methods) of tackling risk that ‘work’ (

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