Don’t Be Dumb Like Me, the Typical Safety Keynote

One of the things Safety is so good at is wrong messaging that doesn’t work. This is because safety has no interest in Semiotics, Semiosis or Semantics.

When you have your head in the sand of compliance and duty, why would one want to think critically?

A typical example is one of the keynotes at the Zero Congress to be held in Sydney in November.

Safety loves this message of parading injured people, telling their story of stupidity or short-cut taking with the basic message of, ‘don’t be dumb like me’. You can see a preview of a keynote like this here:

If you listen to the ‘talk’ you will hear that safety is ‘black and white’, rules are to be blindly followed and its always entertaining to see a person with an amputated foot.

Of course, rules are NOT black and white, regulations are interpreted and work is not simplistic. These are some of the wrong messages of ignorance in the video.

The messaging of ‘don’t be like me’. Parading injured people telling their stories about being injured with the message ‘don’t be dumb like me’ – doesn’t work! Indeed, people are quickly desensitised to such messaging and walk away with the message, ‘I am not stupid like that’.

One of the things Safety is so poor at is, considering the by-products and trajectories of messaging.

As long as head-in-the-sand Safety maintains the delusion of ‘black and white’, duty-focused compliance, nothing will change. When you believe such nonsense there no longer needs to be conversation, listening or sophistication in understanding work, good olde safety, it’s all binary.

You will hear in this video that safety is about culture but of course this is another message Safety gets so wrong. And it is laughable how culture is spoken so often by people with no expertise in culture, this is the case in this video. This is also the case when we parade people in-front of others in safety about mental health by a footballer or boxer giving advice on what they don’t know ( Again, it seems to be that the purpose of all this stuff is to entertain NOT to educate.

One of the dumb messages embedded in this talk is ‘safety is a choice you make’ as the presenter states ‘people choose to neglect the training they were given’.

Of course, this language is straight out of the Heinrich playbook ( ). Typical behaviourist nonsense that has no connection to reality. Just more mythology disconnected from reality.

So, workers go to work wanting to suicide each day!

Then we get the naïve message that young people have the right to say no and stop the job. What nonsense! All in complete ignorance of the politics of work and the dynamics of political power in organisations. And if you get fired, ‘you are working for the wrong person anyway’. Great consolation when you are out of work for being a safety crusader!

Hey but this is the message of the keynote at the Zero Congress, what would you expect.

The simplistic naive message of this video is just as disconnected as the zero mantra that guides this industry. There is no vision in the same olde tired messages that don’t work. Nothing motivational from what is marketed as motivational speaking. No leadership from what is marketed as ‘safety leadership’. No expertise on culture marketed as talk about culture. Just more of Safety stating what it is, by what it isn’t. Just more of the message ‘don’t be dumb like me’!


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