Duty of Care is NOT Duty to Care (for persons)

duty of careThe darling of Psychosocial ‘hazards’ is ‘duty of care’.

It is important to understand that duty of care’ is not about care or caring. Duty of care does not mean duty to care (for persons). The change in preposition is so slight but make all the difference. Similarly, the deletion of the word ‘health’ replaced with the word ‘hazard’.

Linguistics frames worldview and it is clear that in all the Discourse on Psychosocial ‘hazards’ that there is nothing on a duty towards persons.

The notion of ‘duty’ and ‘duty of care’ appears many times in the ‘Managing psychosocial hazards at work Code of Practice’. It is also important to note the use of the language of ‘duty holders’, also used many times.

Greg Smith explains well in our discussion here (https://vimeo.com/805845850) how ‘duty of care’ is understood as a legal obligation to the Regulation. This is consistent with the Safety love of objects and control and why the AIHS BoK on Ethics makes no mention of: care, Care Ethics, power, helping or personhood. How convenient, the perfect set up for brutalism in the name of zero!

The idea of duty is founded in a deontological ethic, sometimes known as Kantian ethics. You can read about deontology here: https://ethics.org.au/ethics-explainer-deontology/

Once you understand deontological ethic it will then be very clear why Safety chooses this ethic as its identity and remains silent on Care Ethics or any other ethical approach. Such an approach suits the philosophy and culture of Safety founded in behaviourism and engineering.

There are many other valid worldviews, it’s just Safety chooses to not talk about them (https://safetyrisk.net/tackling-ethics-in-risk-a-philosophical-challenge/). Indeed, in the true spirit of compliance, Safety proposes only one view when it comes to ethics. And even when it uses the language of ‘difference’ it’s the same worldview.

However, when one engages in SPoR one embraces a Transdisciplinary approach to risk so that other worldviews than behaviourism are countenanced. This enables a mature and transparent approach to the challenges of risk and ethics, something in which a ‘duty of care’ shows little interest.

The SPoR free workshop on Ethics is currently running and is over subscribed.

Psychosocial Health Conversation 3 from CLLR on Vimeo.

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