Faith in Reason, and Unreasoned Faith as Safety Myth

Comments like this say so much about the nature of Safety:

‘What tripe! A polemic that is a rant but fails on so many levels. James Reasons work is classic. It has stood the test of time, is practical and useful. The criteria for assessing anything in safety is its impact on injury reduction. Judge Rob’s work on the same basis. It will open your eyes as to how much this SPoR stuff is off the mark!’

Of course, such comments are always gutless and anonymous from people who don’t know me, know my work, know of SPoR or seek to make legitimate contact. Such is the fear of safety to engage in discussion and its never with a question, always telling. This kind of Safety is typical of an industry afraid to engage, afraid to think and full of faith in its own myths. This is the kind of safety that is great at name calling with no substance or discussion. Always fixated on injury reduction (that is not a definition of safety) and the futility of numerical measurement attributed with meaning when there is none. Says so much of an industry with no interest in learning.

The comment that James Reason’s work is ‘classic’ is nothing more than a statement of faith. There is simply no evidence that anything Reason concocted made any difference to safety anywhere. Indeed, his dominoes, swiss-cheese, 5 cultures and his table of ‘violations’, are simply dangerous. Most of Reason’s inventions are misleading, linear and based on Reason’s undeclared ethic, which is of course unethical. Reason never declares his bias, never declares an ethic, proposes no method.  Reason’s semiotic models mislead about causality, critical thinking and the nature of risk. Nothing in Reason helps people tackle the real nature of risk. All is calculated, mechanical and predictable, just what safety loves.

But this is why Safety loves Reason. Reason tells Safety all it wants to hear. Reason is the natural fit for an Archetype that delights in blame, superiority and the myths of reason. When you play into the bias of the Archetype then faith takes over and reason disappears. Myth is made real in Reason’s semiotics and science disappears.

The pathway to success in Safety is to tell it what it wants to hear. Myths! Give it some semiotics, slogans and rituals and it thinks somehow that such is a methodology and method.

Unfortunately, SPoR doesn’t tell Safety what it wants to hear. Rather, it speaks to Safety with a methodology and methods that work in tackling risk.

If you have to dehumanise and brutalise persons in the name of injury rate reduction then, it doesn’t work. When your measure for effective working is zero, no wonder you flock to Reason’s myths and religious cultic practice and faith. Such is the spirit of Zero ( such is faith in Reason.

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