How NOT to be Professional in Safety

imageImagine going to your parent teacher evening and sitting down to discuss your child’s progress at the school and professional teacher describes your child’s challenges in school as a ‘hazard’. Imagine your child is having issues with bullying and is upset about it and approaches a teacher who describes your concerns as ‘a hazard’.

Imagine going to hospital and talking to a professional nurse about your health concerns and having those concerns described as ‘a hazard’.

Imagine approaching a professional counsellor in that same hospital and asking for help with community and psychological and social concerns and being met with the language that these are ‘a hazard’.

Imagine a professional youth worker describing young people in out-of-home care, in school refusal and in trouble with the police as ‘a hazard’.

Imagine approaching a lawyer for help with a relational issue for legal advice and having that issue and the complainant being described as ‘a hazard’.

Imagine consulting your doctor regarding a medical condition and that condition being described as a ‘hazard’.

What is it that professionals do and don’t do?

  • Professionals don’t apply the word ‘hazard’ to persons or social conditions.
  • Professionals know that language and discourse of objects applied to persons dehumanises them.
  • Professionals know to use professional language.
  • Professionals know how to respect persons and not to demonise their condition.
  • Professionals accept that persons are fallible and work through issues of fallibility with compassion, understanding and beneficence (
  • Professionals don’t prioritise the need of objects and systems over persons.
  • Professionals don’t objectify persons.
  • Professionals are trained and understand ethics.

With the advent of the Standard ISO 43005 on Psychosocial ‘Hazards’ ( ) and the Codes of Practice on Psychosocial ‘Hazards’ ( ), the safety industry has demonstrated that it isn’t professional and therefore not a profession.

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