Psychosocial Health Conversations – Three


With Narelle Stoll, Greg Smith, Dr Craig Ashhurst and Dr Robert Long

In this third conversation on Psychosocial Health/Risk NOT ‘Hazards’ we tackle the subject of care, caring and Duty of Care.



You can watch the video here:

Psychosocial Health Conversation 3 from CLLR on Vimeo.

The issue of Health in HSE has always been the poor neglected cousin of the industry, which has always assisted the focus of the industry to be on Justice not Care. Mind you, the safety industry similarly has no expertise or education in Justice either. Most of the spin around Just Culture is neither about Justice or Culture.

By shifting now into Psychosocial risk (hazards) the industry has now opened up ‘Pandora’s box’ with a focus on Health (always neglected) and by extension the notion of an ‘ethic of care’. Some info:

  • The word ‘care’ appears 16 times in the Safe Work Australia Managing Psychosocial Hazards At Work Code of Practice. (12 times in NSW Code of Practice). However, this is all framed around a ‘duty of care’ not an ethic of care or caring.
  • In NSW Code is speaks of ‘care plans’, ‘health care’, ‘care workers’ and ‘duty of care’.
  • The notion of ‘duty of care’ has a focus on responsibility under legal obligations.
  • The idea of a ‘duty of care’ which is common in the safety discourse on ‘psychosocial hazards’, is not about care. Indeed, it is a mask for a deontological ethic (from Kant focus on natural law and rules), that also matches the AIHS BoK Chapter on Ethics. Under a so called ‘duty of care’ to focus is on care for safety, not relational care for the person.
  • In the Codes of Practice on Psychosocial Hazards the word ‘care’ is used a few times but again its focus is on a ‘duty of care’ under legislation NOT care for the person.

In the Health sector the opposite is the case. In the health sector particularly, nursing, care is understood to be an ‘positive orientation towards the other’ that offers an ‘ethic of care’. Meaning, offering: social connection, meaning, rest, sleep, nutrition, cleanliness, risk reduction, altruism, listening, empathy, compassion, presence, helping, touching, benevolence, medical support. BTW, the Nursing sector has a very rigorous ‘code of ethics’ ( Safety has no such code. The AIHS BoK Chapter on ethics is nothing less than Deontological drivel.

The Nursing sector is dominated by Feminist research into Nursing and its history of care juxtaposed to a deontological ethic of justice in Safety. This is evident in all the discourse that surrounds ‘Psychosocial ‘hazards’.

In some sense, the history of care is understood (by the feminist researchers in Nursing) in contrast to a patriarchal society that holds care as irrational (emotional) and for hundreds of years was attached to a general irrationality attributed to women. Women also and still do dominate the care sectors and are paid accordingly. The safety sector is well known as a masculinist activity.

BTW, there is no mention of ‘ethics’ in any publication in the safety industry on Psychosocial health.

The purpose of attending to Psychosocial Health is to communicate to the victim that they are ‘cared for’. This is not the language of anything in any literature on Psychosocial Hazards.


Psychosocial Health Conversation 1.mp4 from CLLR on Vimeo.


Psychosocial Health Conversation 2 from CLLR on Vimeo.


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