Safety Does NOT Start with Me

imageYou will see all over the safety industry this silly sticker on a mirror stating: ‘this person is responsible for your safety’.

Like all typical safety gimmicks, there is no consideration for the by-products or worldview this nonsense espouses.

One of the strongest themes in the Safety Act and Regulation is that of mutuality. The Work Health Safety Act has a primary focus on social engagement and mutual responsibility. The best way to undermine this is to promote individualism as this sticker does.

This dumb down sticker is also supported by the meme: ‘safety starts with me’. No! it doesn’t, Safety Starts with Us! (

Social mutual responsibility is the purpose and foundation of the Work Health Safety Act and regulation (

This is why dialogue, conversation, helping, care and listening are essential for leadership in safety.

Individualism is anti-safety.

The other by-product of this silly sticker and meme is that it promotes guilt and blame. If you want to sheet blame home to the individual, then this is the sticker for you.

Whenever an incident happens the question should never be. ‘What did you do’, it should always be, ‘What did WE do?’

This is why the SPoR program of SEEK investigations is so successful ( ). SEEK starts with the assumption that risk and safety is social. SEEK moves away from the many behaviourist/engineering approaches to interrogation and liberates safety people to a meaningful and open approach to learning.

Of course, this silly meme is also consistent with other silly memes in safety such as: ‘safety is a choice you make’ (  ) and ‘all accidents are preventable’.

All of these memes foster a harmful culture of blame, individualism, fear, bullying and the abuse of power ( None of this safety ‘goop’ inspires anyone to be motivated ( to ‘help’ anyone. Ah no, safety is all about me! No wonder you will find nothing in the industry globally about safety as a helping activity. Safety will never become a profession unless it engages in discourse about collective, social and ethical responsibility.

And these silly memes ( simply serve the keep the industry bogged down, uncritical and unprofessional.

17. DIALOGUE from Human Dymensions on Vimeo.

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