Safety Schizophrenia, a Symptom of Psychosocial and Mental Ill-Health

imageBelieve one thing then do another, that’s the recipe for Safety bi-polar disorder. Believe the best in persons but give them a flogging if they don’t achieve zero harm. This is the nature of Safety Schizophrenia. This is the formula for the normalisation of moral injury (

Of course, Safety Schizophrenia is why workers don’t speak up because they know if you speak up, you’re in for a flogging. This is what Workcover does – runs a ‘blitz’ and ad campaigns about catching people out, then next thing it’s all ‘we are here to help you’ and ‘speak up’.

Similarly, the ISO Standard 45003 and Codes of Practice in Psychosocial health propose the creation of a safe workplace while also counting injury rates, pumping out SWMS, demonising risk, and spruiking nonsense like ‘all accidents are preventable’ and ‘safety is a choice you make’. This is Safety Schizophrenia on full show. You can’t have it both ways.

Safety as a bi-polar disorder believes its own lies.

If ‘all accidents are preventable’ then someone didn’t do something to prevent it. If ‘safety is a choice you make’ then, someone chose unsafety. And, if zero is the ideology then anything that is not zero is anti-safety. You can’t preach zero and in the next breath state you understand fallibility and that things go wrong.

These memes permeate the DNA of the culture of safety.

Both these memes are in direct opposition to the possibility of Psychosocial Safety.

Meanwhile, Safety Schizophrenia runs under the radar.

If Safety wishes to get interested all of a sudden in the whole person, mindfulness, well-ness, care, helping and psychosocial health, then it needs to change its language, ditch its silly memes and dump zero.

If Safety wishes to get serious about Psychosocial health then, it needs to drop the language of ‘hazards’ ( in reference to Psychosocial health, shift its worldview towards persons and begin to take an ethic of personhood seriously.

If you are interested in what SPoR can offer in shifting the dial away from Safety toxicity and schizophrenia, then you can register for the Ethic Workshops ( about to commence soon in March. Simply contact to register.

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