Safety Starts with Us


imageWhen you don’t get language and discourse, don’t understand linguistics (https://safetyrisk.net/culture-silences-in-safety-linguistics/ ) or semiotics or, culture (https://safetyrisk.net/category/safety-culture-silences/ ), videos like this make sense (https://safetyrisk.net/barrys-latest-safety-innovation-discovery/ ). Whilst Safety thinks it is so clever it doesn’t understand that it is promoting individualism and Behaviourist worldviews in such nonsense promotions.

So, here is Safety in its own mono-disciplinary bubble, in typical ‘safety is a choice’ rhetoric, projecting the responsibility for safety onto an individual. Of course, the opposite is conveyed in the law and regulation. The biggest message in WHS law and regulation is ‘mutual’ obligation (https://safetyrisk.net/due-diligence-videos-5000-downloads/ ). Mutual obligation is the foundation of Due Diligence (https://safetyrisk.net/free-risky-conversations-videos-and-talking-book/ ).

I once was asked to start consulting with a client and when I arrived they had just put up a huge banner on side of a warehouse, 3 meters high and 50 meters long and it said ‘safety starts with me’.

One of my first words to the GM was, ‘well if you people are interested in what I can offer your organization that poster has to come down’. He was outraged, having just spent a fortune on this huge weather-proof banner, red txt on black. I said to him, ‘it should say, safety starts with us’. And in less than a minute he turned around and said, ‘you’re right, why didn’t we think of that’. He was a GM who quickly got it, unless we maintain basic messages of mutuality, we will never get a communal, social and holistic outcome.

I have similar conversations with organisations that spruik zero. Unless zero goes, I don’t start. Zero cannot compromise, zero is absolute and any compromise with zero endorses it as absolute.

So, often the language of Safety promotes the idea that is ‘everyone for themselves’. When you expect nothing from anyone else, you get a ruthless outcome. When the language is all about the ‘control’ of ‘objects’, don’t be surprised when persons are objectified.

If you want unethical outcomes and brutalist culture just make sure you promote the language of safety: zero, ‘all accidents are preventable’, ‘control hazards’ and ‘safety is a choice you make’. So much of the language/linguistics of Safety supports unconscious messaging that rejects an ethic that is social and communal. This is why Safety loves it so much to focus on ‘factors’ and ‘systems’, the same whether one is in in so called ‘safety differently’. Of course, there is no articulation of an ethic of risk in ‘safety differently’. The worldview is the same (https://safetyrisk.net/the-safety-and-new-view-debate/ ) with a few slogans and rhetoric.

There is no congruence in messaging in safety (https://safetyrisk.net/congruence-in-messaging-in-safety/ ). Safety simply doesn’t know that medium and message are not separate (https://safetyrisk.net/the-medium-is-the-message/ ). It simply doesn’t know what it doesn’t know because it remains satisfied that it knows everything from its bubble of engineering and behaviourism (https://safetyrisk.net/the-curse-of-behaviourism/ ). Any critique that comes outside of such a worldview is deemed anti-safety and anti-compliance. The most important task from such a worldview is to demonize any dissent, brand it accordingly and ensure that no learning occurs. Better still, brand training and data accumulation as ‘learning’ to ensure discovery, enquiry and envisioning is silences.

This is how Safety has the audacity to write about unconscious decision making (https://safetyrisk.net/the-assp-getting-complacency-completely-wrong/ ) with no expertise in it. I know, if you want to know about heuristics, ask an engineer.

I always find it entertaining to see these safety awards go out each year to more of the same using a machine that goes ‘bing’. Just look at any of these so called ‘innovations’ (https://safetyrisk.net/and-the-innovation-is-more-controls/ ) and they all support the same worldview, the same curriculum and the same mythology. More Engineering, more Behaviourism and more individualism. Silent on culture, silent on language and discourse, silent on ethics, silent on personhood, silent on helping and care, silent on semiotics.

Yet, whenever I call for a need for balance apparently, I’m a ‘fanatic’. Whenever I call for reform or a holistic approach I’m toxic. The best way to NOT consider the critical thinking (https://safetyrisk.net/culture-silences-in-safety-critical-thinking/ ) of a discipline outside of safety is to brand it as ‘toxic’. This ensures no learning, no risk, no listening and no change. How professional.

When I think of this dumb video (below) that Safety loves, of opening a door to look at my own image I don’t need to wonder why it doesn’t consider that this be done collectively. Wouldn’t it be nice to open the door and see an image of myself with all my mates who care for each other, knowing that we all ‘have each other’s back’.

No, No, No, that’s NOT what Safety wants, you’re on your own buddy.



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