Shaping Change to Zero –

One of the fascinating things about zero messaging is the normalisation of absurd contradictions in language. For example: the Safety and Health at Work ‘zero event’ congress website to be held soon in Sydney, states the mantra: ‘Shaping Change’ ( ).

The last thing traditional safety wants is change. Change in anything for humans involves risk and uncertainty and, Zero hates uncertainty. This is why Safety loves Zero ( Zero is the ideology of absolute certainty.

The language of ‘change’ is in direct conflict with the language of ‘compliance’. The only way to embrace change is to reject absolute compliance. To seek to shape change involves innovation, discovery, learning and risk. These are all things Zero cannot embrace. Zero is absolute, it compromises with nothing and cannot accept any movement. For Zero, 0.01 is not acceptable. Any form of harm or injury is unacceptable. When your ideology is zero, there is no place to go for fallible people. If you are a sponsor of zero/numerics in risk, then you have no interest in the well-being of fallible humans.

When your focus is on the outcome of risk (safety) rather than risk as a process (involving persons), humans always come off second best.

The other question this slogan triggers is: change to what? What is it that global safety wants to change to? The answer to that is pretty straight forward, Zero. To suggest otherwise is to dismiss all of the marketing and language used to promote this event:

The language of zero ideology is everywhere in safety. When your foundation is From Accidents to Zero  there can be no innovation, creativity or change. Otherwise, language is meaningless.

Once one is anchored to zero, there cannot be change.

Change can only come when Zero is jettisoned, then safety can improve (

Unless one understands that ideologies like Zero operate as Archetypes and semiotic energies, one will be captivated by the delusion that zero is just a number (

  • Such is the delusion that defines safety by injury rates.
  • Such is the delusion that believes Heinrich was some kind of hero.
  • Such is the delusion that thinks ‘1% safer’ is some kind of inspiration to better tackle risk.
  • Such is the delusion that speaks nonsense to people ( ) and then hopes that nonsense is motivation for change.
  • Such is the delusion that ‘talks’ about ‘change’ but has no vision for change. This is the real meaning of zero vision.
  • Such is the delusion that believes ‘all accidents are preventable’ in denial of all of the realities of human living in the real world.
  • And if you really believe ‘all accidents are preventable’ then don’t purchase insurance.



What an odd industry that declares an ideological mantra and then counts all the times it never achieves its goal. This includes nonsense language that states zero is ‘adjustable’ and ‘flexible’ to context, when the goal is an absolute! Zero cannot accept adjustment or flexibility, both involve risk, movement and learning.

Any wish to embrace change is a wish to embrace uncertainty. This is the condition of all risk. This is why you don’t hear the language of ‘risk’ and ‘fallibility’ in the program for this ‘zero event’ (

The delusion of zero can only survive in the face of dozens of safety silences ( Speaking the language of ‘change’ and ‘zero’ in the same sentence is the kind of absurdity zero=safety promotes. This is why the only option for zero=safety is to ‘believe the impossible’.

  • If one has a vision to humanise the way humans tackle risk, then zero must be rejected.
  • If one has a vision to give priority to an ethic of risk, then zero must be rejected.
  • If one accepts the realities of risk and fallibility, then zero must be rejected.

In SPoR, we accept the realities of fallibility, risk and injury. If you are a mortal human person working in the world of uncertainty and risk, the ideology of zero is nonsense. If you are immortal, then zero is for you.

Rejecting zero is where any desire for change must start. Nothing changes without a leap of faith, a leap into the unknown and, the risk of any such leap is an outcome of harm and injury.

  • In SPoR, neither 1, injury, harm or risk are the enemy. Risk Makes Sense (
  • In SPoR, we are not entrapped by the binary nonsense question ‘how many injuries do you want today’?
  • In SPoR, we don’t hold onto the nonsense mantra ‘safety is a choice you make’.

So, if you really are wanting to ‘shape change’ and learn how to Envision Risk (, you can start by doing one of the free introduction modules:

Free SPoR Intro

Free Due Diligence


Contact Matt Thorne for a free 2 hour online intro (


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.