The Focus Should Be on Risk, Not Safety

imageOne of the central problems with Safety is its focus on safety, a temporary outcome. The real focus of Safety should be on risk, the permanent and continual presence of uncertainty on outcomes.

By focusing on the outcome of safety, the industry misunderstands risk and devalues it and with the delusion of zero, imagines that safety is possible, when it is impossible. The language of ‘believe the impossible’ ( and ‘all accidents are preventable’ are denials of the very reality of risk.

Risk is the permanent foundation of all human mortal living. Risk is the permanent reality of fallibility and the essential component of all learning. The denial of risk is the denial of learning. The language of zero is the language of anti-learning. There is no utopia, there is no perfection.

This is why everything in SPoR is focused on risk, the Social Psychology of Risk.

This is why every book in the series on risk ( ) is focused on risk.

In SPoR we define ‘risk’ as: ‘the faith and trust required to suspend uncertainty to take an action’.

You can download the free poster that defines risk, hazard and safety in SPoR here: Risk Hazard Safety poster portrait

Of course, when you enter the strange insular world of the safety industry you discover that risk is the enemy. Which means that the enemy of safety is humans! (

When you enter this strange unprofessional world of safety you learn really quickly that zero=safety and that safety is defined as the absence of injury. The only way to avoid injury in the real world is to not live. If you live in the real world, where risk is common and accepted, injury is inevitable and desirable.

Just imagine never entering a relationship because you might get hurt?

Just imagine never learning anything, because you might make a mistake?

But in safety, any harm must be demonised because only zero harm is acceptable. Indeed, to deny zero is defined by Safety as being anti-safety! This is why this dumb down industry never talks about risk, it only loves to talk about zero (For the Love of Zero – free download) and safety. Similarly, words like ‘fallible’ (Fallibility and Risk – free download), ‘mortal’, ‘vulnerable’ and ‘imperfect’ must not be spoken.

This is why Safety doesn’t know how to accept Real Risk.

This is why Safety doesn’t speak of ethics or politics, because both assume the reality of injustice and harm.

This is why the safety industry globally cannot articulate an ethic of risk: (;;;

This is why safety is NOT a profession.

The starting place for safety is risk, not safety. The starting place for an ethic of risk is fallibility. The starting place to understand how to advise in risk is Socialitie.

This is what one learns in SPoR.

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