The Safety Worldview and COVID19
If you look at safety sites to do with COVID19 you would be mistaken to think that the threat of COVID19 is just a physical/biological thing (Safe Work Australia, AIHS, NSCA Foundation ). Don’t you love it when Safety releases ‘statements from experts’ about COVID19 when none are expert!
You know what you have to do about COVID19? All you have to do is use traditional risk assessment methodology and presto job done, set and forget (https://covid19.swa.gov.au/covid-19-information-workplaces/industry-information/cultural-institutions/risk-assessment ). We see the same selective approach to risk in the Complacency Delusion (https://safetyrisk.net/the-complacency-delusion/ ).
The way you see (envision) the world determines your understanding of risk.
The behaviourist-materialist-positivist worldview common to safety, frames risk through this lens. Hence, Safety ‘looks’ at COVID19 as a problem solved by PPE, social distancing, hygiene and cleaning. What we often witness is Safety clamouring for relevance in a market where it has no presence (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/our-biggest-blind-spot-infection-control-does-properly-david-clarke/ ).
Of course, the global mantra of Safety is zero (https://visionzero.global/ ). Nothing could be more irrelevant in a pandemic with 5.5 million dead (https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/coronavirus-death-toll ), than some safety goon spruiking zero. The ideology of zero makes the industry a joke in light of a pandemic. No wonder it struggles for relevance by talking nonsense to people. Professionals don’t speak nonsense to people.
The silly language of zero often states the ideology of ‘zero harm and zero disease’ (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877705816339856; https://visionzero.global/why-vision-zero; https://www.ehstoday.com/safety/article/21916967/striving-for-zero-injuries-and-illnesses ), and such language is nonsense.
Poor olde Safety, doesn’t even know that disease and illness is socially/culturally constructed (Radley https://sk.sagepub.com/books/making-sense-of-illness ), but Safety is going to eliminate disease to zero anyway.
If you want some perspective on COVID19 Perhaps download this free chapter: https://themasterseries.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Asset-27-Finding-a-Flexible-Response-to-our-Present.pdf
Gabor Mate (https://oiipdf.com/when-the-body-says-no-the-cost-of-hidden-stress ) like Van Der Kolk (http://www.cusackcounselling.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/The-Body-Keeps-the-Score.pdf ) have a different worldview. A worldview framed by their experience with trauma, suffering and harm. Both understand persons as embodied. In their understanding of disease, harm and injury, there is no separation of body from Mind/spirit/soul and Socialitie. This is why any trauma/distress is embodied as Van Der Kolk notes – Your Body Keeps the Score (https://www.getstoryshots.com/books/the-body-keeps-the-score-summary/ ). Suffering and harm are not just biological issues, they affect all of life, especially when you can’t see the scars.
The idea that COVID19 can be tackled with a standard risk assessment is nonsense. A pandemic is a wicked problem.
When your ideology is framed by zero, BBS, positivism and materialism, persons are made objects and measurement is made the method. Such ideology makes safety irrelevant to suffering and the trauma associated with COVID19. (BTW, none of the association information pages make any mention of trauma, suffering, mental health, resilience and psychological/social psychological distress associated with COVID19. Even when mention is made of ‘mental health’ its apparently about regulation!) Didn’t you know, resilience is engineered! (https://safetyrisk.net/why-resilience-cannot-be-engineered/ )
When your ideology is zero the answer to every question is resolved by engineering.
Only safety could deem that a traditional risk assessment was somehow relevant to COVID19. Of course, traditional risk assessment in safety is about objects not subjects. Didn’t you know, people get in the way of safety. What industry could be less ethical?
When the best you can do on ethics is omit anything about persons, power, community, relationship, morality, resilience, Socialitie, zero and suffering (https://safetyrisk.net/the-aihs-bok-and-ethics-check-your-gut/ ) you know what follows will be un-ethical. When COVID19 strikes and people are made objects in a system, you know that persons will be dehumanized in their suffering.
No problem, just get out your COVID calculator, grab some predictive analytics, do a Swish Sleaze (https://safetyrisk.net/the-swiss-cheese-addiction-and-covid-delusion/ ) risk assessment and throw some metrics at COVID, presto.
In the real world where Real Risk resides (https://www.humandymensions.com/product/real-risk/ ) and professionals understand risk holistically we see the following:
We you know that real harm is mostly unseen, invisible, unconscious and embodied, then you can begin to become properly oriented to the problem. The rest is safety.