You Can Fool Someone Some of the Time but, You Can Fool Safety All of the Time

One of the favourite pastimes of Safety is parading ignorance as expertise. We see this constantly with engineers writing on culture and psychosocial health. We even get Safety running programs on learning that have nothing to do with learning nor education. Ah, this is the Safety Way.

I was talking to a safety person the other day about one of these fraudulent writers who claims a recent book on culture written by an engineer was ‘great writing’. I then asked them if they would go to an electrician if they had an eye problem? Or would they seek a plumber if their child had learning difficulties? Of course not, so why does safety constantly seek out people with no expertise in what they are spruiking? Because it confirms the safety worldview!

None of this is learning. Just more confirmation bias and indoctrination.

Recently Safety published more of this fraudulence as it normally does: IOSH Magazine under the guise of ‘the value of safety’. The title of the piece was ‘Putting a Price on Safety’ and this should have already been a dead giveaway. Why do the alarm bells not ring when Safety puts out this goop?

So, the framing of the article is economic not values-based. Of course, written by engineers with no understanding of ethics, moral philosophy or values.

A value is NOT something one values!

  • I can love my car but the car is not a value, love is the value!
  • I can appreciate my home but my home is not a value!
  • I can care about my reputation but reputation is NOT a value!
  • How amusing to see safety write about ethics with no expertise, knowledge or experience in ethics. Never mind, lets write a chapter on it and claim it is knowledge in a Body of Knowledge.

Hey, but what would any of this matter. We now have a pyramid/triangle with a hierarchy of values that are non-values, as if some of this has credibility and competence.

If you want to fool people in safety just couple whatever you do to a pyramid and you are on a winner.

It doesn’t matter that none of this is true or real, such is the myth of pyramids and curves in safety (;;

Why learn about reality when a good myth will do?

Everything about this article on values can be sourced in an agency of no expertise in values.

This is how Safety comes up with the absurd idea that safety is a value, when it is not. Safety is an outcome NOT a value! Just because I value something doesn’t mean it is a value. The real value of safety can NOT be measured because it is founded in the care and help of persons. Things safety never speaks about.

Just look at the focus of this article, it’s all about a ‘sound return on investment’. This article is about an economic and political focus on safety. Of course, safety is so bogged down in the nonsense belief in measurement that it doesn’t know how to tackle anything abstract. This is admitted in the article (pp. 32-33).

The moment any conversation in safety moves into the unmeasurables of persons, ethics and moral philosophy it doesn’t want to know about it.

This is why this article doesn’t define values. This is why the article doesn’t discuss the complexities of ethics, persons or the value of safety – the care and helping of persons.

The trouble is, all this entry of Safety into areas beyond its expertise (eg. psychosocial health, mental health, values, education etc) is dangerous. That’s’ how we end up with projections that say the best rule in learning something is not to talk about it!

How typical that Safety is so noisy about things in which it has no competence.

So, let’s have a quick look at the pyramid thrown forward by this article/report: Figure 1. Hierarchy of Environment, Health and Safety

Figure 1. Hierarchy of Environment, Health and Safety


The first thing to note is, be careful of all hierarchies. Life is not structured in hierarchies. Values are messy, ethics is a wicked problem. Ah, but not so Safety, all is linear, neat and controllable – and a myth.

It’s hard to know where to start with such incompetence and fraudulence, especially when such things as ethics have been historically of no interest to the industry. Then to have reputation as the pinnacle of the pyramid is simply sickening. This is the measure of this article, this is what Safety thinks is at the top. Oh yes, there is an ethic right there. There is your example of what Safety thinks ethics is. And even when it describes ethics its NOT about ethics but ‘the perception of justice and fairness in safety activities’ and NOT about ethics. You couldn’t make this s&*t up.

This is what you get when you visit the plumber for an eye problem or consult a chemical engineer about culture.

This is how Safety can discuss mental health as an economic problem (p.34) as ‘human capital’. By the way, there is no mention in this article on morality, personhood, power, caring or helping – the foundations of ethics.

However, all is well, you now have a pyramid where health is on the bottom!

The article recommends: ‘that employers implement a values-based safety management system’ from an article that doesn’t discuss what it is to be ‘values-based’. Economics is NOT a value and to be values-based in anything requires expertise, knowledge and experience in understanding moral philosophy as the basis of values.

This article is all about ‘measuring’ the value of safety NOT the values of Safety!

This is what you get when you let the engineers loose in the culture playground to an audience with only safety equipment (and no expertise in critical thinking skills to analyse what is being served up) to judge something as intelligent or competent.

This is how Safety ends up with rubbish definitions of culture like ‘what we DO around here’.

Didn’t you know, mental health is all about ‘return on investment’? Didn’t you know that psychosocial ‘hazards’ can be fined with the ‘hierarchy of controls’?

Didn’t you know that safety is valued by the ‘data you capture’? (p. 36).

This is all dangerous and unethical stuff. All packaged as some kind of expert approach to values-based safety when it is not. Once again, this is what Safety is expert in, fraudulence.

And the recommendations of this is that this Hierarchy of ‘safety values’ be integrated into safety interventions to deliver ‘maximum value’.

I think it might be of value here to remind your children not to go to the toilet to find a drink of water.

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