Zero Harm is Never Zero Harm

When you read articles like this ( you are reading low level immature understanding of linguistics, semiotics and related disciplines that demonstrate that zero in organisations is rarely just about a numeric.

I my book to be released soon on Zero, I investigate the many ways zero is defined and used in organisations. What you soon discover is zero is never zero. Indeed, it is interpreted and defined as everything but nothing. The structure of the book is based on a semiotic mapping of the ways zero is used (See Figure 1. Zero Map).

Figure 1. Zero Map

BTW, this map is far from exhaustive. And unlike this immature diatribe by IOSH drivel, a semiotic understanding of zero as an Archetype shows just how much zero has morphed into a monster over its short history. Zero has evolved over the past 20 years to mean much much more that don’t hurt anyone.

We see this demonstrated in the apocalyptic video put out by global zero ( ). This religious, apocalyptic and myth making projection is more like a Pentecostal media campaign than anything to do with the realities of tackling risk.

The trouble is with Zero is many things. It creates delusion, dishonesty, immaturity, anti-learning and distracts organisations from the very basics of tackling risk. Our survey of over 4000 responses ( shows that 85% of people in safety affirm that Zero is unethical.

The truth is, the mantra makes no difference to safety outcomes indeed, Dekker shows that it makes things worse. Zero is an absolute that changes the way people think of others and it demonises risk as well as fosters a range of immoral actions.

And because it is both unachievable and infinity, Safety now makes up nonsense like ‘towards zero’, beyond zero’, ‘1% safer’ and other gobbledygook created because infinity is a nonsense goal for fallible humans.

When you understand that Zero is a myth that creates its own mythology ( ), you will understand just how dangerous ( ) it is for organisations. It is not just dangerous for organising it is also dangerous legally ( If the court finds out that your organisation worships zero, it knows that that mantra is toxic and if you get to court, you already know that zero doesn’t work. The best things to do is to get rid of zero so that safety can improve (

If you want to know how to improve safety and how to get rid of zero email:

Zero, The Maintenance of a Dangerous Idea from Human Dymensions on Vimeo.


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