- February 6, 2019
- Posted by: Sage Shield Safety Consultants
- Category: Overseas Occupational Health And Safety News
Is the safety profession
uniquely incapable of renewing itself? For a profession that is organized around the removal, reduction and control of danger, innovation can be a tall order. Innovation indicates taking risk. It needs a critique and a questioning of presumptions that underly our practices. Such a review, such questioning, can be unwanted. These are assumptions and practices, after all, that( lots of think)have actually got us to where we are today, that keep a lot of us in company. Innovation is dangerous. It entails reputational risk, mental risk, financial threat, practical danger even.
Safety innovation, then, is not simply an oxymoron. It might be what philosophers call a performative misconception. By mentioning itself, it rejects the very possibility of what it specifies. Safety and innovation do not work together, since development is per definition risky. Or at least it is viewed as unsafe by all sort of stakeholders.
Fear of development, of believing and acting differently, has actually dogged humanity permanently. Mankind has actually constantly discovered methods to conquer that worry. The European Knowledge is an example of a wholesale shift in intellectual thinking, lifting up the power and liberty of human reasoning over hand-me-down facts from Church or Crown. Immanual Kant, among the fantastic Enlightenment thinkers, argued that Knowledge was our release from self-incurred tutelage. Tutelage is the incapacity to use our own understanding without the guidance of another person or some organization. Tutelage is the ultimate run for intellectual cover, as one of my trainees Shawn Pruchnicki calls it. Tutelage indicates relinquishing your own mental capacity and adhere so as to keep the peace, keep a task. You also assist keep bad ideas in location, keep passing away techniques alive.
Most importantly, Kant blamed not a lack of intellect for us submitting to such tutelage. He blamed a lack of decision; a lack of courage. His rallying cry for the Enlightenment ended up being Sapere Aude, or “Attempt to Think!” Development depends on such guts. It depends on the flexibility from constraint, on liberty from the shackles of a current paradigm. It depends on a ruthless curiosity, on an impatience or discontentment even with what other individuals desire us to understand or do. We are caught in a paradigm that has us verify to each other what we believe we currently understand. This is how we train and inform vast cadres of new safety experts. Innovation means believing differently from what we believe, from how we believe. It implies, as Michel Foucault once said, straying far afield of ourselves, seeing in a different way from how we see. It means becoming devoid of ourselves. Attempt to believe!
Can safety specialists do that? There is, perhaps, something indelibly conservative about the safety occupation– it is a field identified by a dogma of threat difficulty, by an inclination to maintain that which we understand (or hope or pray) still works for us. Bold to believe might suggest playing with fire. It might indicate biting the hand that feeds us. Perhaps taking risk is specifically what we do not wish to do. Or is it?
Please help show that we can attempt to believe, and modification, too.