Performance, Conformance and Informance in Safety
So much of what is ‘performed’ in the name of safety is more about theatre than reality. After all the completion of paperwork done as ‘tick and flick’ one is left with nothing more than a ritual performance.
The language of ‘performance’ is found everywhere in safety, usually attributed to the measurement of actions but, what is ignored is the way in which performance is understood as an act.
Elam (The Semiotics of Theatre and Drama ) captures well this idea of acts of performance. In such an understanding, the act of something as ritual becomes the imagined reality simply by its repetition and ‘show’. This is always accompanied by religious language of salvation and belief as part of the religious ‘performance’. When rituals are performed effectiveness is attributed to the ritual even though there is none. Chants and mantras manifest belief regardless of whether such belief is well founded. For example, you can chant ‘safety is a choice you make’, ‘zero harm’ or ‘all accidents are preventable’ but if things ever get to court such delusional chants will be busted as attributions.
If you visit the global zero movement website you can find endless religious language about belief and effectiveness, even though there is none. You can read, watch and hear as much zero propaganda as you want but, there is no evidence that any of this chanting ‘works’. After all the performance, chanting and mantra repetition, nothing is different. The 7 golden rules are just traditional safety (https://visionzero.global/guides ). All the videos (https://visionzero.global/videos ) are just about the repetition of belief language, there is nothing more than theatre and performance. All the ‘news’ (https://visionzero.global/news ) is about evangelical performance to convert people to zero. All the language of vision (https://visionzero.global/why-vision-zero ) is not about vision but theatre, putting health and safety on ‘show’. It’s all about the ‘campaign’ performance, about repeating the nonsense mantra ‘the world of work without accidents and diseases is possible’ (https://visionzero.global/powerpoints ). Yes, and I believe in Unicorns!
When you read all the promotion and statements of ‘philosophy’ there is no statement of philosophy! When you see reasons to believe in zero it’s all about metrics and numerics. When you read about what to do, it’s just more marketing language of performance and theatre.
And all this language of belief triggers emotional anchoring much more than non-religious language.
All this language of belief attributes some supernatural force to such belief. Look at the video Spirit of Zero and you will see what I mean: https://safetyrisk.net/the-spirit-of-zero/
This emphasis on belief takes zero from the realms of everyday reality and presents it as a religious performance. Come join our theatrical performance and this demonstrates you believe! This repetition of ‘I believe in zero’ takes one out of space and time reality to a new level so that mortality and fallibility can be denied (https://safetyrisk.net/the-mortal-affliction-zero-and-safety/ ). All this belief places Zero as a ‘higher power’. One that can restore limbs and give everlasting life.
Watch the video below!
So, the best way to ensure conformance to the cult of zero (https://safetyrisk.net/the-cult-ure-of-zero/ ) is through the repetitions of belief, the performance of conformance and this becomes one’s informance.