I am just about to publish a book on safety. Many of my volunteer reviewers around the globe have commented that is very little about me in it and ask why I write the way I do. I will dodge the requests for an in depth analysis of my psyche and answer with one word ‘heraith’ (pronounced ‘here-eye-th’).
Heraith is a Welsh word that originally meant a longing for one’s mother country but has come to mean a passion for a subject. It is almost untranslatable into English because it is more than just passion; there is a spiritual element to it. If you have ever heard a Welsh male voice choir or stood on the north stand at Twickenham surrounded by Welsh rugby fans you will know what I mean. I have heraith for treating people in the workplace with humanity. To me much of mainstream OHS has become a quasi religious cult that does not match up to the standards of care of others of the great faiths of the world; whether it is the Christian ‘Love thy neighbour as thyself’ or Buddhism’s ‘kindness’ or Islam’s ‘Every man is my brother’ OHS shows little evidence of promoting these values.
Instead much of mainstream OHS has become morally corrupt. It presumes to arrogantly talk down to people and it is a venal vast money making business full of people justifying their existences but are incapable of self evaluation. It presumes to scrutinise others but cries ‘foul’ when itself is put under scrutiny. In short it has turned into an oppression. Just as the Welsh eventually resisted the oppression of the English so I am resisting the oppression of safety.