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Zero Harm

The Crazy Words of Health and Safety

by Mark Taylor on June 13, 2013 · 3 comments

in Workplace Safety

The Crazy Words of Health and Safety

Mixed Messages Poor Communication MisunderstoodMark Taylor recently started another very interesting discussion on the LinkedIn Forum OHS Professionals Australia: The Crazy Words of Health and Safety. Mark recently told me that he had purposely deleted all the stuff collected after 25 years in the Safety game in order to start again and get it right – Legend!!!! You should see our list of Health and Safety Acronyms (HRA’s) – WTF?!!!


Can anyone tell me who invented these phrases and why?

Why do we use the words “Near Miss” when the words don’t really exist?


Why do we endeavour to achieve ‘Zero Harm’ and then talk about ‘Managing Risk?’

Why do we complain about being portrayed as Policemen and then undertake ‘Accident Investigations?’

Why do we use the phrases Risk Management and Hazard Identification, when the majority of incidents are caused by behaviour?

It’s no wonder that health and safety has got such a bad reputation, when we continue to use all these confusing and often negative words?

One of the responses:

I think one word in your title said it all, “Crazy”. The trouble is people sometimes like to use acronyms and definitions to try and justify very simple task. OHS is not difficult it’s the people who make a science out of it that are the problem.
I’m always shocked at the number of different definitions there are for accidents and incidents, I can list at least 60 variations, no wonder people get confused.

Mark Taylor
Mark Taylor

Latest posts by Mark Taylor (see all)

Mark Taylor
Mark Taylor is a key note speaker and trainer who has spent the majority of his career educating and helping people to take health and safety seriously. Over a period of twenty years he has worked across a broad spectrum of industries around the world and has developed a number of innovative safety tools that are now common in many workplaces. Mark continues to see things differently and push the boundaries in safety management beyond traditional systems and approaches, which he feels are dated and limited.
  • JuinWoo

    I don’t believe these words “crazy”. Using them is only for describing things to communicate conveniently.

  • George Robotham

    There is no doubt there is a lot of activity in OHS today
    The question you have to ask yourself is how effective and meaningful a lot of that activity is

    • Riskex

      Yeah mate – as you call it – displacement activities

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