Safety change through rape?!

At many occupational health and safety seminars and conferences in Australia there is often an OHS professional in the audience who says that jail time is the only real and effective deterrent for those breaking safety laws, usually in the context of gross negligence, reckless endangerment or industrial manslaughter.  The threat of imprisonment is indeed a deterrent for some people.

But sometimes there is an OHS professional who colours their call for imprisonment by suggesting that, once in prison, offenders should be harmed or even raped.  An example appeared on an OHS discussion forum within the last week.  The comment, on an issue of fall prevention, included this phrase:

“Only need to send a few for a short holiday with “Bubba” and some soap on a rope, to get the message across to the masses.”

This person is suggesting that the deprivation of liberty is insufficient punishment for an OHS offence and that the offender should also be raped.  What does this say about the real values of a person whose profession is based on harm minimisation and the elimination of hazards?

If, as The Guardian newspaper says, the two main principles for jail are “in order to punish wrongdoers, and to remove the danger they would otherwise pose to the wider world”, where is the justification for abuse?

The “Bubba” comment above, and many similar comments I have heard over the years, may be an extension of the cynicism that many OHS professionals seem to acquire over their time in the profession.  But it is also offensive and shows an approach to humanity that I do not share and that I believe has no place in the OHS profession, or anywhere, for that matter.  It is lazy thinking, and these thoughts come from those who advise Australian businesses!  It is a shameful situation.

Kevin Jones

reservoir, victoria, australia
Categories culture, Duty of Care, ethics, justice, law, OHS, Professional standards, rape, safety, Uncategorized, violence

6 thoughts on “Safety change through rape?!”

  1. Professions Australia defines a profession as:

    \”A profession is a disciplined group of individuals who adhere to
    ethical standards and who hold themselves out as, and are accepted by the public as possessing special knowledge and skills in a widely recognised body of learning derived from research, education and training at a high level, and who are prepared to apply this knowledge and exercise these skills in the interest of others.

    It is inherent in the definition of a profession that a code of ethics governs the activities of each profession. Such codes require behaviour and practice beyond the personal moral obligations of an individual.

    They define and demand high standards of behaviour in respect to the services provided to the public and in dealing with professional colleagues. Further, these codes are enforced by the profession and are acknowledged and accepted by the community.\”

    There are many many people that work in OHS that would do well to keep these things in mind.

  2. Well said Kevin. Wishing harm on others, particularly when in the business of harm minimisation, displays a lack of common sense and moral deficiencies.

  3. Well worded Kevin. The reference to \’Bubba Punishemnt\’ is a very imature approach to raising the standard for workplace health and safety.
    Tony Heathcote

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