A Google search of ‘risk and safety training in Australia’ reveals more than 103,000,000 results. The focus of such training seems to be programming people to absorb information on legislation, safety processes and engineering based subjects. This seems to be the common method we use in risk and safety, and one might be easily seduced into thinking that attending such training may result in greater wisdom and a workforce more capable of discerning risk. Some might even consider this training as ‘learning’ about risk and safety. But what do we really know about ‘learning’ in risk and safety?
I for one have done my fair share of ‘indoctrination’ sessions in the name of safety. Site inductions, toolbox talks, safety shares; you name it, we sure know how to tell people about the stuff that we think is important when it comes to safety. But, do we in risk and safety, really understand ‘learning’?
If we are to better understand what it means to ‘learn’ in risk and safety, I wonder whether we should shift our attention away from focusing on how we gather and process ‘information’ (about legislation, safety process and engineering) and instead progress toward a recognition that learning is a social (‘communal’) activity. Do we also need to recognise that much of what we learn occurs in our unconscious through activities like reflection, ‘experiencing’, and through our involvement in community? Do we need to do more learning about learning in risk and safety?