Informa Markets

Author Bio ▼

Safety and Health Practitioner (SHP) is first for independent health and safety news.
March 15, 2017

Get the SHP newsletter

Daily health and safety news, job alerts and resources

The Safety Anarchist on liking, sharing, and the apocalypse that follows

SafetyAnarchist Banner

The Chomsky of COSHH, the Adam Ant of asbestos, the Banksy of behavioural safety. Meet the Safety Anarchist (SA), SHP’s answer to the muddled world in which we find ourselves. Some say SA lurks in the shadows wearing torn, dishevelled PPE, and eats chrysotile for breakfast. What we do know is SA is opinionated, and not afraid to let it all out.

The Safety Anarchist is grumbling again – it must be an age thing. Governance and control by the masses: c’mon own up… how often do  you ‘like’ something in the virtual sense? Or how often to you order online to save the inconvenience of meeting a shopkeeper?

Today’s society is all about the emotion of ‘now’. No thought can be given to the ‘then’, whether it is used in the past or future tense.


I am quite sure there is no need to work anymore. According to the adverts that engulf our daily life we can all simply fund a millionaire’s life style through a gaming ticket to success.

‘I want it all and I want it now…’, says the song lyric. ‘Well, you might just have to wait a bit’, I was always told, but perhaps this ancient philosophy is now outdated and without basis?

Why can’t I have it all, and more to the point why should I wait? Isn’t life simply click and collect?

And what has this got to do with SHE management you ask? Well apart from cursing and shouting at people for using inventions that make their life easy (use the stairs – not the lift, get off your phone and talk to someone, leave the car behind …), there is a more sinister repercussion to the societal emotion of ‘now’.

In less than the blink of a Darwinian eye, the DNA of humans is undergoing very significant change.Homo sapiens  are now devolving away from the typical hunter-gatherer mentality that has served us well for the last couple of millennia. The new species Homo Sedant Sapiens (HSS)  is capable of bringing the world to an end simply by…. Well, by not doing anything really.

By ‘doing nothing’ we will see the planet’s ailing symptoms deteriorate further into an apocalypse.  And worse; before the physical manifestation of this in the form of rising sea levels, hostile weather, decimated food crop, pollution and forest destruction resulting in a form of planetary mesothelioma, we will soon witness the devastation caused by HSS in our societies.

We used to take pride in a ‘safe system of work’; something that had been carefully thought through and devised so that no-one got hurt.

Despite the name, our new self; HSS is actually a time-orientated being – unlike their predecessor who was governed by the seasons and the day/night constraints, HSS is only about the ‘me/now’.


Consider the thing that caused humans to develop faster than the beasts, the art and science of communication: a personal meeting -> a letter -> email -> Twitterspeak and Slip slapchat, CW@ I meen? And the opposing thumb? Now redundant except to prevent the mobile device from falling – once we have implanted sim cards this will surely go too.

Forget ‘I’ll get back to you’ – that moment is lost… need to think about it? Bye-bye, looser snoozer. In the 30 seconds you didn’t reply someone else did, your comment is now invalid.  A delay more than a few minutes might mean that your thoughts are entirely wasted and consigned to the electronic  rubbish bin along with all the other junk.

The quality of our communications are more likely to include the ‘sell, sell, sell’; ‘Do you want fries with that?’ attitude than ‘How can I help you’? We are back to the pushy moment that is mine to take, not yours to give.

Sadly in our world that is health and safety such rash decisions are never going to end well. Whether it is posting a litigious image of tomfoolery (it will end in tears you know), working to the ‘now’ and never mind the delay, or succumbing to the pressure of ‘pile up’ posts and email.

To quote the great Iggy Pop: I am the passenger… and I want to get off.

We used to take pride in a ‘safe system of work’; something that had been carefully thought through and devised so that no-one got hurt. My Facebook feed page has more serious accidents on it that I thought were possible (ok, it has its share of funny animals as well). I am truly horrified to watch some of them, especially knowing the amount of paperwork that will be involved…

 A delay more than a few minutes might mean that your thoughts are entirely wasted and consigned to the electronic  rubbish bin along with all the other junk.

Once upon a time training material with poor acting and mock injury used to be used with a caution – now it is ‘share and like’ someone else’s gross misfortune . Have we also lost the art of discretion and is the new social norm to undermine privilege and privacy?

Sharing a live stream of the office party moments and the #oops photo with the rest of the world seems to suggest this is so. I can click and collect my groceries surely I can click and collect some competency in the same way? How about some ‘real’ reality TV – packing line playoff, hospital hopscotch or Mines Rescue?

Our current focus on wellbeing does not fare any better, stress and anxiety, poor nutrition, more widespread substance misuse, it is no surprise we need all the friends we can get.

Not real friends you understand – they are unnecessary and can hamper your ability to change persona within a microsecond. Virtual friends are quite ok, and they are sure to endorse or #respect your life events – #Blessed.

With such convenience what was the point of creating relationships and trust both at home and at work? All that is needed now is a quick click and pay or link and like – ‘Need to top up your friends? Just use the ‘App-y Birthday virtual friend’ and we won’t forget their birthday like you do!’

Our celebrities are famous for being famous and our politicians are former reality TV stars who work on smiley faces. Game shows have become reality and reality has become a gameshow .

And my right to vote, why all the fuss? Just give me a premium number to call and get the talent dancing.

So is there a solution to save us from this DNA disaster? Homo Sedant Sapiens is not fully fledged so perhaps we do still have time…. But do we have the patience?



As always, to finish I will leave you with a little thought for the day:

“You cannot buy the revolution. You cannot make the revolution. You can only be the revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.”   ― Ursula K. Le Guin

Live long and prosper! (roughly translated as; work hard, stay safe, keep healthy…. and smile).

SA sig

If you are compelled to comment please do so below, email me directly at [email protected] or tweet me @safetyanarchist.


Related Topics

Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jake Edmonds
Jake Edmonds
7 years ago

Nice one – made me smile we need more of this in Safety

Michelle Griffin
Michelle Griffin
7 years ago

Enjoyable article, framed the problem beautifully. The solutions are unlikely to be so eloquent though – answers on a snail-mail postcard? 🙂

Annie K
Annie K
7 years ago

Great read. Some key cultural problems the industry must address. Although, wondering about possible H&S benefits to the ‘now’ culture and associated tech that has come with it? E.g real time monitoring and wearables for lone workers.

Denise Lysaght
Denise Lysaght
7 years ago

I’m annoyed that I didn’t write this as every single word, sadly, is true and it’s written in an engaging and thought-provoking style

Martin Stevens
Martin Stevens
7 years ago

The four horseman of the apocalypse are now Google, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.
How will we keep up with DSE advise when no one uses a desk anymore.

Frank Sheppard
Frank Sheppard
7 years ago

Why is the Anarchist hidden away at the bottom of the page.
This should be a prominent front page daily addition in SHP. Reading this on a daily basis would soon change the minds of more people than we think.