You may have heard that the most dangerous employees are those who have been on the job less than one year and those over 10 years. Why is this? You can chalk it up to lack of experience for the new crew and a false sense of security for the veterans. This false sense of security is known as complacency and it is incredibly dangerous in the workplace.
Complacency happens to the best of us. When you have worked on similar job tasks for years without an incident, it’s easy to get comfortable and ignore the hazards. We get used to doing things the same way and aren’t always aware of our surroundings. Think of it like pushing the auto pilot button and forgetting to go through all the pre-work inspections.
If you aren’t thinking about the tasks that you are performing every day, then you aren’t working safely. We’ve all seen incidents that could easily have been avoided. For example, an employee removed their safety glasses for cleaning while cutting metal, and a piece of the metal flew into his eye. Another employee jumped off the back of a truck (instead of climbing down) and became injured upon impact with the ground. Taking your mind off the task at hand is asking for an incident to occur. Make sure that you are not engaging in risky behavior and that you are paying attention to what you are doing to prevent an incident.
How do you keep yourself safe and on task? Here are some tips to follow:
- Never forego safety procedures, even if you have done the job hundreds of times.
- Perform a risk assessment before beginning a task.
- Use checklists when you are performing a risk assessment or job hazard analysis to help you remember each step of a task so that nothing gets overlooked.
- Report near misses and unsafe behavior to your manager. You might be saving your coworker’s life.
- Give each task your full attention and don’t prioritize timing over safety.
- Follow all company safety procedures and ask your supervisor if you have any questions.
- Pay attention to all training and review your job tasks often.
- Avoid feeling that your years of experience means that you can automatically perform the job safely.
- Always maintain awareness of your surroundings and of the task at hand.
- Inspect all tools and equipment before each use. It doesn’t matter how often you use them; your equipment could fail and cause an incident.
Becoming complacent on the job may lead to increased errors and incidents. Make sure that you pay attention to what you are doing, don’t take shortcuts on the job and be aware of the tasks at hand. Doing this can save your life and the lives of your coworkers as well.
Source: Texas Mutual Insurance Company