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Think about whether any of these items resonates with you. Can you think of any examples where you or your workmates' safety was compromised by these issues? Some of these may overlap, or occur together.
Complacency – performing a task on a regular, repeated basis can lead to the belief that there is no danger. Also, as employees become skilled at certain tasks, they may get a false sense of security and believe they no longer need to take safety precautions.
Overconfidence – believing you can be safe without protective measures. A definition is "greater certainty than circumstances warrant." This is similar to complacency in that the people most likely to exhibit this trait are often the most experienced workers who should know better than to bypass safety considerations.
Inattention – failure to concentrate on the task at hand. This can happen due to simple daydreaming, or just focusing on another issue besides what you are working on at the moment.
Preoccupation – thinking about problems or issues other than the task at hand. This is similar to inattention--but refers to being in deep thought or concentrating on something other than the present work.
Distraction – allowing something to draw your attention away from the task you are doing. A distraction can include a disturbance or interference that takes your mind off the current task. Distractions can also create confusion.
Carelessness – being negligent or reckless. Not bothering to perform the task in the proper manner or use the required safety procedures. Performing the job haphazardly, without forethought, or in a cursory manner.
Haste – Trying to complete a task too quickly. This often leads to forgetting or purposely bypassing safety requirements. People sometimes act hastily during emergencies. That is why it is so important to have an emergency plan in place, and to review and practice before an actual emergency occurs.
Poor Planning – Complex tasks need to be planned so safety needs can be addressed. If the project or task includes multiple steps and safety concerns, a written plan may be needed. At a minimum, a complex task should be discussed and reviewed with all affected employees ahead of time.
Intimidation – fear of asking management or coworkers for proper safety equipment, training or procedures. Workplaces must foster trust and an atmosphere where all employees feel comfortable asking questions or requesting needed training or equipment, especially when safety is involved.
Some accidents happen because people just don’t know:
– About the hazards that are present
– How to protect themselves from the hazards
That’s why safety policies, procedures and training programs are so important.
Why Do We Do Unsafe Things?
Someone once said that safety programs are unnecessary because people are "inherently safe." The theory behind that statement is based on the fact that people naturally avoid pain. Nobody deliberately wants to get hurt. Therefore people will always act in a safe manner, without any formal program, incentives or punishments for not working safely.
The problem with the theory? If people are inherently safe--why do people keep getting injured on the job? Certainly not because they enjoy pain and suffering!
The fact is, there are a number of reasons why accidents occur and employees get hurt. Without a safety program, the working conditions or equipment could be unsafe. Proper personal protective equipment (PPE) may not be available. Below are some contributing causes of workplace accidents and injuries: