Toolbox Talk: Tips for Fighting Off Workplace Safety Complacency

August 19, 2021
By N. Nicholas, ASP
Battling Complacency Safety toolbox Talk

When it comes to safety, complacency can be a killer.

Complacency refers to the person’s attitude that nothing bad will happen because they are in a familiar situation and know what they’re doing.

When people become comfortable with their surroundings and get distracted by other things or overconfident about their skills/knowledge, they may become careless. This is when workplace accidents happen.

Use these tips to fight off workplace safety complacency with the goal of preventing injuries and fatalities among workers .

1.) Report Injuries Promptly

Employees who report incidents promptly can help reduce the chances of further injury, complications or even death due to work-related accidents.

Complacency is most rampant when workers believe they will be protected by their employer.

Thus, developing an early warning system where employees are rewarded for reporting injuries to their supervisors can help prevent complacency if injuries occur frequently in the workplace.

If a worker feels his employer is not adequately addressing a hazard that has caused multiple work-related injuries, he may choose to report the matter to OSHA or other relevant federal authorities instead of staying silent about it as required by law.

This ensures that the company takes action to correct any dangerous conditions instead of allowing them to continue harming its employees.

2.) Follow Safety Policies and Procedures

Another way people become complacent at work is by ignoring safety policies and procedures.

They stop taking precautions or following the rules because they assume their employer will do nothing about it.

Workers who are complacent in this way undermine the safety culture of a company and make it harder for employers to develop proactive strategies against hazards affecting workers in their facilities.

Employers can use training sessions to educate employees on policies and procedures that must be followed in order for them to work safely at all times.

They can also inform workers about what measures they will take if an employee fails to follow these policies, such as reprimanding them or suspending them from work.

3.) Make Observations Regularly

When people become complacent at work, they tend to ignore their surroundings by focusing too much on production targets and other things like deadlines.

That is why supervisors and managers must rotate workers through different stations and positions so that they can make observations regularly.

4.) Follow Up on Observations and Correct the Issues

After making observations, supervisors or managers should follow up with the relevant employees to ensure that any hazards are addressed promptly.

If a worker is not doing anything about it, he or she should be informed of this issue so management can address the situation more effectively.

5.) Publicize Accident Statistics Among Employees

Keeping accident statistics in plain sight for all employees to see can help develop an awareness against complacency.

The best way of doing it would be for companies to post injury reports on their bulletin boards (such as OSHA log books ) so workers will know how many accidents have occurred at their location.

If a company has several injuries over a short period of time, it may indicate that the workplace atmosphere is conducive to complacency and risks to workers are increasing.

In this situation, employees can voice out their concerns about safety issues on the job or they can provide feedback so management will be able to make adjustments before accidents occur frequently in the facility.

By making use of these tips, employers can help their employees avoid complacency at work and prevent them from getting injured or suffering an untimely death on the job .

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