Metric Field Safety Insight

Worker Safety Attitude

Every weekday we get into our cars, turn the ignition, and proceed to drive to work. While on the interstate or side roads we have all been subjected to seeing a motor vehicle accident, or see the fire department responding to an emergency. Without even thinking of the ramifications of the event, we mindlessly keep driving listening to our favorite podcast. Little do we know that this mindset has been essentially programmed into our subconscious. To view certain hazardous situations as less hazardous due to the fact that they haven’t happened to you personally.

On the job, this mindset can be the difference between life and death. One of the worst excuses to have for not working safe is a “it won’t happen to me” mindset. This excuse communicates a mindset that is set on not completing a task safely or shows a person is relying on luck to keep safe while on the job. Complacency is the silent killer on jobs across America. A few examples of workplace complacency would be:

  • Texting while operating a motor vehicle. Assuming everyone around you is being safe
  • Sampling monitoring wells in the road and not putting traffic cones around a work vehicle because “I won’t be here that long”
  • Walking to close to a moving piece of heavy machinery because “it’s a faster way to where I’m going”

There is no substitute for experience. Experience, for the most part, allows us to work more efficiently and safely, however this is not always the case. Experience can also lead to complacency or a higher level of tolerance for risk. When an employee has done the same task or has been in the same role for years they can develop the “it won’t happen to me mindset”. This doesn’t mean that newer employees cannot have the same mindset, but it is often very experienced employees who fall into this mindset trap. We have all heard stories of experienced workers or supervisors getting seriously injured from becoming complacent towards known hazards. It is necessary to be mindful of your attitude towards safety on the job. No matter how much experience you have, the necessary steps still need to be taken to prevent an incident from occurring.

Stay Safe!

Author: Kristopher Jenkins, MS, GSP, REP, CSHM
Author: Kristopher Jenkins, MS, GSP, REP, CSHMEnvironmental Health & Safety Specialist