Does anyone know what the average age of an individual involved in a fatality at the work place is? It is not 22, 29, 36, or 44. It is 56 years old. Complacency is described to us by any Google search as “a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often overlooking known hazards because we have become use to their presence” or “a feeling of being satisfied with how things are and not wanting to try to make them better.” Those feelings are often experienced by someone who has spent a long time at one job or in one position and who has become accustomed to by-passing certain safety rules to “get the job done.” It is possibly the number one killer on the job for that reason. How many of us have side stepped around an open hole in the floor or ground, simply because you know it’s there, it’s been there for ages, or no one else has bothered to cover it up? How many of us have overlooked that slightly frayed rigging because the job needs to be finished, you don’t have a suitable replacement handy, or it has worked well enough so far? Complacency will always end up hurting someone in the long run.Things to help avoid complacency becoming a problem on your site are:
- Reward positive behavior. Thank the person who stopped what they were doing to make the job site safer for everyone. Whether you are a first day apprentice or the owner of the company, gratitude goes a long way.
- Avoid routines. Changing up the crews can teach new skills to all involved, preventing boredom and thus, complacency.
- Encourage observation. “Take 2” means taking a couple seconds to stop, look around, and make sure you’re not encountering or creating a hazard.
- Mentor and coach instead of having a sense of fear or retribution. No one will stop to pick up that tripping hazard if they fear they will be in trouble for deviating from their assigned job to do so.
- Share the mission. Remind employees often of the companies’ goals and purpose, and how they contribute to the overall impact of success.
- Be open to learn. Just because you’ve always done it that way, doesn’t mean there isn’t a better, safer way. Complacency is often linked to individuals unwilling to try new, safer ways.