The Hazards of Complacency
TAKE SOME TIME AND LOOK AROUND BECAUSE LOW LEVEL RISKS MAY BE FOUND
What does low level risk look like? Here are some examples.
- Stepping on a midrail to gain elevation to do work – rather than finding an alternate way to conduct the task
- Using a step ladder as a straight ladder by leaning it against a structure – rather than getting the correct ladder
- Not wearing a face shield when helping a co-worker who needs to wear one – even though the 4-foot proximity rule requires the same level of PPE
Why do we take low level risks? Because it’s easier, it’s quicker, it’s less hassle, and usually no one gets hurt. So in the end, if it makes life simpler and no one gets hurt – what’s the big deal?
Here are some concerns with low level risk.
- It’s not planned or part of the job, so there is no discussion of the risks.
- It often starts as “I’ll do it just this once”, but over time it becomes a habit.
- It creates complacency so we no longer see or appreciate the hazards present.
While it usually doesn’t cause an injury, the longer it’s tolerated, the greater the chance that it will lead to an accident.
So take the time to identify low level risk in the work you perform and in the work you see others performing. Then take steps or intervene to eliminate it.