General Safety: Complacency Safety

General Safety: Complacency

Don’t let complacency result in an injury

How does complacency affect your perception for hazards?

Complacency is defined as “a feeling of security or comfort, often while unaware of some potential danger or defect.” 

Too often, routine and previous success can cause one to lower their alertness to a condition or hazard.  Think about things you do outside the yard without incident because you maintain a defensive state of mind (driving defensively to avoid careless drivers, handling a firearm or sharp chopping knife, heavy weightlifting with proper form, keeping your household stairs clear of tripping hazards, etc.).  Hazard awareness becomes the default state of mind when performing these activities.

Why should that change when we come to work?  Just because we are performing tasks that we do day in and day out with previous success doesn’t mean we should become comfortable with the hazards: 

  • Is that hazardous energy truly isolated from that piece of equipment you’ve worked on for the 10th time? 
  • Doesn’t the hardware on that structure still represent a falling object hazard even though it’s been there for 5+ years?
  • Is that tool really in useable condition, or appropriate for the job, despite being “good enough to get the job done”?

Our thinking patterns are a habit just like anything else. Keeping our guard up and seeking to recognize and control hazards can and should be the routine.  Help your fellow co-worker by watching out for complacency in others, as we all need help from time to time.