In a perfect world, workplace complacency would never be an issue. Everybody would do the exact right thing the correct right times in the exact right way.
However, sometimes it’s not the employee causing an issue.
The challenge for safety pros is to know the underlying cause of an issue, whether that be the environment, the equipment, a behavior, or another issue—or, a combination of problems that require your attention.
Let’s take a closer look at five potential workplace cheats and shortcuts that tend to lead to incidents, injuries, and worse.
1. “Common sense is good enough!”
“Common sense” is not what you rely on when it comes to safety. Common sense doesn’t include wearing PPE or having a system in place to report hazards. Look, there is nothing “common” about the “sense” most folks share!
You need to provide the right PPE (according to OSHA) as well as have a reliable way for employees to report hazards or conditions for which they are not sure how to handle. That isn’t common sense, but that IS how you prevent and eliminate risks.
Be sure, however, you encourage workers to report hazards or conditions is easy and accessible for them. It also needs to come with no fear of discipline for reporting.
2. “My people don’t need processes!”
Yes, you want to see the best in your people, and that’s great, but even the best workers need to have a clearly defined process to support safety as much as possible.
Not having a process to schedule, self-identify, document, and correct hazardous conditions is a huge mistake.
What’s more, is that frequent audits and inspections are critical to not only maintaining expected workplace conditions but also in identifying new ways to improve safety in the workplace. They can also help us to see problems or gaps in our current processes. One must document these activities to identify trends over time, too. Better processes = safer workplace!
3. “Workers have a ton of experience, they don’t need more training!”
So you hire great people. That should not prevent you from doing the proper amount of training for them, no matter how much experience they have.
Not correctly training and documenting qualifications of employees is a “shortcut” you don’t want to take.
An easy to access system is best, as it allows a quick search of a given employee to see if they are qualified to run the forklift, handle portable ladders, or wear specific PPE, as just a few examples. You also want to be sure you do this for all workers: from contract or temp workers to your employees.
4. “We want to give complete freedom to our workers.”
Again, it’s great when you can trust workers enough to give them freedom. But too much freedom can be at the expense of their safety. It can also result in poor workplace design and layout, which can take away from not only safety but productivity and profitability as well.
Don’t forget that a little structure can be a good thing.
It is that structure that will provide a framework to investigate and capture root causes. If this is lacking, you’ll never be able to prevent or minimize future risks as much as you could have.
5. “We don’t need to go over customized instructions after training.”
Another shortcut: thinking that just because someone’s done it before or done it at another job site, they know the right way and the proper procedure to follow now. That’s not the case, and even after initial training, you need to give specific, customized instructions and procedures to all workers.
If you do it every time, it’s easier to make sure it always gets done. You also need to set up a foolproof way for them to have access to instructions, policies, procedures, SDSs, etc. for every project. The more accessible these documents, the more likely workers will reference them, which avoids “guessing” at the proper way to operate a machine, lockout a process, or handle a chemical—or worse.
Eliminate Workplace Cheats with iReportSource
Curb complacency and eliminate workplace cheats by using iReportSource. Designed to help you save time and get more organized, iReportSource:
- Tracks all your safety training and qualifications;
- Includes a built-in, comprehensive investigation workflow that guides and prompts your workers, so you capture all the right information;
- Tracks incidents from entry to closure, and also captures critical details along the way to uncover the root cause;
- Has a mobile record library, so you never have to worry about losing your safety binders or using outdated SDS sheets.