One of the top traps of complacency: it gives us a false sense of security.

Being in a state of “complacency” is any time we’re out of touch with the hazards and risks around us.

In many situations, complacency happens over time.

It’s when we take the environment around us for granted. It’s when we lose attention or when we overlook small signs something is a potential threat to our well-being. Let’s take a closer look at complacency and how to curb it.

The Silent Killer

Consider a construction worker who has done the same task on a job site for months or even years. In a state of complacency, maybe she doesn’t notice something wrong with her equipment.

Or maybe she cuts corners one day.

Or maybe she is only “going through the motions” on the job and she isn’t as focused as she normally would be.

The point is that even if that person has always been able to stay safe in the past—it takes just one moment of complacency to change a life forever.

Fighting Complacency at Work

Complacency can be one of the most problematic mindsets that can contribute to injuries and incidents on the job. But there are proven and practical was to combat complacency for teams and for individuals. 

Although not an exhaustive list, here are 5 ways you can proactively fight complacency in your business:

1. Reward behaviors aligned with core values

Make sure company values—including the ones that uphold safety—are lived out and reinforced across the company.

When people start to behave or make decisions that aren’t aligned with high safety standards, sometimes that can be because they don’t see those values being brought to life by others in the company. In other words, maybe they hear you say safety is important, but the behaviors they see tells them a different story.

Whenever you can, have peers, colleagues, and leaders reward and reinforce those positive safety habits; in turn, that will encourage more positive decisions that can combat complacency. All in all, when the right kinds of actions are talked about and celebrated, people have a better grasp on what those company values really mean. 

2. Focus on continuous improvement

Having a focus on continually improving your organization is one of the top ways to combat complacency.  

One example of how this can look: allow workers to observe, shadow, and learn from others on the job. This is one way to avoid routines, to teach and cross-train employees, and it helps to combat complacency since there is a bit of added accountability that can drive a renewed sense of focus.

Your safety data should also be able to guide you towards areas where you can continue to improve and grow. This will help you reach overall safety goals, improve your highest risk areas, and it can help individuals meet their goals, too.

3. Build change into roles

If a role has too much regularity, our bodies will adapt and often go into autopilot.

Combat that by mixing up how you communicate with workers, how you educate them, and even workers’ schedules. If it’s possible, you can change their environments and the tasks themselves, or even the teams they are on. Do what the role permits, but all of these changes can be meaningful when combating complacency.

Another example of how you can mix up the job: change up regularly scheduled meetings or training sessions. You can even have different workers take turns leading meetings, which helps people to stay on their feet.

Last, ask managers to vary how they deliver feedback and how they coach others. The more they can vary up the feedback (the format and the content), the better.

4. Improve your attention to detail

Attention to detail often tells us how engaged a worker is and how focused they are. A person who is much more focused can often “catch” when something is off, or she can change her behavior when she recognizes she’s slipping into a complacent mindset.

Part of improving your attention to detail is about self-awareness. After all, self-awareness is a muscle that can grow and develop. In general, the more proficient someone can be, the more skill they will have at recognizing signs of complacency and then taking action to fight it.

You can also evaluate how much your teams care about “the little things.” That’s another sign of whether or not they have focus and vigilance.

All in all, attention to detail is partially an attitude. It can even be considered a mindset across the company. Cleanliness, recordkeeping, maintenance, and your team’s ability to follow processes closely, each and every time—the list goes on and on…all of these are areas where we can see how much focus our teams really have.

Usually how a team approaches any of those things is how they approach all of those things, so take steps to empower your people to be vigilant and focused at all times.

5. Don’t forget to look at the data

Safety, operations, and production can also use ongoing metrics to get another perspective on complacency. Take for example your Lost Time Injury (LTI) and Experience Modification Rate (EMR), and factors impacting those metrics, too.

With iReportSource’s dashboard, you can see the data points and you can also see all the proactive activities connected with those metrics. That way, you know what steps have been done, and what is being worked on to prevent re-occurrence. 

Avoid Complacency in Your Organization

Complacency can be described as the silent killer because it can contribute to so many deaths, seemingly without any warning. To help you combat sources of complacency, iReportSource reinforces behavior-based safety practices across your company. In addition, our analytics dashboard will show you everything you need to be completely confident you are doing everything you can to curb complacency. Learn more about iReportSource and what it can do for you today.