Complacency At Work

DF SafetyHealth and Safety Tips, HSE Compliance, Management and Leadership, Workplace Safety

A new employee may often pose a greater risk of injury due to being unaware of potential hazards at the workplace. The same can be said for long-term employees. Today’s blog post is on complacency or lack thereof! 

Complacency can be extremely dangerous, not only to yourself but to the people around you. Employees that have worked for the same company, doing the same job for years, tend to fall into the trap of complacency. 

Repeating a task or duty over a thousand times can force even the longest of employees to lessen their caution of the hazards around them. 

New hazards arise every minute of every day. Our surroundings can vary based on many different factors from both external and internal forces. Getting to go home safe today does not guarantee the same outcome tomorrow. 

Defining Complacency

“A feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the life; self-satisfaction or smug satisfaction with an existing situation, condition, etc.”


“If you stay in the safety of your complacency without a notion as to what’s happening in the company or in your industry, your safety zone can become a danger zone overnight”.

Complacency can trigger by repeating a task for over a thousand hours and even just a few.  

Being in your comfort zone and having the “I know what I’m doing” or “this would never happen to me” thinking is what allows crucial steps to be ignored/neglected, which creates hazards and ultimately leads to an incident. 

How to NOT be Complacent

We know we don’t want to get to a point of complacency in our career, but where do we go from here?  

Here are a few quick and easy things you can implement into your routine to lower your risk of becoming complacent. 

  • Observation: take a few minutes throughout the day to stop and look at what everyone around you is doing. This also helps you observe what you are doing! 
  • Change your routine: doing the same thing at the same time repeatedly is a key component in complacency. Change things up, If possible, do different tasks at different times of the day. Small changes can make a big difference. 
  • Focus: pay attention to small details, read the safety signs, read instructions, do your pre-work inspections thoroughly.  
  • Toolbox Talks: they are in place for a reason. Use this time to listen and focus on the information you are receiving. Constant adaptation is what is needed to ensure change doesn’t result in loss. 

There you have it! All of us have experienced complacency at some point in our lives. It is important to keep a check on ourselves from time to time to ensure we aren’t becoming complacent. 

Have a great week!