Complacency in the workplace.

Tips to Combat Complacency in the Workplace

DF SafetyWorkplace Safety

In the workplace, especially in the safety industry, it is often thought that new employees pose a greater risk of injury due to their inexperience and being unaware of potential hazards. While this is true in some cases, it is not just new employees that can be irresponsible. Often, when incidents occur with seasoned employees, it is due to complacency. In today’s blog post we want to chat more about what complacency means and offer a few tips to help avoid it altogether. 

What is complacency? 

Complacency can be extremely dangerous, not only to yourself but to the people around you. Employees who have worked for the same company, doing the same job for years, tend to fall into this trap of simply going through the motions.  

Merriam Webster defines complacency as the following: “self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.” When it comes to safety, complacency can be dangerous. 

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

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

Believing you are immune to accidents, or having a know-it-all attitude is what often leads to crucial steps being ignored or neglected, which can create hazards that will ultimately lead to an incident or accident in the workplace. 

Tips to avoid complacency 

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. If you notice that someone isn’t dialed in with the task at hand, this is an excellent teaching and learning opportunity for both parties. It also helps you observe what you yourself are doing. 

Change routine: doing the same thing, at the same time, repeatedly is a key component in complacency. Performing the same task day in and day out, you may find people turn on autopilot, making them less engaged in their work. Change things up and, 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, and do your pre-work inspections thoroughly. Be sure to take your allotted breaks to recharge your batteries so that you are better able to be present throughout the rest of your day. 

Mental health: mental health and safety often go hand in hand. When workers are mentally checked out, or not paying attention to their surroundings, incidents are more likely to occur. Ensure your employees are engaged and feel heard and fulfilled in their roles. Lead by example and make mental health a priority in your business or organization. 

Toolbox Talks: these are in place for a reason. Use this time to listen and focus on the information you are receiving. Constant adaptation is needed to ensure change doesn’t result in loss.  

Complacency can have an incredible impact on your workers and your business. However, keeping these tips in mind can help keep your workers engaged and invested in the importance of safety in the workplace.