Have you ever done anything stupid, something that you know puts you at increased risk of injury? When you realize how stupid you were, whether you got hurt or not, do you ask yourself, “Why did I ever do that?” Approximately 20% of injuries are due to unsafe conditions and 80% are caused by unsafe acts. If you realize that most unsafe conditions are brought about by human failure, then virtually all accidents are brought about by carelessness. Why did you do something in an unsafe manner? The blame may lie within yourself. Also realize that there may be more than one reason for your actions and others may be involved.
If you knew the proper, safe way to the do the job, then you cannot claim ignorance. What is left, whether you like it or not, is carelessness. So what can cause you to temporarily disregard your own safety?
- External Pressure — “Let’s get this job done!” Usually this pressure comes from your direct supervisor. Disregarding safe practices is not going to save enough time to make a significant difference. However, any accident or injury is guaranteed to have an effect. As a matter of fact, when the pressure is applied, it is worthwhile to pay more attention to safety because we know, from experience, such situations frequently lead to more accidents.
- Bad Habits — You fail to follow the established procedure and you don’t get hurt (or you were not caught) this time. Psychologically, this is a reward and so you do it again and again and again. But you are taking a chance. How many times can you take a short cut before something bad happens? You know, sooner or later, something is going to happen. There is only one way to stop it – quit taking short cuts. Do yourself a favor and follow the established procedures.
- Internal Pressure – “There is just so much to do and not enough time!” Are you self-motivated and self-directed? Highly motivated workers like to get the job done right away. This may cause the employee to lose sight of the dangers around him/her. Think of it this way, you will not finish the job if you get hurt. You may finish the job if you don’t get hurt. So, first, prevent injury. Second, work to complete the job. Do not get tunnel vision when working. Keep situational awareness around you at all times when working.
- Attitude – Bad attitudes on the job-site can lead to accidents and carelessness no matter what title you hold. Safety applies to everyone, from the highest ranking person on the job-site to the lowest ranking person. Do your best to keep a positive attitude which will help you maintain your focus on the job at hand.
Remember, safety is no more than doing the job the right way, every day!!
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