What’s Your Opinion poll results: Is complacency the largest barrier to safety in your organization?


In an informal online poll conducted in January/February 2012, Safety+Health readers reported on complacency among employees in their companies and organizations.

Comments from respondents answering “Yes”

Safety is viewed as a part of business that everybody is expected to do, but the effort is not there to educate and train employees from top management to the lowest level employee.

People do not want to change and feel that "the way we have always done it has always been good enough". Also, if the injury rate numbers look good, sometimes people are reluctant to be proactive when it comes to safety.

When a task, operation or function becomes so routine it is possible to go on 'Auto-Pilot' with no incidents or injuries and it becomes a normal flow.... one mistep, one unexpected or unplanned element is enough to cause an incient....

"been there...seen it all"

Same type of work each day. We do rotate jobs, however each job has it's own repetative tasks.

Most have been here so long that they don't even think about what they are doing.

Now slowly shifting safety culture thru a "zero hurts" program, focusing more than on the job(OTJ) safety. Deals w/safety mentality both on-&off-the-job. Helps folks realize they work safely OTJ to be able to go home tonite to loved ones-family/friends.

Do to the age and senority of the work force. They get in a routine and think that they have done it this way for all these years and nothing is going to happen.

People feel that they have not had an accident in a long time, so they don't need to do anything differently than they are doing it.

Alertness is esential to ensure safety. lack of alertness or Complaceny significatly increases the risks in carrying out any given task.

Many jobs are repetitive from day to day and many of our employees have more than 10 years on the job


Comments from respondents answering “No”

We have a great safety culture that is demonstrated daily.

Safety is not just looking at your work habits but others as well - this self-accountability has made a huge difference.

We have an actice behavior based safety intervention program. From the top down.

Employees are fully engaged in our safety program and realize that its success is fully dependent on their participation and input. We make remind employees that complacency is not something that ever completely goes away and to remain diligent.

We have a very pro active safety committee. However, the general population of the company I would have to say 'yes'.

I feel that complacency is a factor, but not the largest barrier. Repetitiveness and reluctance to change/modify the work culture are also great barriers.

We recognise this as a potential problem and continually take steps to prevent it from taking hold.

Complacency IS right up there near the top. However, I believe the largest barrier in my organization is lack of workforce training and monitoring to reinforce safe work habits. Our supervisors and managers essentially "turn employees loose".



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