Can complacency affect workplace safety?  Do you know what complacency is?  Too busy at work; too set in your ways; too comfortable in the status quo to make any changes. Sound familiar?  Perhaps you are complacent and should reevaluate your motivation, especially if you are in a safety sensitive position. 

Webster’s Dictionary defines complacency as, “self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.” 

We, as humans, are creatures of habit.  We are uncomfortable with change and we like some predictability in our lives.  It’s our nature and it’s all well and good, but it can lead to problems, especially for workplace safety.  Complacency lulls us into a false sense of security.  If we have never been hurt by something, we tend to assume after a while that it will never hurt us. 

Step back and take a look around your workplace and consider the following:

  • Are all the appropriate safety systems in place? 
  • Is regular safety training taking place? 
  • Are there safety goals that everyone is aware of and a plan in place to reach them? 
  • Is someone assigned to regularly inspect the workplace for hazards? 
  • Are supervisors held accountable for the safety of their employees? 

If you answer “no” to any of the above, perhaps complacency is setting in and some improvements should be made.  Safety is a continual challenge.  An old aviation saying applies, “Aviation,  in itself,  is not inherently dangerous. But to an even greater degree than the sea, it is terribly unforgiving of any carelessness, incapacity or neglect.”  

Safety is manageable--shake off complacency and find ways to keep yourself and fellow workers safer, on and off the job.