Predicts likely outcomes of most task-related scenarios.
Completes routine tasks with ease.
Work performance is predictable.
So, what kind of worker is described above? An experienced worker? Well, maybe. A self-assured worker? True. A complacent worker? BINGO!
Though some of the above traits may sound desirable for an employee, they can also be detrimental to the safety of the worker, and, furthermore, the entire workforce on the job site. Competence, experience, and confidence are qualities of a good worker. However, when not coupled with situational awareness and a questioning attitude, workers may become complacent and workplace safety may be compromised.
PLH Group — a leading, full service power line construction, pipeline construction, and specialty contractor serving the electric power line, pipeline, oil field electrical, and industrial markets throughout the United States — created a robust safety program that prevents employees from complacency. Stop Work Responsibility is not only granted, but is expected of employees. Working with situational awareness and the authority to challenge work and processes is valued so highly that it is actually part of the Safety, Health, and Environmental value statement.
The cornerstone of the PLH Group safety program is the PREVENT system. PREVENT integrates safe work practices into every step of the task by utilizing elements of behavioral and performance based systems.
So how is complacency combatted?
Consider peer audits. Peers may enlighten workers to perspectives and habits that otherwise would not be noticed.
Avoid taking shortcuts. Just because the shortcut hasn’t caused an incident in the past does not mean it is safe.
Recognize when working on auto-pilot. When you find yourself mindlessly performing tasks, consciously stop and use a questioning attitude. Consider:
The task at hand.
Tools needed, as well as the condition of the tools.
No matter your experience and comfort level in your daily tasks, approach all work with curiosity and a fresh perspective. Advance your skills, further your experience, and increase your confidence. However, do not fall victim to a complacent safety mindset.