Have you ever done anything maybe “not so smart”, something that you know puts you or someone else at increased risk of injury? When you recognized this, whether you got hurt or not, did you ask yourself, “Why did I ever do that?” For your own future preservation, this should be a very important question for you to answer yourself. Consider the fact 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 incidents are brought about by unsafe acts. Why did you do something in an unsafe manner? To answer this question, you will need to put personal defenses aside and know that 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 complete the task, then you cannot claim ignorance. What is left, whether you like it or not…it’s 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 incident or injury is guaranteed to have an effect. As a matter of fact, when pressure is applied, it is worthwhile to pay more attention to safety because we know, from experience, such situations frequently lead to more incidents.
Bad Habits: You fail to follow the established procedure(s) 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, it’s a game of chance. How many times can you play? You know, sooner or later, something is going to happen. There is only one way to stop it – stop taking the chance. Do yourself a favor and follow the established procedure(s).
Internal Pressure: There is just so much to do and not enough time!” Are you self-motivated and self-directed? Most employers love this type of individual, but your single-minded determination to get the job done may cause you to lose sight of the dangers around you. 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. Therefore, first, prevent injury. Second, work to complete the job.
Attitude: “This safety stuff doesn’t apply to me!” So what makes you so special? A study of incidents involving foremen showed that the foremen were injured when they personally failed to apply the safety standards they were to enforce. Did the fact that they were foremen protect them from injury? No. Humans are humans. Rich or poor. Black or white. Men or women. Strong or weak. There is nothing in your status that will protect you from injury except your awareness, attitude and behavior.
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