Self-improvement professionals – from weight-loss experts to exercise gurus to motivational speakers – will tell you that attitude is everything. To make any type of positive change in your life, the change must first begin in your own mind. Unfortunately, an unsafe attitude toward workplace practices can have just as much influence on a person’s behavior as a positive attitude. A potentially dangerous disregard for safety could lead to a serious workplace accident.
Below are six phrases, each reflecting an unsafe attitude that could lead to workplace woes. “Whenever you hear one of these phrases or something similar on the job, you should pay close attention to the situation at hand,” said Benjamin Mangan, president and founder, MANCOMM and American Safety Training, Inc. “You may be able to stop an accident before it has happened.”1. “We don’t have time.”
Companies that investing time in safety training ultimately saves far more time than they lose. Work time is lost whenever an injury or illness occurs, and an employee’s expertise is removed from the workplace. If an employee dies because of a workplace accident or illness, that is the most tragic loss of all. There’s always time for safety training.
2. “I know a shortcut.”
People sometimes take shortcuts on the job because they are banking on the fact that nothing bad will happen. But these shortcuts can lead to complex problems. “Shortcuts can often lead to disaster,” said Mangan. “For example, a worker may decide to use too short a ladder to reach the roof of a building because he doesn’t want to find and transport a longer one. A ladder should extend three feet beyond the top of a building, so the worker can step off the ladder onto the roof. If the worker uses one that’s too short and has to climb up onto the roof, he could experience a nasty fall. On the 2005 list of OSHA’s ten most commonly violated regulations, ‘Ladders’ was entry No. 10, so one’s choice in ladders can be a crucial decision.”
3. “I think this is the right way to do it...”
“In our safety training classes,” Mangan said, “we encourage safety professionals to look up regulations whenever they are in doubt about a safety matter. Guessing or believing hearsay is always unwise.”
4. “Regulations don’t change that often.”
In truth, government regulations change on a fairly regular basis. “Today’s world is constantly changing, and each day brings new advances in technology. These changes are reflected in the regulations,” said Mangan. Regulations should be considered as works constantly in progress, and it is up to employers to stay updated on the rules that affect their companies.
5. “We’ll fix it later.”
No employee should be allowed to work with damaged equipment, whether it is a ladder, a forklift, or even a hammer. A broken part can fly off and injure someone – and in the case of a vehicle, it may malfunction or even tip over. Defective items need to be taken out of commission immediately.
6. “It’s not in the budget.”
Some people may think regular safety training is an expense that can be delayed or avoided altogether. But if an employee is injured or killed in an accident, the resulting medical expenses and possible OSHA fines would add up to an expense far greater than the cost of training. Safety instruction is always a worthwhile investment.
Ultimately, safety training leads to greater safety awareness and fewer work-related illnesses and accidents, which in turn means lower insurance costs and medical expenditures, as well as happier employees. A decrease in accident-related downtime results in an increase in productivity.
“Some regulations may seem inconvenient or difficult to follow,” Mangan said, “but many were created because, at some point, a worker experienced an injury that could have been prevented. As a result, a solution to the problem was born. When you observe the regulations, you can avoid major problems and expenses and enjoy a safer workplace.”