Find out why employees take safety risks?
After a worker takes an unnecessary safety risk, have you ever thought “Why did they do that?”
When workers take a risk, it tends to be spontaneous. It’s important to understand the reasons workers ignore safety precautions to work on restoring workplace standards.
Why would an employee remove a safety guard while a machine is still running? Why would a person overexert themselves when lifting a large object instead of asking for help? Why are people texting while walking, or driving, when their focus should be on their ever-changing surroundings?
To the worker, the motivation could be just wanting to finish the task at hand even if a new distraction or hazard popped up. To discourage these unnecessary risks:
- Ask questions. Find out what motivates workers and where the strongest sources of resistance are. Help them be more aware of what influences their decisionmaking.
- Tell stories. They can make the risk feel closer to home by sharing specific stories from actual co-workers about why they, too, took an injury risk on the job.
- Educate. Explain that it is human nature to take a safety risk rather than stopping to make a situation safer. But the need is to remove risk-taking to avoid injuries on the job.
This is another reason that safety meetings that allow for employee feedback are so important. There are some good videos in RASI SAFETY TV and our Retro members will find additional information in the Safety Library that can help to address this topic.
Rick Means, WRA’s Safety Specialist, is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198 x18, or firstname.lastname@example.org.