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Taking Shortcuts Often Causes Workplace Accidents

Taking Shortcuts Often Causes Workplace Accidents

The catch phrase “shortcuts can cut life short” is a good one to remember for any worker prone to ignoring safety precautions.

There are any number of excuses that workers give for taking safety shortcuts.

“Most of the time the shortcut is because somebody has the perception that they’re in a hurry for something,” said Timothy C. Healey, director of safety at the Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection & Insurance Co. in Hartford, Connecticut. “What’s interesting to me is what’s driving them to feel that they need to be in a hurry.”

A worker might rush to skip a step if they’re running behind schedule. Or they’ll rationalize that co-workers take shortcuts and never suffer.

Shortcuts can take many forms. Not wearing a protective hard hat in a construction zone is an example. A falling wrench that struck someone’s head from scaffolding above could cause serious injury, even death. A mechanic beneath a car changing the oil could risk a permanent eye injury if he skipped wearing safety goggles.

Healey explained further that some workers simply like to work fast, are insecure about their job or have too little help to finish on time and rush as a result. Whatever the excuse, when the need to work fast seems more important than working safely, mishaps can occur.

Ashley Johnson, associate editor of the National Safety Council’s Safety + Health magazine, offers the following advice to supervisors:

  • Remind employees that accidents most often occur when they hurry and lose concentration on working safely.
  • Design jobs so that the safest way to work also is the easiest way to complete the job.

WRA employs Rick Means as a Safety and Claims Administrator who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-200-6454, or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com.