Cut out the excuses to take safety shortcuts
Imagine what might be going through an employee’s mind who wants to cut corners in working safely.
“I’m running behind schedule. Nothing bad will happen to me. I won’t be up there long. Everybody does it this way. ”
Thoughts like these might run through a worker’s head before he or she decides to take a safety shortcut. No matter the rationalization for the behavior, not following proper procedures can have disastrous results. That’s where the phrase “shortcuts can cut short life” comes from. Even workers who have been on the job long enough to know better may cut corners. But why?
“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, CT. “What’s interesting to me is what’s driving them to feel that they need to be in a hurry.”
He offered several possible explanations: a personal priority on working fast, job insecurity, the proverbial “time is money” attitude, too few workers to complete the task or changes in the organization or job roles. Whatever the reason, when the need to work fast outranks the need to work safe, mishaps can occur.
Other things to look at are pointing out the potential negative consequences when taking shortcuts that can help to discourage workers from skipping steps. It’s also important to design jobs so that the safest way to complete it also is the easiest way. RASI SafetyTV and Library have information for your safety meetings.
WRA employs Rick Means as a Safety Specialist who 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.