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By: Thomas Carson

Complacency: The Silent Culprit Behind Many Safety Problems

In a recent conversation I had with safety professional June Meeks, she talked about how unfortunately some workers get comfortable not wearing protective clothing, and that complacency can lead to potentially disastrous consequences.

In this article, I’m going to drill down into the problem of complacency. Why? Because, like the title of this article hints, I really think that complacency can lead to so many easily avoidable safety issues.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of complacency. We feel satisfied with the current situation, often leading to a lack of vigilance and a disregard for potential risks. While complacency might seem harmless at first glance, it can quietly evolve into a safety problem in various aspects of life. 

In addition to spotting complacency in myself, I can also spot it in others. It often develops when we believe that we’ve mastered a particular skill or when we perceive a low probability of negative outcomes. The problem is, if it gets out of hand, it can lead to various problems, including:

  • Undermining safety protocols. 
  • Increasing the likelihood of accidents. 
  • Damaged equipment. 
  • Decreased productivity. 
  • Increased costs for businesses. 

In high-risk industries such as construction, manufacturing, or transportation, complacency can be a matter of life and death.

I think one of the best ways we can combat complacency is to lead by example. So, safety leaders and supervisors out there, remember that you play a crucial role in setting the tone for safety! 

Oh, and be sure to check out our podcast episode with June Meeks to learn about how she approaches safety.

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