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Make Safety A Habit

​This Tailgate Talk is part of the NLTAPA collection.

"Habit is the deepest law of human nature." Most of us would probably agree with that. People are quite often influenced by habit. Habit and job safety is also closely related. If you form safe work habits, it's going to reflect positively in everyone’s job safety. There are seven (7) common "human factors" related to developing safe work habits. Let's review them.

Hazard Recognition - Recognition of hazards is an important factor. By constantly being on the lookout for hazards you enhance your own safety. In watching for hazards you must consider not just the obvious ones, but also hazards which might suddenly appear through some action of another person or a chain of unusual circumstances. Whenever a hazard is detected, report it to someone who can make the change.

Avoiding Indifference - Avoiding indifference on the job is important to safety. An individual might know the right way to do his or her particular job, and just ignore it. Sometimes the most experienced person who has had the safety related training might tend to avoid doing the job the right way. Or there may be the employee who does not know the safety procedures and instead of finding them out chooses to also ignore them. These kind of indifferences on the job can and do lead to trouble and accidents.

Eliminating "Daredevil" Behavior - Ok admit it, have you ever done or known anyone who has done a daredevil stunt or taken a quick chance? How about standing on the top rung of a ladder? Everyone knows you should not do that, sometimes the ladder is even posted "do not stand above a certain level" but we do it anyway. Eliminating "daredevil" behavior is another human factor that can prevent injury on the job and at home.

Setting a Good Example - Setting a good example is another factor to consider. We have all heard this statement before. "If you set a good example then others will follow". Think about how your actions at work and at home may affect the attitudes of others. The actions of all of us have an influence on the safety-mindedness of others. Think of it this way, when you are in your car traveling to one place or another do you leave room between cars or do you have a tendency to tailgate? Think how the other person may feel. Probably stressed. If a veteran employee follows the safety rules then the newer employee may follow their lead but on the other hand if we condone the unsafe acts of others then that behavior may be what we now call the “culture of the company.”

Avoiding Impulsiveness - Another link in the chain of job safety is avoiding impulsiveness or being in a hurry. Haste is a trait that often leads to accidents. We are using our time foolishly if we don't take the time to be safe. Many valuable timesaving suggestions are contributed by employees each year, but, these timesaving suggestions should be reviewed and approved before they are used. Haste can result in injury!

Controlling Impatience - Controlling impatience and temper is equally important to job safety. If we let emotions get out of control, an accident can easily occur. Statistics prove that on the job violence is on the increase in our country. Do you have programs in place that identifies potential problems before tempers get out of control? And, what kind of programs do you have established to get help for your employees.

Proper Training and Instruction - Finally, one of the most important human factors related to safe work habits is training. From the day we are born we are being trained. Some of this training or learning may have been good, and we probably picked up some bad habits along the way. Job training and safety go hand in hand. While the supervisor is responsible for training, each employee must be responsible to ask questions if instructions are not clear or if there are any doubts about procedures. Unfortunately, some experienced employees may be so familiar with their jobs that they become inattentive, and this too is hazardous.

Proper work habits can assure job safety. Overall, the responsibilities for developing safe work habits really belong to each of us. By being aware of the "human factors" we've just reviewed, safe work habits can be formed and job safety assured.

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