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Sunday, July 5, 2020
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Complacency in the Workplace Krystal Watson
Complacency in the Workplace

When we become complacent it is usually because of confidence and repetition. The more we perform a task without event, the easier it is for our brains to settle into the familiar rhythm of complacency. 

Consider the following workers' situations and their levels of complacency: 

  • A laborer, started a week ago:
    Has never been on a construction site before, and is pretty excited. Every hour, learning something new. 
  • A journeyman welder, 16 years in the trade:
    Normally, welding spools in a fab shop, but today the foreman has asked if a cracked fuel tank could be fixed in the yard. 
  • A roofer who’s been with the same company for 18 years:
    Today doing the same thing as always done; tacking shingles on residential homes. Always working at heights, and has never come close to having a fall. 

Out of these three workers, the laborer, the welder, or the roofer, who is most likely to be complacent today? 

  • The laborer is excited and learning new things, their mind hasn't had time yet to revert to complacency. 
  • Though the welder is 16 years in the trade, today's task is new. There’s a reason to be vigilant and assess the surroundings.
  • Even though the the roofer is the most experience, for the roofer, today is just like any other day. The roofer has never had an accident. They have never even had a close call. The roofer is most likely to become complacent thinking, out of the 4,000 days without a fall, why would today be any different? 

Things you can do to combat complacency. 

  1. Invest energy in the Field Level Hazard Assessment (FLHA) process. Make crew participation mandatory. Be specific about the real hazards in the very vicinity of your workplace. Focus on the realities of your situation. 
  2. Implement the 20/20/20 rule: Every 20 minutes do a real look around for 20 seconds at anything that can cause an incident within 20 feet. 

Complacency affects us all from time to time but we can mitigate it. If you notice it creeping up on you or your crew members, shake it off, stay focused and encourage others to do the same.

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