Safety: Understanding complacency and fatigue

Complacency: a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like.  

“It is understood that safety can be redundant at times, but it needs to be understood by employees that we all need to be reminded to stay focused on working safely. The same old hazards are often the ones that get people injured. OSHA’s Fatal Four construction hazards are an example of this. It is known that falls, electrocutions, struck-by, and caught-in or between incidents are the main causes for the overwhelming majority of fatalities in the construction industry yet it reoccurs year after year.” – Quote from the “Battling Complacency” Job Box Talk

One of the tools the company can use to help curb complacency is our daily Hazard Assessment.

The Safety Department and Management would like to reiterate the importance of the Hazard Assessment (HA). The HA is a tool that is used to identify hazards on our jobsite and to spark a conversation about the day’s tasks. An example of complacency would be the person filling out the HA missed a potential hazard because the tasks were ones they’ve done hundreds of times. The purpose of reviewing the HA with fellow employees is another employee on site would recognize additional hazards and it would be discussed between the group of employees on how to mitigate it.

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Fatigue: weariness from bodily or mental exertion.

If you are experiencing fatigue, it is important to identify the underlying cause and take appropriate measures to address it. Some ways to battle fatigue include: eating a healthy diet, get an adequate amount of sleep, exercise regularly and balance rest and activity, limit your caffeine intake and drink plenty of water.

Studies indicate 13 percent of workplace injuries are attributed to fatigue and 43 percent of American workers say they sometimes are too tired to function safely at their job. Fatigue is estimated to cost employers more than $136 billion annually in health-related lost productivity.

A fatigued person is more negligent of perceived risks, which can lead to abnormal safety behavior. Consequently, in situations where some uncommon disturbance situation needs to be fixed, for example, it is easy to shortcut safe behavior without intuitive risk assessment.