A Complacent Attitude Can Put Your Safety on the Job at Risk

Don’t let the little things slip in the name of saving time and money

A Complacent Attitude Can Put Your Safety on the Job at Risk

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What is complacency in the workplace? It can be defined as self-satisfaction, especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.

Complacency is extremely dangerous in the workplace. We get so used to things being done the same way that we do not always look at the hazards in our surroundings. One of the dangers of being complacent is becoming so accustomed to being around hazards that they no longer seem to pose a threat to our safety. Many workers are aware of the risks they are exposing themselves to but have accepted the risk and don’t feel threatened by the risks. This is a dangerous mindset and a reason for many workplace injuries.  

There is a reason complacency is called the “silent killer.” At the workplace the name fits. When our minds are not on the task at hand and the hazards that exist, we can drift into thinking about other things. This is when the real danger can emerge. It just takes a split second, in many cases with little to no time to react.  

Part of human nature is that we become “creatures of habit” and we get comfortable doing the same thing day in and day out. We perform the same job tasks over and over, and when nothing bad happens, we begin to believe we are in a good place and think nothing of the hazards we have exposed ourselves to.


How do you fight the creep of complacency? Here are some things to think about:

- Get back to how safely you once worked at a time when you recognized the hazards around you, prior to complacency setting in. That time when you always wore your personal protective equipment and always followed the safety policies in place to protect you.

- Ask co-workers if there are areas in which you may be complacent when it comes to working safely. You might be surprised by the responses you get.

- Refuse to take the easy way out, which is often the case when you get into a hurry or feel the pressure to get the job done. Safety policies are in place for a reason. Follow them for your protection.

- Fight the desire to rationalize why you should cut corners, which can leave you open to hazards. Saving costs or time are usual rationalizations that may sound like good ideas in the moment but are not worth the risks in the end.

- Be willing to take the extra steps to make being safe a habit that will keep you from becoming complacent in the first place. Once it becomes a habit you are less likely to become complacent when a hazard exists. 


We all must fight complacency at different times whether it is at work or some other areas in our lives. The best way to combat complacency is to self-monitor and see if there are areas where you can improve, especially when it comes to workplace safety. The good news is complacency can be overcome. With enough effort you’ll always be working in a safe environment.


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