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Battling Complacency - The Silent Enemy

What is Complacency?

According to Merriam-Webster, complacency can be defined as, "Self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies." To be complacent is to become pleased and comfortable with yourself. Complacency in the workplace can be equated to neglect and carelessness and often employers are not pleased when their employees become complacent.


How to Spot Complacency? What are the Risks?

One of the biggest signs of complacency in the workplace is disengagement or lack of involvement from employees. When employees stop engaging and communicating with their bosses it is often because they have become comfortable with the job, or they are uncomfortable making suggestions to the boss. There could be issues top management are completely unaware of because employees are too comfortable doing just enough to get by and not addressing issues. More workforce incidents occur when there is not a clear communication line between employers and employees.


Complacency also becomes a major hazard when employees begin cutting corners and taking shortcuts to meet production schedules. Skipping steps of a process, no matter how small they seem, can be the cause of a very dangerous situation. Often, employees become complacent when they do not feel there is room for growth or promotion, and many times they do not feel their tasks are challenging enough. Employees simply going through the motions of their jobs can be signs that they are mentally checking out while working and doing the bare minimum just to get the job done.


For more information on the signs and risks of complacency in the workplace, check out the International Risk Management Institute's article, Managing Complacency in Construction.


How Can You Fix Complacency?

Often, both the bosses and employees become so accustomed to situations that they begin to overlook hazards, or worse, not recognize them at all. To combat complacency in the workplace you have to go back to the basics. Begin by reiterating the policies and informing employees that they should be following each step of every process. Encourage employees to always give their full attention and best efforts when working. You can offer incentives to employees to do their best work by offering rewards or simply acknowledging the great work they are doing.


It is also important to make sure that employees are focused mentally and physically during each and every task, regardless of how many times they have done it. Risk assessment should be highly promoted among your workplace every single day. Both bosses and employees should consistently be assessing the risks and hazards associated with each and every job they are working on. It is important to remind employees to check each piece of equipment regularly and ensure proper maintenance is completed in a timely manner to reduce machine-related incidents due to complacency.


It is increasingly important to ensure employees are trained and retrained regularly to ensure they are adequately equipped to do their jobs. Some employees may be so great at their jobs you consider them experts, but this does not mean they should be exempt from participating in toolbox topics on the subject or attending training courses for refreshers.


By promoting a strong risk management and safety culture and establishing a safe space for communicating, it is possible to decrease complacency in the workplace. To learn how SMART Safety can help your company battle complacency and keep workers up-to-date on training give us a call at (844) 820-8098 or request information using our Contact Us button.


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