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How to Overcome Safety Complacency in the Workplace

Workplace safety handbook with occupational safety equipment still life, a work training class and instruction manual for using safety equipment and administering first aid.

Our New York workers’ comp lawyers explain how to avoid a workplace accident

Workplace safety takes work. Companies need to be vigilant about making sure workplaces and employees are safe at all times. That’s why businesses cannot become complacent about workplace safety, according to a recent article published by EHS Today.

“Complacency is a state of decreased external awareness and reduced sensitivity to hazards caused by the brain’s ability to activate neural pathways,” Sharon Lipinski, CEO of Habit Mastery Consulting, writes in EHS Today.

Workplace safety matters since more than 2.7 million employees sustain a serious injury or illness at work each year, according to the latest statistics compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). And in most cases, injured workers file for workers’ compensation benefits to help them cover the cost of their medical bills and receive a percentage of their lost wages.

What is safety complacency in the workplace?

As the phrase suggests, safety complacency at work happens when employers get too comfortable or lackadaisical and don’t pay close attention to make sure their workplace is safe. According to Lipinski, workplaces can become dangerous when employers develop bad habits.

“Successfully combatting complacency starts by understanding that the root cause of complacency is how the brain handles repetitive behavior,” Lipinski writes. “In other words, complacency is a byproduct of habit.”

In particular, companies can become complacent about potentially-hazardous situations at work. This situation often occurs when businesses have done something a certain way for a long time.

How can companies make a workplace safer?

So, how can companies avoid safety complacency in the workplace? How can they make factories or offices safer? Lipinski has several suggestions, including:

  • Providing workers with pre-planning checklists. For example, a checklist might include a list of what tools and equipment are necessary to safely perform a particular job.
  • Predicting what could possibly go wrong and developing a plan to prevent such dangerous or hazardous situations. What unexpected events could possibly come up?
  • Prioritizing what’s most important in terms of safety and addressing the most important concerns first.

In addition, companies need to continue to provide workers with the proper safety training and safety equipment at all times.

What can employees do to keep safe while on the job?

Along with employers, employees can also do their part to help make their workplace a safer environment. Such steps may include:

  • Identifying potentially-hazardous situations at work. You know your workplace best. If something doesn’t seem safe, notify your employer.
  • Reporting safety violations or dangerous workplace situations immediately to supervisors. The sooner companies know about hazardous conditions, the sooner they can be addressed.
  • Making sure safety equipment actually works before starting a job. Safety equipment only protects employees when it works.
  • Taking a break so employees stay sharp and alert on the job. If you work more than six (6) hours per day, your employer must provide you with a 30-minute lunch break, according to Section 162 of the New York State Labor Law.

Experience is a powerful weapon—and we've got it.

If you get hurt or sick on the job in New York, you have certain rights under New York State Law. In most cases, people who sustain a workplace injury or illness can receive workers’ compensation benefits. Such benefits include financial compensation for replacement income, money for medical expenses, and disability payments if applicable.

The process might sound straightforward. But actually getting the workers’ compensation benefits you’re legally entitled to receive in New York is often a challenge. That’s why it’s important that you have an experienced New York workers’ compensation lawyer on your side to protect your rights and aggressively advocate for your best interests.

At the Law Offices of Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP, we've been fighting for injured New Yorkers for over 80 years. We know how to handle workers’ comp claims in New York because we have been helping injured workers and their families here for decades.

Learn more about how we can help if you got hurt or sick at work. Contact us today for a free consultation. We have 12 offices conveniently located throughout New York, including five offices in New York City.

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