Most of us know that accidents are caused by only two things – unsafe acts or unsafe conditions. We also know that 9 out of 10 accidents are usually the result of an unsafe acts, or things we choose to do when we know better. This is kind of strange if you think about it, but we have more to fear from our own actions than from any other hazards around us when working.

Being comfortable with your job is important, but not so much that you start to leave steps out. There are many reasons that someone may take an unsafe approach to their task while on the job. Let’s discuss two of the common reasons we give ourselves when we deliberately expose ourselves to potential injury every day.

It Won’t Happen to Me

Most of us are just thinking about getting the job done, so we tend to rationalize the risk of getting injured. We tend to think to ourselves that we have done this job many, many times and nothing bad has ever happened. Therefore, nothing bad will happen to us today. On an intellectual level, we realize there is a potential danger that exists, but decide that the risk of being injured is low and still continue to take the risk.

Because we haven’t been injured doing it that way yet, we think of ourselves as being very safety conscious. We know the right way to do the job and we realize that it is hazardous to do it the risky way, but still think to ourselves “it won’t happen to me.”

We Take Short Cuts

Some of us are meticulous about following safe work practices, but because a job “will only take a minute” we sometimes use that unsafe method or tool. For example, not putting on our safety glasses because the job will only take a minute, or not locking out a machine because an adjustment will only take a second. Usually, we think about it just before we do something unsafe, but justify the risk when it’s a “short timeframe.” We know better, we know the safe way to do it, but we take that little chance. What we are really doing is saying, “I know this could result in an injury, but ‘it can’t happen to me.’”

Maybe it’s human nature to think that incidents or accidents always happen to someone else, but they can happen to you too. What makes you different? Why take a chance in the first place? Only you can decide to take the time to do your job safely and correctly the first time.

Ways To Prevent Unsafe Acts

There are many practices you can do to help prevent unsafe acts on your jobsite. Regular safety meetings should happen to keep all employees up to date with the jobsite hazards and safety protocols. Here at Hyder we require every jobsite has a weekly “all-hands” meeting with all trades on the job. Specific unsafe conditions and acts can be posted at all times as reminders, such as fall protection or PPE requirements. Also, anytime there is a new employee joining the crew, they should be caught up to date with safety requirements and procedures for the job.

Never assume that everyone is aware of what the right things to do are. Be informative and upfront if you see someone performing an unsafe act. Give detailed information, coaching them on all the rules and safety protocols for the task. We should practice the brother’s keeper mentality and look out for each other, encouraging one another to always work safely.