Danville (800) 252-5059 | Lisle (800) 628-5618

Heat Stress

July Safety Tip

6 Ways to Prevent Heat Stress at Work

You can treat heat stress, but preventing it is even better.   Here are the steps you need to know to do both.

There are several potential heat-related problems workers may face as June stretches into July, August, and September, traditionally the hottest months of the year.  Heat problems kill some 4,000 Americans yearly, including the very young and old, those with diseases such as diabetes that disrupt the body’s temperature control mechanism, and those working in the heat. That last group puts the issue in your hands.

Heat problems themselves come in three varieties: heat cramps, heat exhaustion (also called heat prostration or collapse,) and the real killer, heatstroke. Collectively, these conditions are known as heat stress.

For heat cramps:  Get out of the hot environment, stop using your large muscles, drink water, and replace electrolytes.

For heat exhaustion:  Get out of the heat and take off any excessive clothing, particularly around the head and neck.  Drink a liter of water (slowly, so nausea doesn’t develop), lie down with your feet up, and use a fan for cooling.  The problem should go away in 30 minutes. If not, medical attention may be needed.

Heatstroke is a medical emergency.  Your first and biggest objective is to lower the [body’s] core temperature by any means available. This includes cold packs on the neck, armpits, and groin, coverage with wet sheets or towels, and placement in a highly air-conditioned room. Medical help should be summoned immediately. 

6 ways to prevent heat illness

  1. Pre-hydrate. Before activity starts, have workers drink up to 16 ounces of fluid. Then drink 8 ounces every 20 minutes during the activity.
  2. Drink flavored water. Plain water quenches thirst too quickly, so workers tend to not drink enough of it.
  3. Acclimate to the heat slowly, over 5 to 7 days of exposure. For new workers, institute a 20 percent increase of time in the heat for each day. Workers already used to these conditions can increase exposure slightly faster, but 4 days out of the heat means re-acclimation will be needed.
  4. Don’t wear a hat. It restricts heat loss through the head. Workers operating in direct sunlight can wear a visor.
  5. Wear loose, thin synthetic fabrics. They help the skin stay cool through evaporation. Avoid cotton as it soaks up sweat, forestalling evaporation.
  6. Wear your PPE no matter what the temperature. It can’t protect you if it’s not on you. If it’s uncomfortable, take frequent breaks.

Dangers of Loose, Long Hair

June Safety Tip

Dangers of Loose, Long Hair

Having long hair that is not properly secured can be extremely dangerous because it can become caught in moving machine parts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are about 5,000 deaths per year from workplace accidents, some of which involves workers being pulled into machines by loose clothing or hair. Additionally, workers’ hair becoming entangled in equipment, even when non-fatal, is a serious problem that can cause injuries such as scalping and facial disfigurement.

OSHA Regulations

OSHA has set forth regulations so that this type of accident can be prevented. Employers are responsible for ensuring that their employees have securely fastened their hair. If they do not, employers can face hefty fines. Employees are required to cover and protect long hair to prevent it from getting caught in machine parts such as belts, chain and rotating parts. Employees are also encouraged to pay close attention to work pieces that have slots or other surface profiles that may increase the risk of entanglement. They should keep clothing, loose jewelry and hair away from rotating and moving parts, as they may become caught.

Acceptable Hairstyles

Hair longer than four inches can be drawn into machine parts such as suction devices, blowers, chains, belts and rotating devices. It can even be drawn into machines guarded with mesh. Therefore, hair must be securely fastened with a bandanna, hair net, soft cap or the like. According to OSHA regulations, “securely fastened” means that hair is tied back into a bun or a knot without any loose locks. Ponytails are acceptable for the most part, though if hair is extremely long, ponytails may still be blown into a machine part by the wind or sucked in when the worker bends down.



Treating a Puncture Wound

May Safety Tip

Treating a puncture wound

Puncture wounds can be serious. They often have small openings, but the objects tend to go in deep, which can make the injured worker vulnerable to a blood infection.

Common work-related puncture wounds include stepping on a nail or being injured by a nail gun or being pierced by a piece of metal.


The Mayo Clinic recommends following these treatment tips in the event you or a co-worker suffers a puncture wound:

  • Make sure your hands are clean. Clean hands help prevent infections.
  • Try to stop the bleeding by gently applying pressure to the wound with a clean cloth or bandage.
  • Clean the wound by rinsing it with water for five to 10 minutes. If dirt or debris remains in the wound and can’t be removed, see a doctor.  Keep the skin around the wound clean by using soap and a washcloth.
  • Apply a small amount of an antibiotic cream to the wound area, but be aware that some people may experience mild rashes from these creams. Stop using the cream if this occurs and seek medical care.
  • Cover the wound with bandages, and change the dressing at least once a day or when the bandage gets wet or becomes dirty.
  • Keep a watchful eye for signs of an infection, including redness, increasing pain, drainage or swelling.
  • Seek immediate medical help if the wound continues to bleed after a few minutes of direct pressure; is the result of an animal or human bite; or is deep, dirty or caused by a metal object.

Source: National Safety Council



Safe Manual Handling

April Safety Tip

Good Material Handling Tips

A big part of back health is awareness of not only proper posture but what factors may contribute to injury.  Some factors include:

  • Postures (awkward or sustained) – there doesn’t have to be a weight to cause stress to the back. Sometimes just the awkward posture alone can be stressful.  The best posture is upright; avoid forward bending, backward bending, twisting, bending laterally/sideways.  This can include extended forward reaching, which causes us to also forward bend.
  • Repetition
  • Manual forces: LIFTING ISN’T THE ONLY CONCERN!!!  We should also be cognizant of:
    • Lowering loads
    • Pushing loads
    • Pulling loads
    • Carrying loads

Overall, manual lifting should be our last resort!  Instead, first ask if there is a device that can be used instead.  For example, rather than carrying a heavy item, is there a cart that can be used to safely move the item?  The second priority is to get physical assistance, someone to assist you.  The last resort or option is to handle the item alone (only if safe to do so).  Use these rules to give your back a break!



Severe Weather Safety

March Safety Tip

Six Steps for Severe Weather Safety

  1. Be familiar with severe weather threats: Know the difference between posted watches and warnings.  A watch means conditions are favorable for the watch area; a warning means severe weather is detected.  NOAA publishes a Hazardous Weather Outlook at various intervals daily which can give you more notice on the potential for severe weather.  See https://www.weather.gov/
  2. Be able to receive warnings and information: Have at least a radio (a weather radio which gives audible alarms is better).  Many sources such as smart phone apps and alerts are available.  Don’t rely on public sirens as often machinery may block people from hearing them.
  3. Have trained spotters: Spotters provide the “ground truth” sometimes before watches and warnings can be issued.  Check with local emergency management/the National Weather Service for local, free classes.
  4. Have designated shelters: Ensure everyone knows where to go and the alarm that signals this.  Shelters should be away from potential flying debris, glass and not near exterior walls or in areas with wide-span roofs.  Rooms with no windows and interior walls may be good.  It is also good to cover the head and be able to get under something sturdy.
  5. Have a plan and make sure everyone is trained. This includes people working outdoors, on business travel, vendors, and guests.
  6. Conduct drills: Practice makes perfect – hold regular drills and always hold a debriefing afterward to discuss how to improve the next drill.  March is a perfect time to have a severe weather drill before “tornado season” hits.

For more information, see this link on preparing for and surviving a Tornado.


Safety Incentives and OSHA

February Safety Tip

Safety Incentives and OSHA

Safety Incentives have been a hot topic the past few years with respect to OSHA.  With the 2015 revision to the OSHA Recordkeeping rule, certain safety incentive program elements were prohibited.  However, OSHA recently modified this policy to allow reporting-based incentive programs again.  This means that employers can again offer a prize or bonus at the end of an injury-free month, and managers can be evaluated based on their work unit’s lack of injuries.

OSHA recently published a letter of interpretation that states that in order to implement safety incentive programs of these types, the employer must ensure that employees are not discouraged from reporting injuries because a prize or other benefit may be forfeited. 

This can be done by including additional incentive program elements such as

  • awarding employees for identifying unsafe conditions in the workplace,
  • conducting training on reporting injuries or illnesses, and
  • awarding employees for participating in a safety audit or a root cause investigation.

If employers adopt additional precautionary measures such as the examples above, then they are free to reinstate their safety incentive programs.

The  Ultimate  Incentive

“The ultimate safety incentive is a larger understanding of why employees should want to be safe.  At the end of the day, it is not so the company will stay under OSHA’s radar. And it certainly is not so that everyone can earn a T-shirt.   It’s so the employee is able to go home to his or her loved ones – who are the reasons he or she comes to work in the first place.”  Jim Stanley, ehstoday.com  

February 2019 Safety Tip: Safety Incentives and OSHA

Fatigue At Work

January Safety Tip

Fatigue at Work – A Safety Nightmare In The Making

Fatigue is the state of feeling very tired, weary or sleepy. It results from not getting enough sleep, shiftwork, prolonged mental or physical work, or extended periods of stress or anxiety. Fatigue impacts work performance and safety and can cause health problems.

The risk of making mistakes at work increases dramatically if workers sleep for less than seven to eight hours, or are awake for more than 17 consecutive hours. One of the most important ways to protect against fatigue is to get enough rest. For most people that means seven to eight hours of sleep per night. 

Employers and supervisors should be concerned about the impact of fatigue in the workplace as it can be considered a form of impairment, making fatigue a workplace hazard. However, fatigue levels are not easily measured or quantified; therefore, it is difficult to isolate the effect of fatigue on accident and injury rates. Awareness and observation of changes in behavior is one method to identify fatigue. Factors that may influence fatigue are shift rotation patterns, balanced workloads, timing of tasks and activities, availability of resources, and the workplace environment (e.g., lighting, ventilation, temperature, etc.).

Research has shown that the number of hours awake can be similar to blood alcohol levels. One study reports the following:

  • 17 hours awake is equivalent to a blood alcohol content of 0.05
  • 21 hours awake is equivalent to a blood alcohol content of 0.08
  • 24-25 hours awake is equivalent to a blood alcohol content of 0.10

Fatigue affects people differently but it can increase a worker’s hazard exposure by:

  • reducing mental and physical functioning,
  • impairing judgement and concentration,
  • lowering motivation,
  • slowing reaction time, and
  • increasing risk-taking behavior.

Tips On Getting A Good Night Sleep

  • Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
  • Don’t eat too close to bedtime, as doing so can cause heartburn and just generally make it hard to fall asleep. Do eat a balanced diet of fruits, veggies, healthy fats, proteins and whole grains.
  • Turn off your cell phone or tablet at least one hour before you go to sleep and don’t watch TV in bed.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Eat at regular intervals and consume a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and protein.
  • If you are not sleepy, do not try to go to bed. Get up and read or do something quiet instead.
  • Avoid caffeine, tobacco or alcohol – especially before bed time.
  • Ask family members to be respectful if one person is sleeping.  Family members can use headphones for the TV and radio if necessary.
  • Make the room as dark and quiet as possible. Use heavy, dark curtains, blinds, or a sleeping eye mask. Soundproof the room where possible or use ear plugs.
  • Most people sleep better when the room is cool. Consider using an air conditioner or fan in the summer months.


Fatigue at Work – A Safety Nightmare in the Making


January 2019 Safety Tip:  Fatigue at Work

Holiday Stress

December Safety Tip

Holiday Stress


Coping with Stress Around the Holidays

With the end of the year comes the holiday season.  Everyone is familiar with the tension that the holidays can cause at home, and that same feeling of anxiety can spill over into the workplace.  End-of-year business demands and holiday-shortened deadlines take a toll on employee’s nerves.  According to experts, more people become depressed or anxious during the holiday season than any other time of the year. 

At the workplace, holiday-related doldrums manifest themselves in various forms, including a disengaged work force.  Productivity tends to drop off around the holidays, which can be caused by stress, but also feeling relaxed and carefree about the spirit of the season.  This shift in attitude can affect employee safety.

How can employers help their employees deal with holiday stress?  The following are some suggestions to help reduce holiday stress in the workplace:

  • Give employees a more flexible schedule to help them deal with added burdens outside the office.
  • Ease up on the dress code.
  • Incorporate wellness breaks to give employees a chance to refocus, such as a walk outside or quick team yoga session.
  • Help employees prioritize projects to manage pending deadlines.
  • Encourage employees to stay home when sick to help avoid spreading illness among the team.
  • Motivate employees to work together and share the workload.
  • Educate employees about financial wellness to assist them with budget concerns and enable them to plan ahead for holiday expenses.
  • Remind employees how important safety is in the workplace.

Employers can play a critical role in ensuring employees have the necessary support and are aware of resources that can provide assistance both during the holiday season and throughout the calendar year.


December 2018 Safety Tip:  Holiday Stress


Space Heaters

November Safety Tip

Space Heaters

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that more than 25,000 residential fires and more than 300 deaths are caused each year by space heaters. More than 6,000 Americans receive hospital emergency room care annually for burn injuries associated with room heaters.

To reduce the risk of a fire or injury, consider the following:

  • Make sure the heater you buy carries a certification label from an independent testing organization, like UL or CSA International
  • Ensure there is a smart sensor that shuts the heater off when it overheats and a tip over switch that does the same if the heater is knocked over
  • Avoid placing heaters too close to curtains, bedding, and upholstered furniture, papers, boxes
  • Be aware that most space heaters do not come with a GFCI plug which prevents electric shock, and should not be used around water.
  • Do not plug any other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater.
  • Place space heaters on level, flat surfaces. Never place heaters on cabinets, tables, furniture, or carpet, which can overheat and start a fire.
  • Always unplug and safely store the heater when it is not in use.
  • Do not use an extension cord. If you must use an extension cord, make sure it is marked #14 or #12 AWG. AWG stands for American Wire Gauge. A higher AWG indicates that there more bundled sheathed wires and stronger insulation.
  • Don’t use heaters in basements or workshops. Proximity to furnaces, paint cans, gas cans, matches, or other combustible materials is a major hazard. Basements and workshops also do not provide an ideal place for a heater.

November 2018 Safety Tip:  Space Heaters


Fire Safety Tips

October Safety Tip

Fire Safety Tips 

How can I protect against fire?

Fire is a deadly threat to any household. It can strike anywhere, at any time. You must be prepared by using the tools for fire protection.

Smoke alarms provide a warning of fire. Smoke alarms are the easiest, most cost-efficient way to alert your family of a developing fire. The more smoke alarms you have installed in your home, the more your chances increase that you will be alerted to a fire.

Fire extinguishers provide a tool to fight small fires. Having a fire extinguisher in your home can increase your chances of keeping a small fire from getting out of control and becoming a deadly rage.

Using both smoke alarms and fire extinguishers in your home, along with knowing what to do in case of fire, can help save your life!

I have one smoke alarm in my home. Is that enough protection against fire?

No, several smoke alarms and fire extinguishers must be installed and maintained for proper fire protection. The NFPA recommends smoke alarms be installed on every level of the home, and inside every bedroom and sleeping area. Smoke alarms should also be installed in the main corridor outside each bedroom area. Fire extinguishers should be installed on each living level, as well as in rooms that pose potential fire hazards (i.e., kitchen, garage, and workshop).

Installing and maintaining smoke alarms and fire extinguishers dramatically increases your family’s chances of surviving a fire.

Other important considerations include:

  • Mount smoke alarms in the middle of the ceiling when ceiling mounted. If that is not possible, mount detectors on the wall at least three feet away from a corner and 4 – 6 inches away from the ceiling.
  • Keep smoke alarms away from drafts created by fans or air ducts. The moving air can blow smoke away from the sensor.
  • Avoid placing smoke alarms too near the kitchen stove and bathroom shower, as cooking smoke and shower steam can cause nuisance alarms.
  • Mount fire extinguishers on a wall 3 1/2 to 5 feet above the floor. The location should be near an exit or an escape route from the room.

What types of smoke alarms are there?

There are two basic types of smoke alarms: ionization and photoelectric. Both are effective at detecting smoke, yet each has a unique detecting system.

  • Ionization technology is generally more sensitive than photoelectric technology at detecting small particles which tend to be produced in greater amounts by flaming fires, which consume combustible materials rapidly and spread quickly. Sources of these fires may include paper burning in a wastebasket, or a grease fire in the kitchen.
  • Photoelectric technology is generally more sensitive than ionization technology at detecting large particles, which tend to be produced in greater amounts by smoldering fires, which may smolder for hours before bursting into flame. Sources of these fires may include cigarettes burning in couches or bedding. Each type of detector also comes as AC-operated smoke alarms or battery-operated smoke alarms. Some AC alarms even come with a battery back-up system. Additional options can include an escape light, silencing button, or remote control mute feature.

What types of fire extinguishers are there?

Fire extinguishers are categorized by ratings. These ratings determine the size and type of fire that the extinguisher can successfully put out. Fire can be divided into three categories: A, B, or C. An “A” type fire is primarily wood, paper and fabric. “B” type fires are primarily flammable liquids (such as gasoline) and oil based. Finally, “C” type fires are electrical in nature.

The number preceding the A, B, or C rating determines how big of a professionally set fire the extinguisher can put out. For example, a 10-B:C extinguisher would be able to handle a 25 foot square fire of either flammable liquid or electrical origin. A 5-B:C extinguisher could handle a 12.5 square foot fire that is flammable liquid or electrical based.

What should I do if I hear the smoke alarms sound?

NEVER IGNORE THE SOUND OF A SMOKE ALARM.  If the smoke alarm is sounding its alarm, there is a reason. You and your family must be able to escape quickly and safely. Here are several steps your family can learn and rehearse for an emergency:

  1. Have an escape plan. Discuss and practice your escape plans. Know two exits from any room in the house.
  2. Feel if the door is hot. Always feel the door to see if it is hot before opening It to escape. If the doorknob or door is hot, do not use that exit. Use your alternate exit to escape.
  3. Crawl on the floor. Smoke from a fire rises and so does the temperature. If you crawl on the floor there will be less smoke and the heat from the fire will be less severe.
  4. Meet at a prearranged spot outside the home. If you clearly show where everyone is supposed to meet outside the home when there is a fire, it will be easier to know who is safe.
  5. Call the fire department from a neighbor’s home. Be prepared to give your full name and address to the operator at the other end of the line. Stay on the line until the operator has all of the information needed.
  6. Never go inside a burning building. Never return inside the house for any reason. The firefighters will be there soon.

If you follow these basic fire safety tips, you will increase your family’s chances for survival in a fire.

Are there other ways I can protect my family from fires?

The following is a fire safety checklist to lower the chances that a fire may start in your home:

  • Keep the furnace in working order.
  • Use a fireplace screen.
  • Have proper ventilation for heaters and other small appliances.
  • Do not smoke in bed.
  • Use the correct size fuses.
  • Don’t use worn out electrical wiring or run it under rugs or out windows or doors.
  • Clear refuse away-the less clutter, the less fuel a fire has to feed on.

Tips for testing and maintaining smoke alarms

  • The National Fire Protection Association recommends testing your smoke alarms at least once a month.
  • Make sure everyone in the home understands the sound of a smoke alarm and how to respond.
  • Follow the user manual instructions for cleaning and maintaining smoke alarms for proper functionality.
  • Smoke alarms require a new battery at least once a year or if a low battery chirp occurs.
  • Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10-years.
  • Smoke alarms with a 10-year sealed battery should be replaced once it exceeds its life expectancy or if a low battery chirp occurs.
  • When replacing a battery, follow the user manual which includes a full list of approved batteries.
  • Smoke alarms should be maintained according to the user manual.
  • All First Alert user manuals are located on www.firstalert.com within each product page.
  • The NFPA recommends smoke alarms be installed on every level of the home, including the basement.
  • Plan and practice an escape route with your family. If there is an emergency, everyone will know how to exit the home safely and where to meet.


October 2018 Safety Tip:  Fire Safety Tips


Arc Flash PPE

September Safety Tip

Arc Flash PPE 

Electricity is dangerous, as we all know.  Working with live electrical wires poses an additional risk that all employers need to be aware of.  The risk of arc flash is quite substantial for employees who work on live electrical wires.  An arc flash is when a flashover of electric current leaves its intended path and travels through the air from one conductor to another, or to the ground.  The temperature on arc flashes can reach, and in some cases exceed, 35,000°F at the arc terminals.  When a human is in close proximity to an arc flash, serious injury or death can occur.

Arc flash can be caused by many things, including:

  • Dust
  • Dropping tools
  • Accidental touching
  • Condensation
  • Material failure
  • Corrosion
  • Faulty installation

Three factors can determine the severity of an arc flash injury:

  • Proximity of the worker to the hazard
  • Temperature
  • Time for circuit to break

Facilities are responsible for assessing their own facility for arc flash hazards because there are environmental factors that go into the arc flash calculation.  The most important thing to determine is the “cal level” you are at.  A hazard analysis will help you determine the flash protection boundary distance and in turn, the hazard/risk category (HRC) number.  You will need to know both of these numbers before you begin shopping for PPE.  Without an incident energy analysis, the table method will be nec­essary.  An aspect of the new table method that enhances worker safety is the fact that if any of the specified conditions for normal operating conditions are not met, arc-rated clothing and PPE are mandated.

Of course the best way to protect workers from arc flash hazards is to de-energize the circuit.  However, this may not always be possible, therefore the appropriate personal protective equipment must be used.

In order to determine the PPE you should use when working with live electrical wiring, you can take a look at the hazard classification table shown below from the NFPA 70E Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace®.  This table shows you the hazard risk category associated with various tasks according to voltage level, and whether or not V-rated gloves or tools should be provided and used.

Arc-Flash PPE Category
1. Arc-Rated Clothing, Minimum Arc Rating of 4 cal/cm2 (16.75 J/ cm2)a

Arc-rated long-sleeve shirt and pants or arc-rated coverall

Arc-rated face shieldb or arc flash suit hood

Arc-rated jacket, parka, rainwear, or hard hat liner (AN)

Protective Equipment

Hard hat

Safety glasses or safety goggles (SR)

Hearing protection (ear canal inserts)c

Heavy-duty leather glovesd

Leather footwear (AN)

2. Arc-Rated Clothing, Minimum arc Rating of 8 cal/cm(33.5 J/ cm2) a

Arc-rated long-sleeve shirt and pants or arc-rated coverall

Arc-rated flash suit hood or arc-rated face shieldb and arc-rated balaclava

Arc-rated jacket, parka, rainwear, or hard had liner (AN)

Protective Equipment

Hard hat

Safety glasses or safety goggles (SR)

Hearing protection (ear canal inserts) c

Heavy-duty leather glovesd

Leather footwear

3.Arc-Rated Clothing Selected so That the System Arc Rating Meets the Required Minimum Arc Rating of 25 cal/ cm2 (104.7 J/ cm2) a

Arc-rated long-sleeved shirt (AR)

Arc-rated pants (AR)

Arc-rated coverall (AR)

Arc-rated arc flash suit jacket (AR)

Arc-rated arc flash suit pants (AR)

Arc-rated glovesd

Arc-rated jacket, parka, rainwear, or hard had liner (AN)

Protective Equipment

Hard hat

Safety glasses or safety goggles (SR)

Hearing protection (ear canal inserts) c

Leather footwear

4. Arc-Rated Clothing Selected so That the System Arc Rating Meets the Required Minimum Arc Rating of 40 cal/ cm2 (167.5 J/ cm2) a

Arc-rated long-sleeved shirt (AR)

Arc-rated pants (AR)

Arc-rated coverall (AR)

Arc-rated arc flash suit jacket (AR)

Arc-rated arc flash suit pants (AR)

Arc-rated arc flash suit hood

Arc-rated gloves c

Arc-rated jacket, parka, rainwear, or hard hat liner (AN)

Protective Equipment

Hard hat

Safety glasses or safety goggles (SR)

Hearing protection (ear canal inserts) c

Leather footwear

AN: As needed (optional). AR: As required.  SR: Selection required.

aArc rating is defined in Article 100.

bFace shields are to have wrap-around guarding to protect not only the face but also the forehead, ears, and neck, or, alternatively, an arc-rated arc flash suit hood is required to be worn.

cOther types of hearing protection are permitted to be used in lieu of or in addition to ear canal inserts provided they are worn under an arc-rated arc flash suit hood.

dIf rubber insulating gloves with leather protectors are used, additional leather or arc-rated gloves are not required. The combination of rubber insulating gloves with leather protectors satisfies the arc flash protection requirement.

September 2018 Safety Tip:  Arc Flash



August Safety Tip


August 2018 Safety Tip:  Complacency

Complacency 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. We may also underestimate the risk of tasks that we perform regularly, or fail to notice a change in our environment when we become complacent in our daily routines.

When working on the job, there is danger when a person goes on auto-pilot. All too often we don’t realize how complacent we are until we have a near miss or incident. When something like this happens, it jumpstarts our heart and then we refocus our attention.

Most incidents are caused by unsafe acts.  Companies and employees work hard to create a safe workplace and eliminate unsafe acts. But what happens to one’s own unsafe behavior? When workers begin to work in auto-pilot mode, and stop paying attention to what they are doing, that can lead to taking short cuts and taking risks.

If employees aren’t thinking about what could go wrong every day, all day while they work, they are not completing the task safely.

Battling Complacency


  • Encourage employees to examine equipment, procedures and the hazards that may exist. They need to focus physically and mentally on their work, no matter how many times they may have done the same job in the past.
  • Train workers to think ahead as they approach each task and consider:
    • What they are working with
    • What they will be doing
    • Where they will be going
    • What could go wrong


  • Recognize work tasks that you may be so used to doing that you no longer take the same precautions when performing them. Think back to when you first got this job or the first time you did a specific task; were you more cautious or did you follow more safety procedures?
  • Audit yourself or even have a coworker audit your work to see what your shortcomings may be when completing work tasks. Having someone else give you constructive feedback can help give you an honest look at where you can improve.
  • Fight the urge to take the easy way out or make the easier decision when it comes to following safety rules or procedures. Rationalizing why you should allow yourself to cut corners leaves you open to more risk. Hold yourself and others around you accountable to do what needs to be done.
  • Once you realize what risks you are leaving yourself exposed to begin to make it a habit to take the steps that mitigate or eliminate that hazard. Once an action is repeated over and over and has become a habit, it becomes automatic and it is much less likely you will have to face complacency to get yourself to do it.


We all have to face and fight off complacency from time to time. It is important to monitor yourself when it comes to complacency on the job. What corners are you cutting? Why are you cutting those corners? What do you need to address in order to resist complacency with the hazards of your work?