Common Sense and Accident Prevention Go Hand in Hand

Written by A J Hale Jr. CSM-LSP, CompOne Administrators Safety & Loss Prevention Risk Manager

Generally speaking, we’re not born with common sense, we acquire it throughout life. Common sense is really our life’s experiences (and training) put into action depending on the circumstances. Safety experts say at least 80 percent of workplace accidents are caused by the unsafe acts of employees – and not by unsafe conditions.

Common Sense Is Affected When The Following Conditions Exist

  • In A Hurry – Sometimes there is more concern for completing a job quickly than safely. Take time to do a good job and a safe job.
  • Taking Unnecessary Chances – Daring behavior or blatant disregard for safe work practices can put you and your co-workers at risk. Follow all company safety rules and watch out for your fellow employees. Risky behavior is never appropriate on the job and sometimes can lead to disciplinary action.
  • Mentally Preoccupied – We all have other “things” going on in our lives – family issues, financial issues, thinking and planning for things outside of work. But not concentrating while on the job can get you seriously hurt or even killed. Focus on the task at hand. If your mind is distracted while at work, you’re at far greater risk for an on-the-job injury.

The “It Will Never Happen to Me” Belief System

Maybe you’re experienced and good at your job and you’ve done a certain job or task hundreds of times the same way. So, what if you’re breaking the safety rules – an accident will never happen to you. Or will it?

Angry or In A Negative Mindset
Being angry or in a bad mood can lead to a serious on-the-job injury because anger almost always rules over caution, and sometimes can cause aggressive behavior or actions. Keep your “bad mood” in check and stay cool and in charge of your emotions while at work and you’ll be far less likely to get hurt.

What’s Similar about 8 Out of Every 10 Accidents?
Broken down even further, statistics state that at least 8 out of 10 workplace accidents are the result of unsafe acts, many of which are actions we take even though we know the safe procedure. This is kind of strange if you think about it. We have more to fear from our own actions than from any other job hazards around us. So why do we deliberately expose ourselves to injury every day? The two following “excuses” are the most popular answer to that question:

  1.  It Won’t Happen To Me
    Many of us are just thinking about getting the job done and we may not give much thought to the risk of getting injured. We know we’ve done this task or job the same way many, many times before and we’ve not gotten hurt. No matter what we hear at company safety meetings, or when mentioned by our supervisor, we think to ourselves – “it won’t happen to me.”It will happen to you – maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow. But if you continue to work unsafely, you will get hurt. Don’t take chances and don’t use the “It won’t happen to me” excuse.
  2. We Take Shortcuts
    Another popular excuse I hear often from employees breaking a safety rule is “this job will only take a few moments, I don’t need my safety equipment” – so we take a safety “shortcut.” For example, not putting on our safety glasses because the task is short and your glasses are all the way back at your truck, or not sloping back that trench because we’ll soon finish work at the bottom of the trench and start backfilling.
    Just like the “It won’t happen to me” excuse, the safety “shortcut” excuse will eventually get you hurt.Why take a chance in the first place? Accidents can happen to you – and eventually they will happen if you continue to take safety shortcuts. Do the right thing and put safety first in every job or task you do and you won’t need any excuses.

Should you require assistance with understanding or applying the OSHA or MIOSHA Standards, please contact AJ Hale, CompOne Administrators Inc./Rizikon, at 269-789-9166 or

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