In most companies, safety practices are often grandfathered in with the original management. Over time, it’s important to consider if safety practices need to be updated to reduce workplace hazards and injuries.
While companies may have established safety practices, if they are only focused on one area of risk, the entire company could be overlooking potential hazards. These can be called “biases” or “a blind eye” because it may seem like management is only concerned with one area of safety. In reality, many managers are inadvertently biased to a safety issue.
3 Workplace Safety Biases that Can Increase Hazards
If management operates under any of these safety biases, you could unintentionally be increasing the hazards for employees.
Safety Bias #1: Injuries are Caused by Behavior
In this bias, a safety office or supervisor may only focus on safety hazards that stem from employee behavior. While behavioral issues may indeed cause accidents in the workplace, other elements produce risks too. If a manager only considers employee behavior when it comes to safety practices, they may miss out on:
- Equipment damages or risks
- Environmental factors
- Subpar employee safety training
Safety Bias #2: Relying on Common Sense
When a manager thinks that employees can be safe by relying on common sense, the workplace can become a very unsafe environment. Since common sense stems from personal experiences, every single employee will approach workplace hazards differently, and therefore, you cannot rely on common sense to keep anyone safe.
There are truly some workers who are able to assess the risk in a situation faster, better, and more completely than other workers. These are fantastic people to hire, but it doesn’t mean that you should expect each employee to have these skills. Instead, be sure to thoroughly train your workers on a variety of safety issues and hazards.
Safety Bias #3: Assuming the Best
As a manager, it is your job to keep the workplace safe for all employees. Avoid looking at your workplace through rose-colored glasses. Obviously, this can lead to dismissing or being blind to several real safety risks. Instead, observe your workspace analytically, considering if there is anything you can do to make it a more safe and productive environment.
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