How to Reduce Human Error by Tackling Complacency in the Workplace

Complacency is a side effect of comfort. When an individual is comfortable in their role, then they can start to become complacent. This can lead to errors.

Some errors may only be small, but others could affect the safety of the employees themselves, or even put others in harms way. How do you tackle the issue of complacency? We’ve come up with a few suggestions.

Recognise Complacency

Complacency is a state of mind and once recognised, it can be acted upon. Being aware of the state of mind – to – error risk pattern can mean the difference between an accident occurring and being prevented. If you are aware of when you are most likely to be complacent, you will be aware of the risks that surround you. However, getting employees to individually recognise this within themselves is easier said than done.

Complacency is also easier to identify in others than yourself. Spotting patterns within your staff will help to tackle the issue. Over time it is likely that employees will become comfortable in their job role. They will feel they are able to do the job without giving too much thought to it. It is this state of mind that means employees become overly confident within their role. Processes and procedures, such as health and safety, can be overlooked due to familiarity.

Change The Habit

Complacency is a habit that is hard to shake. This has an effect on other thought processes that keep us safe. Day-to-day tasks are often completed on auto-pilot without due care and attention to the health and safety policies surrounding them until it’s too late.

A good way to change this habit is to schedule regular meetings or refresher sessions to remind employees of the critical health and safety policies in place and the risks that they will face. These meetings should include interactive elements to increase audience engagement. Include real-life examples of accidents that have happened due to policies not being followed; this enforces the need for having them in the first place. At the end of the meeting include a question and answer section, or, include a quiz to test their knowledge. This will help to identify which individuals may need more attention if they appear to be struggling. Furthermore, ensure all employees are made aware of any changes that are made to any policy.

Once you have broken the habit, these changes will positively improve both your professional and personal life. Breaking the state – to – error risk pattern will make you more aware to potential risks and so less likely to suffer from them. For instance, you are more likely to have a car crash within a mile radius of your home due to familiarity, frequency of use and therefore complacency when driving on these roads. However, by acknowledging that you may make an error on this journey, as you often complete it automatically, will in-turn make you more aware of potential risks as you are already predicting that you will face them.

Lone Workers Are More Likely To Suffer From Complacency

Lone workers can be more likely to suffer from complacency than employees that work in the immediate vicinity of others. Without immediate supervision, it is easy to let your mind wander whilst completing a job which can result in a mistake being made; with no immediate help at hand, you are more likely to be at risk of serious harm. Ensure that you always carry a personal safety device. In the event that you find yourself needing urgent assistance, help is only a button push away.