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Like complacency, overconfidence in the workplace is dangerous

| Jan 27, 2021 | Workers' Compensation |

Ohio employers in all industries must protect the safety and health of employees. They must address all known safety hazards, inform workers of the dangers they may encounter, and provide adequate safety training. However, behavioral safety plays a significant role, and in many cases, complacency or overconfidence lead to workplace accidents with devastating consequences.

There is nothing wrong with workers being confident, knowing that they can complete tasks well and quickly. Regardless of their skills and years of experience, compliance with basic safety standards is crucial.

The following examples show how overconfidence can be deadly:

  • Electrocutions occur during electrical repairs without taking lockout/tagout precautions.
  • Falls from heights have claimed many lives of workers not hooking up their fall arrest safety gear.
  • Allowing ignition sources in flammable atmospheres has killed or maimed many workers.
  • Many drivers have suffered fatal or debilitating injuries in crashes while traveling familiar routes.
  • After using the same punch presses or saws for many years, overconfidence can cause amputations.

Risks and hazards exist in all industries, and a conveyor can grab loose clothing of long-time workers as quickly as inexperienced workers. Similarly, slippery floors remain hazardous, regardless of years of experience.

Many experienced workers avoid attending safety meetings and wearing personal protective equipment, thinking they have heard it all before. However, for long-time workers, safety meetings serve to prevent complacency and remind them of the hazards. Regarding personal protective equipment, the same dangers exist after 20 years as on the first day on the job.

Avoiding overconfidence and complacency can prevent work-related accidents, but there will always be injury risks. Fortunately, the Ohio workers’ compensation system is a no-fault program. That means that, even if overconfidence led to on-the-job injuries, that worker will remain eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.