Most of us know that accidents are caused by only two things - unsafe acts/practices, and unsafe conditions. Some of us even know that 9 out of 10 accidents are the result of unsafe acts, or things we do when we know better. 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. Why do we deliberately expose ourselves to injury every day?
Attitude: “It Won't Happen to Me”
Basically, most of us are just thinking about getting the job done and we tend to rationalize the risk of getting injured. We think to ourselves that we have done this job many, many times this way and nothing bad has happened. Therefore, nothing bad will happen to us today. On an intellectual level, we realize there is a potential danger but decide that the risk of being injured is low. Because we have not been injured so far, we may think of ourselves as being very safety conscious. We know the right way to do it, we realize that it is hazardous to do it this way, but what we are really thinking to ourselves is "It won't happen to me."
Attitude: “It’s OK to Take Short Cuts”
Some of us are meticulous about following safe work practices, but because a job "will only take a minute" we use an unsafe method or tool. For example, not putting on our safety glasses because the job will only take a minute, or not locking out a machine because an adjustment will only take a second. Or maybe even forgetting to inform our supervisor and coworkers where we are, because we'll only be in a hazardous environment for a few seconds.
Usually we think about it just before we do something a little unsafe, or maybe quite a bit unsafe. We know better, we know the safe way to do it, but we take that little chance. In effect we are saying, "I know that this could result in an injury, but "It can't happen to me." Maybe it's human nature to think that accidents always happen to someone else, but they can happen to you too. What makes you different?
Why take a chance in the first place? Only you can decide to take the time to do your job safely and correctly the first time. And don’t forget, your injury doesn’t just affect you. Stop and think about how it might affect your family and coworkers before you take an unsafe risk.