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Beating the “Ten Feet Tall and Bulletproof” Attitude

Construction worker balancing between scaffold and formwork frame, complacent to the risk

Workers’ attitudes can often compromise their safety. These attitudes can vary from “I know what I’m doing” and “I’m safe enough” to “I’ve been doing it this way for thirty years and nothing’s ever happened.” And because these feelings tend to be deeply ingrained, it can be challenging for EHS professionals to deal with.

Jack Jackson addresses this problem in Safety and Health Magazine. As an experienced safety consultant and speaker, Jackson provides practical advice on turning around a ten-feet-tall-and-bulletproof attitude.

Although the issue is complex, Jackson pinpoints three ways for safety professionals to turn around poor safety attitudes, including by tapping into people’s natural motivation. He explains that it’s hard to influence people’s intrinsic motivations when it comes to their own safety, but it’s a different story when it comes to their loved ones.

“There are several ways you can leverage people’s natural desire to keep their family safe. Training can be framed as an opportunity to pass on skills from the workplace to home. So, when you’re reviewing safety requirements, for example, discuss how people can teach a similar safety sensibility to their family, and how their own actions will set an example for their children.”

Providing resources to take home is also a good idea. Doing so will help organizations expand the circle of safety and demonstrate their commitment to employees and their families. When workers know that they’re not only a number on a spreadsheet, they’re more likely to take safety seriously.

In the article, Jackson describes two more ways to address employees’ cavalier attitude towards safety: helping workers come to grips with their fallibility and getting everyone in the same room.  He succinctly explains how to make strides towards both goals.

The full article is a quick and easy read, full of valuable information that can help safety professionals tackle this serious problem in their workplace.

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