Influencing Attitudes for Safety

By John Howell

Do attitudes matter?

Attitudes have a great deal to do with how employees perform their daily tasks. Positive attitudes are conducive to safety performance and productivity, while negative attitudes can lead to accidents and injuries.

Negative attitudes

Certain attitudes towards safety can put people at risk.

Over-confidence: The belief that experience and skill can replace the need for safety precautions.

Under-confidence: The belief that you are unable to influence your safety environment. Possible underlying beliefs include:

  • That safety is a matter of chance, fate, or destiny, rather than personal action.
  • That the nature of your job requires overlooking safety practices.
  • That your organization does not really care about safety, and they will not listen to your concerns.
  • That making safe choices will have a negative impact on how you are perceived by coworkers, because it will slow you down.
Positive attitudes

People play an active role in their own safety when they believe that they can and should do so.  Positive beliefs include:

  • Accidents have causes, and they can always be prevented.
  • Accidents interfere with production; therefore, safe work is efficient work.
  • Working safely shows care for family and loved ones.
  • Organizations want safe working environments.
  • Coworkers will respect good judgment and safe choices.
  • Working safely is a mark of skill and positive professional conduct.
  • Contributing to an organization’s positive safety record is important.
Create a culture of safety

Attitudes are contagious: Creating a good environment for safety practices and ideas makes everyone more likely to accept them.

Attitudes are influenced by example: Set an example by working safely and working for safety. Others will be influenced by what they see.

New hires are impressionable: They are strongly influenced by the behavior of the veteran workers and supervisors. Be sure new hires are given the correct direction and safety instruction right from the start.

Positive safety attitudes will spread throughout the work culture if each employee takes an active part in the discussion of how accidents can be prevented.

NOTE: Always promote a discussion on any of the topics covered in the Tool Box Talks. Should any question arise that you cannot answer, don’t hesitate to contact your Employer.


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