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Are These 5 Monsters Lurking in Your Safety Program? Learn Where They Hide

Toby Graham

Are These 5 Monsters Lurking in Your Safety Program? Learn Where They Hide

Forget about ghosts, witches or zombies. Some real-life monsters can lurk around in a company’s closet and slowly suck the life out of your safety culture. Keep your eye out for these menaces.

Systematic Desensitization

This happens when people hear a message over and over again. Over time, they become immune to the message.

Similarly, if people are constantly exposed to a dangerous activity, they become less vigilant and begin to ignore the danger.

Normalized Deviance

This is a long-term phenomenon in which workers repeatedly get away with a deviation from established procedures. The deviant behavior becomes normalized and no longer seems unsafe.

Basically, workers do things without getting hurt, so they keep doing it.

The more times they get away with it, the more they believe they can’t get hurt. This creates a false sense of security and confidence.

Inattention Blindness

This is the failure to notice a fully visible, but unexpected object because attention was engaged on another task, event, or object.

People tend to see only what they’re looking for.

When workers are focused on one thing, like getting a job done quickly, they may pay little attention to hazards that may be around them.

Expecting what is supposed to happen can result in missing the unexpected or unusual that is right in front of our faces.

Optimism Bias

Some may refer to this as looking through rose-colored glasses.

Humans tend to overestimate the likelihood of positive events and underestimate the likelihood of adverse events. People believe that they, themselves, are less likely to experience an adverse event.

It is an attitude of “accidents happen to other people, but won’t happen to me.”


Some workers are simply unaware of the risks associated with the work they perform.

They blindly perform safety-sensitive tasks and either unknowingly avert an incident or actually suffer the consequences.

This can often affect newly hired employees, workers in a new industry, those whose role has changed, those using new equipment, or the under-supervised.

10 Strategies to Avoid The Safety Monsters

These concepts are all natural human tendencies. But, it is important to stay vigilant and avoid complacent habits in the workplace.

The best approach to avoid complacency is a deliberate and ongoing effort. Here are 10 strategies to consider…

  1. Perform a risk assessment before any job task
  2. Leaders must consistently communicate and correct
  3. Ask questions
  4. Follow policies and procedures
  5. Ensure training is complete
  6. Never assume
  7. Know what is going on around you
  8. Be aware of potential risk
  9. Wear the appropriate PPE
  10. Never hesitate to stop the job

Organizations of all kinds use KPA’s EHS tools to maximize employee motivation, productivity, and retention.

With software, on-demand expertise, and award-winning training courses on your side, you’ll banish the safety monsters for good!


Toby Graham

Toby manages the marketing communications team here at KPA. She's on a quest to help people tell clear, fun stories that their audience can relate to. She's a HUGE sugar junkie...and usually starts wandering the halls looking for cookies around 3pm daily.

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