Workers' top 5 safety excuses and how to counter them
Chances are you've heard pretty much every excuse in the book from workers dropping the ball on safety procedures.
And while the more off-the-wall excuses may be entertaining (or that much more frustrating) from time to time, most safety pros can list several excuses they hear again and again. But there are ways to fight those excuses and get workers to follow safety procedures.
The PBP executive report, Employees' Top 10 Safety Excuses and How to Counter Them, lists strategies to get workers on board.
Here are the top five excuses from the report and what to say when workers try to use them.
1. 'It won't happen to me'
Two polar-opposite groups of workers often use this excuse. Veteran workers think they've seen it all before, and if they haven't been hurt yet, they must be doing something right. Young workers think they're invincible.
The response: Telling these workers that gruesome injuries happen isn't enough. To really send the message, ask workers who've suffered an injury to share their stories, or include some gory images in your next training.
2. 'Safety's not my job'
Some employees see safety as a separate department, so they're not responsible for it.
The response: Show workers how safety impacts the bottom line, from workers' comp costs to OSHA fines.
3. 'Safety's boring'
Employees often associate safety with boring training sessions or confusing OSHA regs.
The response: Get workers involved in training. Encourage them to actively participate or even lead a session. That way at least they'll have an appreciation for what it takes to get others engaged in the topics.
4. 'The gear's uncomfortable'
It's the most common excuse when workers are caught not wearing PPE.
The response: Give workers a say in PPE selection. Get a few employees to test new gear and let them pick which new equipment to buy.
5. 'I just forgot'
This is the toughest excuse to counter, because it's often a cover for some other cop out.
The response: Get tough on this excuse. If a worker forgot "just this once," issue disciplinary action "just this once."
Reprinted with permission from
Safety Compliance Alert 3/24/11
Wed, April 27, 2011
by Kim Bowman