Just how cynical are some employees about workplace safety?
A recent Purdue University study may provide some clues.
When it comes to speeding, many people don’t worry about safety. They just worry about getting caught.
That’s one of the messages researchers took away from surveying almost 1,000 people.
They also found this correlation: The faster people think they can go before getting a ticket, the more likely they are to think safety’s not compromised at higher speeds.
As a safety pro, you know what happens after employees complete safety training. Many workers take the training to heart and follow the rules, such as always wearing their protective gear, or locking and tagging out equipment every time they perform maintenance.
But there’s always at least one in a crowd who has rationalized not following the rules. They think they’ll never get hurt. The only reason they might follow a safety rule is because of stiff consequences if they don’t.
Another finding by the researchers may be even more troubling. Getting stopped for speeding didn’t seem to have an effect on whether or not someone speeds again.
The researchers say this is probably because people who habitually speed aren’t significantly deterred by being stopped. Those who are inherently more conservative are more likely to slow down after getting a ticket.
What’s the lesson here? Perhaps it’s a call for a “two strikes and you’re out” policy when it comes to safety rules. Depending on the nature of the infraction, a second chance might be in order when a worker violates a safety rule.
But if they break the rule again, you may have someone who doesn’t care about safety — all they care about is whether they’ll get caught. Since no one can watch these workers every minute while they’re at work, the second strike may be a sign to let the worker go.
What do you think? Let us know in the Comments Box.