Complacency Can Lead to Safety Accidents

Safety not Complacency

Complacency Can Lead to Safety Accidents

“Complacency affects every workplace and employee to different degrees. It often shows up as a feeling of security that leads to a lack of awareness of your surroundings. Regardless of age or experience, complacency can be the result of spending too much time on a task or getting too comfortable with a daily routine.” [NSC]

“When working on routine, repetitive tasks, or driving to familiar sites, you can become very comfortable, and you go on ‘auto-pilot.’ All too often you do not realize how complacent you have become until you have a near miss or close call. Such events tend to jump start hearts and refocus proper attention, at least for a little while, to the importance of tasks at hand. Complacency causes a sense of numbness to hazards.” [AS]

It is crucial to be self-aware and alert of yourself, your environment and the task at hand when working in familiar surroundings or on a familiar task.

“Complacency can be the most dangerous mindset that results in an injury or accident. When you begin to work on ‘auto-pilot’ mode, and stop paying attention to what you are doing, that can lead to taking short cuts and taking risks.” [AS]

4 Signs of Complacency at Work

  • Disengagement
  • Shortcuts
  • Frequent Mistakes
  • Neglecting Tasks and Showing Carelessness [IET]

“We become complacent because it is easier than putting out the effort to observe, understand, plan and contend for improvement. Complacency is one of the great challenges in health and safety management in the workplace. As workers become experienced, as the work becomes routine and not as challenging, then it also become easy for safety to be taken for granted. Familiarity with routines can lead to contempt and complacency. Safety has to be the number one priority, not only in words, but in deeds.” ~Ralph Buck, Senior Analyst for 31 years

4 Tips to Change Complacency in the Workplace

  • Teach Self-Awareness
  • Change Routines
  • Build an Effective Coaching Program
  • Perform Risk Assessments with Incentives [IET]

“Safe, engaged employees often work in-the-moment, meaning they are focused on their tasks and their surroundings.” [NSC]

To remain safe, “consider changing some elements of your schedule for the day; the change could help you focus and keep you from falling into ‘auto-pilot’ mode.” [NSC]

Complacency on the Road

Historic U.S. Route 50 is referred to as “The Loneliest road in America.” Stretching from West Sacramento, California to Ocean City, Maryland this major east-west highway has large sections of barren, rural land. This 3,008 mile highway is definitely one stretch of road where diligence while driving is necessary for safety and well-being.

Complacency in the Home

It is easy to speak of workplace safety, but we must mention safety in the home. We can become complacent in our kitchen working with sharp knives or kitchen appliances. We must stay diligent in the home workshop or with our lawn equipment.

Routine can breed carelessness and complacency in any environment. Let us be diligent to stay alert and safe inside and outside our homes.


Useful Vessel of Honor Useful Vessel of Honor – Strength with Dignity


Are You at Risk for Complacency? Published by the National Safety Council [NSC]. Retrieved February 20, 2022, from

Buck, Ralph. Why Do People Become so Complacent? Retrieved February 20, 2022, from Quora.

Complacency in the Workplace: What It Is and Tips for Changing It. Published by Indeed on April 29, 2021. Written by the Indeed Editorial Team [IET]. Retrieved February 20, 2022, from

What is complacency and How Does it Affect Work Sites? Published by Air Swift [AS]. Retrieved February 20, 2022, from,extremely%20dangerous%20in%20the%20workplace.&text=Companies%20and%20employees%20work%20hard,workplace%20and%20eliminate%20unsafe%20acts.

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6 thoughts on “Complacency Can Lead to Safety Accidents”

  1. I’ve been a victim of kitchen complacency 😆. It resultón a painful cut on my finger. When we visited a Toyota factory a few years ago, we observed two things—they didn’t work on the same vehicle, one after another. Instead, each truck was different. In addition, any worker who noticed something off our out of place could stop the production line. Both of those practices helped combat complacency!

  2. I realize that even at home I can become complacent. I’ve hit my thigh on our bedpost more times than I can count–and I develop a bruise every time to prove it. ha. Paying attention is definitely a worthy goal. My husband works at a rocket factory and they have very high safety standards for all. They also offer frequent rewards and incentives to keep a perfect safety record.

    1. It’s great that your husband’s rocket factory is so careful, and they offer incentives for good safety records. Lisa, it sounds like you need a bumper pad on your bedpost. Ha!

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