Creating an effective Safety Culture is something we preach daily to our clients, partners, friends, and family. Through our decades of experience, we have learned that an effective Safety Culture is something that is developed through individuals buying into the idea that safety is the top value at home and work. Here are two main obstacles we must overcome to change the view of fall protection.
Obstacle #1: “Fall Protection equipment is uncomfortable.”
We as safety professionals consistently face two adversaries when changing workers’ mindsets towards safety. One of them is the idea of comfort, a luxury that almost all of us enjoy and appreciate regardless of the setting. It’s hard to argue that being comfortable is more pleasant than being uncomfortable, and workers agree. Fall protection harnesses are designed to be snug and tight, making them a point of contention for workers across numerous industries. It can be challenging to convince them of the necessity of fall protection simply due to their preferred level of comfort.
Obstacle #2: Poor Planning & Time Management
Another excuse as to why fall protection regularly gets neglected stems from poor planning and a misconstrued value of time. Workers fail to plan their days and can forget potential environments where fall protection is needed, often times leaving their harness and other necessary equipment away from the job site. This leads to the excuse from workers of not wanting to “waste time” by retrieving their harness, citing that they “have done the job a million times and haven’t fallen once”.
Addressing The Issues
Changing the mindset of workers is a difficult task that only gets more difficult the longer bad practice continues. In order to see a significant change amongst attitudes toward Fall Protection safety and equipment, a significant investment of time and persistence is needed. Employers and leaders need to take the time to encourage their workers to consistently think about why they should be safe in addition to how. Remind them that the purpose of safety is to get them back to their families in one piece and a few hours of discomfort of Fall Protection equipment is worth the reward.