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4 Reasons Why Workers Engage In Shortcuts.


Shortcuts are prevalent in workplaces. Workers engage in shortcuts for one reason or the other. No matter what the reasons are; they can never be justified. Shortcuts are actions employees put up or do that they assume will save time and most of the time at the risk of being injured. Even when Workers know the existing unsafe conditions and controls, they consciously choose to perform their work in an unsafe manner. Let’s see the reasons why workers engage in a shortcut to the detriment of their lives.

1. Organisational Deadlines.

Companies and organisations do come with deadlines. Those deadlines may be to meet up with their client’s/customer’s requests for a particular service or product at a given time. The management to meet up with these charges the workers to work with targets beyond their normal capacity. By so doing, the workers exhibit shortcuts to impress the management.

2. Complacency can make a worker engage in shortcuts.

Experienced workers do engage in shortcuts because of complacency. With their experience, they believed that mistakes can’t happen while performing their job. They overlook the safe work procedure by doing the jobs unsafely. Complacency is one of the causes of accidents in the workplace. The behaviour exists among the highly experienced personnel in a company.

Complacency can be an issue in the construction and healthcare industries. Those industries need workers to remain vigilant and aware of workplace hazards. Accidents can happen when they are not vigilant while working. There are so many ways to manage complacency in a company. 

  • There should be a retraining schedule for workers on safe work procedures. The management has to prepare the training timetable and ensure the participation of all workers. 
  • Offer incentives to workers who are not complacent. The incentives would act as a natural motivator for them not to be complacent at work. And those other workers who are complacent will likely change their behaviour. Giving them a bonus as an incentive can be a good one. 
  • Ensure that all workers are conversant with the risk assessment of their activity. The risk assessment has to be current and up-to-date. When workers know about the risk in their work activity, they will adjust to perform it better. 
  • Change work routines for workers. Most times, workers prefer a role they do frequently; allowing this will make them so comfortable in such jobs that they no longer consider the hazards of that job. Encourage giving workers different tasks or roles from their regular jobs. The routine change will help to combat the complacency to a greater extent.
  • Encourage the workers to be more self-aware of the work area. The more aware of the environment and their job, the more they can see hazards and control them effectively. 

3. Unaware of the safety hazards in a job.

Safety hazards can be slips, trips, falls, falls from height, fire, explosion, manual handling etc. Inadequate training and education on job hazard analysis will make the workers unaware of the hazards in a Job and how to do a job safely. Doing the job in their own way exposes them to shortcuts and possible injuries associated with the work. The key focus for all workers is their ability to be aware of the various hazards in their work activity. You can obtain the hazards involved in the work activities through,

  • Proper risk assessment of the work activity
  • Job hazard analysis of that particular task
  • Records of accidents and incidents from the activity
  • Nearmiss records on the activity.
  • Through thorough observation of the work environment
  • Inspection records for the work environment. 
  • Through investigation and seeking opinions of the workers doing the actual job. 

4. Workers engage in shortcuts because of Job insecurity.

Companies are laying off workers and workers who do not impress the management at work are most times the worst hit, No worker would like to lose his job when he knew that shortcuts would help him to keep it. Companies need results and outputs.

Production will tell you that time is of the essence, it is money as well, and we need to work with time. With shortcuts, you will reduce the working time and achieve maximum outputs but at the risk of being injured.

Taking Short cuts examples 

  • A worker decides not to wear the correct PPE for the job because he feels that the PPE will waste his time. The worker goes on to carry out the task.
  • A worker goes on to do a task by jumping up the wall instead of the worker waiting for the store manager to make a ladder available.
  • A worker Jumping up from the ground to access a height on site instead of waiting to mobilise a ladder. 
  • There is a procedure on how to carry out a painting activity. The worker chooses to avoid the painting procedure because he has a target to meet up with and does not want to delay his time. 

Potential injuries from taking a shortcut at the workplace

Taking a shortcut has the potential to give rise to many injuries to the worker. The injuries are 

  • Broken bones
  • Cuts.
  • Bruises.
  • Lacerations.
  • Concussions

OSHA regulation concerning shortcuts

OSHA has no specific regulation concerning shortcuts on site. However, any act or behaviour that will make the workers not comply with the requirements of OSHA can be seen as a shortcut, and anyone should try as much as possible to avoid such violations. 

Common Hazards associated with safety shortcuts

These are the hazards a worker can be exposed to when taking a shortcut at the workplace.

  • Slip trips and fall hazards.
  • Chemical inhalations.
  • Hazardous substance.

In conclusion,

We all take occasional shortcuts in life whether by driving a particular route to shorten our commute or crossing the street instead of using the crosswalk. Taking a shortcut is a poor sign of poor safety DNA.

All too often shortcuts results in negative outcomes and it is a bad habit worker engage themselves in while working.

Shortcuts can increase risk exposure and undermine job safety policies set forth by organisations. The organisation can take measures to change such behaviour and promote a positive safety culture.

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