For most of us, we have been doing our jobs long enough to know what is the right way to do something and what falls short to “good enough”. When it comes to workplace safety “good enough” does not cut it. When addressing hazards, having this mindset will lead to exposure to risk that will eventually result in incidents and injuries occurring. It is important to take the time to not only identify hazards but also taking the proper time and energy to mitigate them.
What Leads to the “Good Enough” Mindset?
There are many reasons why individuals may be tolerant of unnecessary risk during work tasks. A few of these reasons could include:
- Complacency. For individuals who have been doing their work for long periods of time, complacency can be one of the biggest challenges to avoiding a “good enough” mindset.
- Lack of training or understanding. Some workers, especially those less experienced, may not understand the importance of taking certain steps to protect themselves and those around them while completing their work.
- The culture of their work group or the company as a whole supports tolerating risk. When supervisors or coworkers do not follow safety rules or procedures then others around them are more willing to also not follow the rules and settle for good enough.
- Lack of energy or fatigue. There are many times we do not feel 100%. Lack of energy is a huge problem across the U.S. with all the demands we deal with both at home and at work. When fatigue or lack of energy becomes an issue our work suffers, including being safe while at work.
How to Avoid a “Good Enough” Mindset
- Always aim to do your best. Often times, we know what the expectation is or how things should be done so the only thing left is to put action to that knowledge and do the right thing. Not only will doing your best help to ensure less chance of injury, it also builds your personal reputation as a worker.
- Recognize when you are not feeling your best or when your energy levels are low. If you find yourself leaning towards making the easy choice instead of the right choice then take steps to combat the urge to cut corners.
- Remind yourself why certain safety policies or best practices are in place and that the expectation is to follow them.
- Have others who excel in their job double-check your work or give you feedback. Reaching out to others allows you to ensure you fully understand the task and the hazards which can lead to identifying ways to improve.
“Good enough” is a mindset that plagues individuals both at work and at home in different aspects of life. When we aim lower than what we know our potential is we are leaving a lot on the table. When it comes to safety at work, aiming lower than what is expected can lead to serious injuries.