The complacency myth and laziness fallacy

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It’s all about understanding motivation
 January
13, 2012 at 9:45 PM
 30 Dead (2 still missing)
 Francesco Schettino[(Captain) had passed the
shoreline closely at least four times prior to
the sinking
 30 minutes passed between the striking and
the notification of shore authorities of the
event
 Most of the crew of the ship did not speak
Italian and had a limited command of English
 Francesco
Schettino joined Costa as a SAFETY
OFFICER in 2002
 Had never been involved in a Safety Incident
before
 Had the Captain ignored the risks?
 Was the Captain complacent?[
 MV
Dona Paz – (1987) Philippines 4,341
 Al Salam Boccaccio 98 – (2006) Egypt 1012
 MS Estonia - (1994) Estonia 998
 MV Bukoba – (1996) Tanzania 758
 Shamia – (1996) Bangladesh 660
 MS Express Samina – (2000) Greece 143
1.
2.
3.
Yes
No
Once or Twice
48%
48%
4%
1
2
3
 1.
A feeling of contentment or selfsatisfaction, especially when coupled with an
unawareness of danger, trouble, or
controversy.
 2. An instance of contented self-satisfaction.
 Let’s




Talk About Habituation
Natural
Serves a Need
Can be an Important Characteristic
Is at the Root of most “Complacency”
 Be
safe 100% of the time
 Always be aware
 Always be careful
 Pay attention 100% of the time
 Usually
used to “Blame” employees for being
unsafe
 An easy way to get away from making true
safety improvements
 Takes all the responsibility away from the
system of the workplace and focuses only on
the individual
 A very traditional approach to safety
1.
2.
3.
Yes
No
Are they ever NOT
lazy?!?!
87%
6%
1
2
6%
3
 It’s
true that most people will do as little as
they can to get results…
 However, there are cases where people will
avoid safety because it does prove to be
difficult?
 Understanding motivation is key to get
employees to work safely
 What
are the two primary motivators for
workplace safety?
 How do you improve employees engagement
in safety so they are less likely to habituate
to risk?
 Blaming
employees is never helpful
 Accountability is appropriate, but only under
the correct and most well-defined
circumstances
 The only true option is using “System’s
Related” thinking…
 Different
from punishment
 Is needed in a well managed system
 Should not be the focus of the safety process
 Must be used primarily to document unsafe
acts where there is an intention to do the
“wrong-thing”
 Need to contrast with traditional safety that
uses a significant amount of punishment
Don’t
do the wrong thing (not do
the right thing)
Typically person focused not
workplace focused…
Often use complacency and
laziness as reasons for accidents
Somewhat like a Merry-go-Round
A n d t h e r e ’s n o t h i n g w r o n g
with traditional safety… if
you are happy with the
ride…
Punishment
get only
avoidance behavior.
Punishment
does not
reinforce anything.
Causing
bad behavior to go
away doesn’t mean that it will
be replaced by the behavior
you want
The
use of punishment should
be reserved when you REALLY
need to remove an individual
Look
at the fundamental
motivator in safety
What individuals learn, they
tend to repeat.
Punishment is easy and gets
quick results
The use of punishment
becomes an organizational
value and part of the culture.
1.
2.
3.
No, they are not
used enough
They are used
enough, but not
too much
They are
definitely
overused
58%
29%
13%
1
2
3
 When
we claim employees have become
complacent we are blaming them for being
unsafe
 Blame is a form of punishment
 Punishment is only good for one thing…
1.
2.
3.
Yes and fired!
No
Somewhat, but
not fired.
65%
29%
6%
1
2
3
Debunk the Complacency Myth
 Work-Around the Laziness Fallacy

BECAUSE THEY TAKE YOU AWAY
FROM “SYSTEMS THINKING”
 We
need to look at Safety Culture and
understand what truly motivates people
when it comes to workplace safety
 Individuals are motivated by the outcomes
their actions achieve
 Aligning actions to be in synch with expected
cultural norms is natural
 Understanding how results impact decision
making and behavior is CRITICAL
Moving from Fault Finding to Fact Finding
 Understanding that true “human error” is
controllable and is based, not on intentionality,
but results from on multiple factors
 Accept that not all “Human Error” is a bad thing
 Avoids the “Zero Injury, Zero Fault, and Zero
Harm” Myth
 Ensures that all employees can engage in a
meaningful way in the job.

 Blame
is NEVER a healthy approach to
workplace safety
 Employees are never COMPLACENT or LAZY if
they think there is a reasonable chance they
may be injured
 In order to improve safety, REALLY IMPROVE
SAFETY we need



1) System’s Based Thinking
2) A complete shift of motivation by fear to one
of accomplishment and engagement
3) A relentless and urgent approach to ensuring
that BLAME is removed from the equation
completely and forever!

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