Why Workers Ignore Factory Safety Rules

We had a phone conversation with a client the other day. Suddenly he shouted, “Put your harness on! Put your harness on or I’ll fire you!” We were pretty confident that he wasn’t talking to us, but we’ve heard plenty of that kind of shouting — workers ignore factory safety rules all the time.

Plants and factories can be dangerous places to work. That’s why there are safety rules and regulations in place: to keep workers safe. Barring freak accidents, most injuries come from workers ignoring factory safety rules.

Why do people ignore factory safety?

The three biggest safety concerns in plants are noncompliance with safety regulations, not being able to enforce safety regulations, and failure to report injuries that occur in the workplace.

All of these seem like things that can be prevented. In fact, they can all be prevented by solving just one of the problems. By resolving the issue with workers making safety code violations, the need to enforce the regulations and the number of injuries, non-reported or otherwise, significantly decreases.

While safety regulation noncompliance should be a problem that’s easy to fix, it might be easier said than done.

In a 2012 report, more than 80% of companies said that they had experienced workers violating safety regulations. The fact that safety code violations are so prevalent suggests that the problem won’t be so easy to fix. To figure out how to fix the problem, we have to first answer the key question — why do workers ignore safety rules?

Goals vs. self-preservation

It seems like people would want to keep themselves safe. Self-preservation is a part of human nature, something engrained in our psyche. If early man was not so foolhardy as to build fires and work with primitive tools without the proper safety equipment, we wouldn’t be here today.

Oh you’re starting a fire by striking stones together and not wearing safety glasses? A rock shard to the eye leads to blindness, followed by death by starvation.

Humanity as we know it ends.

And that may be the answer to the seemingly mystifying question of why people ignore safety rules. We might be hardwired to focus on our goals more than on our wellbeing. And that might be good for evolution of the species in the early days, but it doesn’t work out well on the factory floor.

While some safety rules might seem ridiculous or unnecessary, they are there to keep people safe from harm. You gain nothing by neglecting to wear the appropriate safety gear or bypassing the rules that are in place to keep workers safe.

Safety in manufacturing has long been a concern for many, but with the right safety precautions, you can significantly lower the chance of injury in your plant.

Routine maintenance and regular inspection of your factory machinery also helps reduce injuries in factories. Contact us online, or call 479-422-0390 for preventive maintenance, inspection, troubleshooting, and repair for Indramat systems.