Workplace Biases that Can Lead to an Unsafe Work Environment

We all form habits in our daily routines and in how we go about our tasks, which can lead to us developing a set of cognitive biases. In other words, we begin to function on autopilot, which can lead us down unsafe paths at times, especially in the workplace.
Today we’re talking about a handful of cognitive biases and how you can combat them to ensure that your workplace remains safe.
  1. Availability Bias: This bias tells us that our brains tend to focus on the most recent events, and give them more importance than they deserve. Rather than looking to the future, we look to the immediate past. This can lead some dangers to be hidden by the focus on most recent events.
  2. Ignoring Bind Spots: This bias refers to when you become so accustomed to your environment and surroundings that you no longer look around to see if changes have been made. You go about your tasks as normal, but may ignore the unseen danger that is hidden by the most obvious.
  3. Confirmation Bias: This bias refers to humans’ natural tendency to search for and recall information that confirms our pre-existing beliefs. In other words, we only see what we want to see. When you go into an environment expecting everything to be in safe, working order, than you are very unlikely to notice things that could be hazardous to you.
  4. Overconfidence Bias: This bias refers to how most people believe they are smarter and better at most tasks than they actually are in reality. When you are overconfident in the work place, this can lead you to skimping on or skipping entirely safety protocols and procedures because you assume that you are “above the law”.
  5. Ignoring the Baseline: This bias refers to how everyone thinks that their own experiences are unique, which leads us to ignore statistics and guidelines. If you just assume something won’t happen to you, you’re setting yourself up for injury.
  6. Default Bias: This bias refers to how when we are presented with a choice, we automatically choose the default, not simply because it is easiest, but we also have the assumption that the default is also the safest option. Knowledge of this default means we must be very thoughtful when we establish the default, so that it is truly the safest option.
  7. Underestimating Cumulative Risk: This concept is based off the fact that most people don’t realize that a little bit of harm over a long period of time can be quite damaging and dangerous. It is important to use proper protection and precaution every single day when you’re exposed to chemicals or machinery even for a short period of time.
Stay aware and stay safe!
Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.