Common Myths About Work Safety Which Can Endanger Your Health and Wellbeing

By Dimi | Tips

Even though in the last few decades, the measures taken by the government and by local authorities and organizations to make work places safer for the employees have been tightening, the work related injuries per annum still reach over 2,900,000 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Plus, health-related problems which have been worsened due to unsafe working conditions have been reported to affect a lot of people in the US each year. Unfortunately there were about 4,800 fatalities registered at various workplaces throughout the country. This is why people need to take safety measures and preventive actions much more seriously. The first step is to understand that there are certain myths regarding work safety which can be potentially dangerous and even fatal. Believing in such myths can cost your workers their limbs, their health and even their lives!

Here is a compilation of the worst myths in regard to the safety of the workers at their jobs which have been debunked.

Worst workplace safety myths ever:

  1. Staying safe at work is common sense really

Yes, it is common sense and our inborn human instinct to protect ourselves from obvious hazards and imminent danger, but relying solely on your instincts and your common sense just isn’t enough! Certain jobs, such as working on oil fields, in construction, as a linemen, wildland firefighter and numerous other professions include needing to tackle and work amongst a wide variety of hazards – some more obvious and others – not so obvious.

Industries spend thousands of dollars for proper risk assessments done by professionals. These audits check and assess all minor, medium and serious risks, and help the management and safety personnel develop detailed safety plans, programs and procedures which need to be followed strictly by all workers and personnel.

Chances are you are not a professional risk assessment expert, so why not rely on the professionals and follow the safety management programs implemented in your company instead? The point of this is to let you do your job properly and without needing to keep watch and be distracted due to possible impeding hazards surrounding you. This will allow you to be much more efficient at your job and will help increase your productivity, and at the same time keep you safe and healthy. Always pay attention to the safety training, instruction and procedures, and make sure you are equipped with the proper and required safety PPE (personal protection equipment) at all times.

  1. Implementing and complying to safety regulations will cost a lot

Yes, developing and implementing proper safety procedures and regulations does require some investments both by the employer and the employees, but think about the money which is saved in the long run from keeping people safe from injuries and health problems. The money you will spend for medical bills, insurance, compensations, as well as for paying for substitute workers while those injured are on sick leave is much more than that which you will spend for implementing the safety procedures!

Employers need to realize that an investment in safety is absolutely worthwhile given the possible financial burdens which could follow on site injuries, fatalities and other health problems.

  1. Employers should provide the PPE, but it is up to the employees to wear it or not

Yes, employers are responsible to develop the procedures for the PPE and safety measures which need to be taken by the workers, but their responsibilities don’t end there. It is also their responsibility to ensure that the workers adhere closely to these procedures and that they are wearing the proper type of PPE at all times. They also need to make sure that the PPE is in good shape and is stored properly, and in case it is damaged – to replace it. Remember, if a worker gets injured at your workplace, you will be the one held responsible and the one liable for the damage which has occurred, so make sure that all employees are appropriately protected, so that you limit these risks to a minimum.

  1. PPE will hinder the job performance

Many employees refuse to wear parts or all of the required PPE because they consider it burdensome, uncomfortable and feel that it is messing with their performance. While this statement could have been true 20 or more years ago, today the modern safety PPE manufacturers use new materials, technologies and designs which are ergonomic, light, comfortable and safe. Most of the new generation PPE is made in a way which allows the workers to proceed with their normal job responsibilities and tasks, without affecting them at all. So now employees can feel both comfortable and safe at the same time at their workplace! Even if the workers resist and refuse to wear the protective equipment required, you should find ways to enforce these rules as part of their job descriptions and responsibilities. For example, you can fine employers who are not wearing the required safety boots or other protective equipment, or use other methods to enforce these procedures at your workplace.

  1. Accidents will happen at the workplace – no matter what

No. In fact 99% of the work related accidents have been found to be avoidable with the appropriate safety measures taken in time. Yes, there still is that that 1% of accidents which nobody has anticipated, but why not take the necessary preventive actions and measures to avoid the remaining 99% of the cases? The goal of each employer should be achieving a zero rate of work related injuries, which is why continuous safety assessments need to be made, any accidents need to be carefully analyzed and proper actions need to be taken to prevent future incidents, and constant control over the compliance with the safety procedures needs to be provided by the safety officers on the site. Regular checking of the condition of the safety work boots, helmets, goggles, masks, clothing, gloves and other PPE needs to be done, and in case there is equipment, footwear or safety apparel which are damaged and don’t guarantee the safety of the workers, they need to be removed and replaced with conforming ones immediately. Don’t leave the matters to chance only! Make sure that all proper precautions are taken in time, so that the goal of having zero work related accidents in your company can really be achieved and maintained.


Source material and data are provided by:

  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor
  2. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)’s Area Offices
  3. European Safety and Health Agency, 2001 Preventing accidents at work