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Rationalizing Unsafe Choices Toolbox Talk

Unsafe choices can lead to huge costs and even fatalities on the jobsite. Use this toolbox talk to encourage your crew to make safe choices.

Rationalizing Unsafe Choices Safety Talk

Making safe choices at work is very important to make sure everyone is safe, including those around you. For many people, following protocol and safety precautions can be difficult. Not to be stubborn or to just break the rules, but you may feel you can get things done faster another way.

There are safety rules and precautions put into place for a reason, and need to be followed to the best of your ability at all times. Trying to argue your point of why you are not doing the steps correctly, is not benefiting anyone. It is a good idea, that while you are on the job, that you stick to the rules and regulations that have been given to you.

Reasons We Rationalize Unsafe Choices

When you begin a job, all the rules and regulations are laid out for you. There are most likely signs and posters demonstrating and explaining these things as well. On construction sites, there are many hazards and dangers that can come about. Making it even more important to practice safety and following protocol.

There are many reasons that people can come up with to do a task a different way than has been advised. You may think in your head that you can do it faster if you skip a step or two. One of the most common things that happen, is that protective gear is forgotten, and the tasks are still attempted. Let's discuss some of the many reasons employees try to rationalize their unsafe choices.


Everyone experiences different moods and it can affect the way you perform on the job sometimes. You may not be feeling super productive or on top of it one day, that isn’t a reason to cut corners and use unsafe practices. It could mean the safety of yourself or the ones around you.

Lack Of Supervision

When supervisors, managers, or the person in charge are not around, people find it okay to cut corners. This is a big mistake that many people try to make when working. Whether your supervisor or person in charge, is around, all safety rules and precautions should be followed.

Lack Of Rule Enforcements

In a job that you have worked on for a long time, it becomes easy to try and relax on protocols and regulations. You feel that you are comfortable on the job and know what you are doing. If your supervisor or manager is not enforcing rules, does not mean that it is okay to break them.

Time Pressure

Cutting corners due to a time crunch can only result in problems. This is when mistakes will be made and things can go wrong. All safety rules and regulations are put into place for a reason and should always fully be followed.

Energy Levels

Getting adequate rest is a problem for many people and their busy schedules. When you are tired or worn out at work, many will use this as an excuse to be lazy on the job. Forgetting steps or skipping them due to not wanting to backtrack. Safety gear needs to be worn and all steps should always be done properly.

construction worker making unsafe choice on construction site.

“Everyone Else Does It”

What is it that defines a hardworking and trustworthy employee? That can have many meanings and on a construction site, it is important. When you are working in this type of setting, skipping steps can result in hazardous situations. A trustworthy employee is going to go above and beyond to follow safety regulations and make good choices regarding their job.

There are many times that you may see other employees skipping steps or not wearing their safety gear on the job. In no way does that make it okay or right to do. Whether your supervisor or manager enforces the rules or not on the job, you have the choice to do what is right. Just because “everyone else does it”, doesn’t mean you have to make the same unsafe choices.

What Can Happen When Unsafe Choices Are Made?

When you are working on a construction site with lots of different things going on, there are many hazards that are in front of you. Everything from people working above you, on heavy machinery, and many more things. This leaves a number of ways that people can get hurt if unsafe choices are made. Some of the many things that can happen are:

Some Examples of Safety Rules On A Constructions Site

There are many rules that should be followed on construction sites. Depending on what type of construction is being done, the rules may vary from one to another. Some of the most basic types of rules that you will find are:

  • PPE should be worn - There are many items that could be necessary to wear while on a construction site. Some things such as hard hats, safety glasses, gloves, safety harnesses, respirators, or steel toe boots. These are all items that can help keep you safe in the chance that there is an accident.

  • Inspections should be done for equipment - Each time that you get onto a piece of heavy equipment, it should be inspected thoroughly. That way you know if there is a problem with it and if something needs to be fixed. This can help avoid an unnecessary accident from occurring.

  • Maintain good housekeeping - Leaving tools and supplies lying around can lead to problems for other employees or yourself. There is typically a lot going on and when things are left out, they can be tripped over, drove over, or something worse. Keeping items picked up and put away can avoid those instances.

  • A spotter should be used - When you are trying any type of heavy equipment you should have a spotter on the ground. This is going to help you have someone who can see your blind spots. Climbing on ladders is also another good time to have a spotter. They can ensure the ladder is secure and no one moves it or trips over it.

Trying to always practice safe habits on the job, you are protecting yourself and those around you. Working in hazardous situations makes it even more important to follow these rules.

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