The Hazards of Hurrying
Let’s face it: we live in a world in which faster is better. Instant information and multi-tasking rule the roost. We often measure our sense of worth by how much we get done in a day. And while productivity is essential in the workplace, there is a balance we need to strike. Rushing and injuries on-the-job often go hand in hand. The fact is, being in a hurry can pose serious injury risks.
According to the U.S. Dept. of Labor, slips, trips and falls make up the majority of general industry accidents. Workers in the food service industry are prone to falls, where staff is often rushing on wet or greasy surfaces. Government reports show that not paying attention to surroundings, taking unapproved shortcuts and being in a hurry all contribute to trips and falls in the workplace.
Rushing is counter to efficiency
People tend to hurry when they are trying to catch up. In that case, it’s often our instinct to multitask. New research shows that actively multitasking on two or more jobs at a time is actually counter-productive. Each job will likely be completed more slowly when done in tandem, rather than one at a time. The brain needs time to transition between tasks, which is counter-productive.
The best remedy to suffering the consequences of ‘catching up’ is to start early. Getting to work a few minutes early to assess your plan for the day may cut back on the constant feeling of being behind. Being in a rush can also lead a worker to short-cut rules of safety or ignore potential hazards. According the Burn Foundation, burns are more likely to occur when workers ignore safety rules, take short-cuts and are rushed for time.
- Instead of locating the right tool for the job, a maintenance worker may use what is on-hand, but not necessarily best for the job.
- Ignoring a spill due to being in a rush can leave a slick surface or electrical hazard.
- A driver may break the speed limit to make the field meeting on time.
- Carrying too many objects at a time is a leading cause of falls.
It’s important for supervisors to encourage their staff to work efficiently, not hurriedly. The product will be better, and the environment safer for all. We suggest that supervisors incorporate the risks involved with rushing at their next workplace safety meeting. Employees should openly address concerns they have about pressure to work too quickly.