Being complacent can create a false sense of security.
Being complacent can create a false sense of security. Cecilie_Arcurs

Being blind to the risk spells trouble

I was giving a talk to a mining safety group recently and was describing how I felt that complacency could lead to a higher risk of accidents.

It was just a seed of an idea, but it was borne out by someone with a lot of experience who indicated that, in their industry, he thought that complacency might be the underlying cause of as many as 80 per cent of accidents and near misses and his comment definitely had me thinking.

I feel that complacency in that environment may be caused by an apparent increased "tolerance'' of potential risk or danger over time as a result of working long shifts over several years and encountering many risks on a daily basis.

When that happens it can be very easy to stop noticing or looking out for what could be dangerous and the result may be that our ability to recognise or manage a high-risk, dangerous situation can be impaired and lead to missing, dismissing or avoiding it altogether.

"She'll be right”... a false sense of security. It doesn't mean it won't or doesn't happen, though.

For me this idea of complacency leading to a false sense of security applies equally to other parts of life even though the underlying reasons may vary. An obvious one is driving.

How many times have you read about accidents being caused by someone texting, being fatigued, driving dangerously or having a few too many drinks?

Is it because we've told ourselves we can handle it, that it's never been a problem before, we just want to get home or is it simply that we have somehow got away with it?

Complacency in this context creates a similar false sense of security, an unwavering belief that it won't happen to us and leaves us blind to the potential danger or risk.

It can be equally easy to fall into complacency in relationships when we've been with one person for some time, in business when clients have been easy to find or the economy is booming, or life in general when everything seems to be on track.

Yet if we remain oblivious and miss or dismiss the signs that are probably there, think that it's not a problem or our problem or avoid addressing it altogether we may be in for a shock.

In some cases that shock can be life-altering or life-ending for ourselves or someone else.

Ultimately, if our complacency results in us putting ourselves and others at risk then it's definitely time to do something differently.

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