It’s a very natural thing to make mistakes as we go through life.  We may choose the wrong friends, mates, places to live, or even the wrong job.  Many mistakes can be fixed.  But at work, some errors are not “fixable.”  How many of us haven’t had a few “close calls” in life?  Drifting off into another lane, because our mind wasn’t on the road, catching a dish towel on fire on the stove, (which can be pretty frightening if you don’t get it under control!), or on the job – taking a risk that results in an event that could have been very harmful.  If we aren’t on our toes, things happen so quickly that they are not “close calls,” but deadly ones.  

It is necessary for us to make a mental assessment of how we focus on performing the tasks we are required to do.  Sure, some jobs are more difficult than others – say, working on scaffolding is quite a bit harder than sitting at a desk!  So, we need to analyze how many times we have taken a risk while doing our job, trying to take short cuts, or save time, that could have resulted in disaster.  A “close call” may actually be a blessing in disguise – if we learn from it. 

No one intentionally makes mistakes at work.  One of the main causes of errors is not paying attention.  Maybe you are thinking about a ballgame you watched the night before, or going to a concert soon, rather than focusing on your job.  What if that daydreaming causes you to forget about your risky behavior, which may get someone else hurt?  Staying out of the way of others is a good way to keep them safe – maybe they are carrying a heavy load, and you step right out in front of them, causing them to slip and fall.  Everyone should work safely and use the right equipment and personal protective equipment that is suitable for the particular job.  There are all types of gloves, glasses, goggles, protective clothing, boots, and hardhats that keep you safe from whatever  risks your job involves.  

Have you ever watched someone get so frustrated trying to do a particular job, that their temper gets the best of them, and they want to toss whatever tool they are using?  (This happens quite frequently on the golf course, I’m told!)  If you or one of your coworkers are guilty of this, back off and take a break.  Chances are, you’ll feel much better if you take a short break, plus, you might figure out an easier way to do the task at hand. 

When you make an error at work, do you:

  • Hope no one saw it.
  • Blame someone else.
  • Try not to do it again.
  • Learn from it. 

When you see someone else make a mistake at work, do you:

  • Go tell your supervisor.
  • Stay away from them.
  • Help them before they get hurt.
  • Learn from their mistake, and ensure that they learn, as well. 

There are many things that cause mistakes, such as frustration, fatigue, and pressure.  The main thing we must all recognize is that we must not lose self-control.  We must guard against making errors that can lead to injury.  We are being paid to do a job, to the best of our abilities.  Work and drive safely, and remember that one unguarded moment could lead to injury or worse.