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Four Risk Factors that can Ruin Your Day… or Your Life

Four Risk Factors that can Ruin Your Day… or Your Life

Hazardous Waste Container

Rushing, Frustration, Fatigue, Complacency

These are the four top reasons why rules get ignored and accidents happen—whether at home, at work, or in care settings. Last month we talked about how they can affect the elderly patient.

But the young, healthy caregiver is also at risk—in the medical care setting, there are hazards of every kind. Just ask around…you’ll hear plenty of stories about career-ending accidents caused by these four risk factors.

Let’s break them down:

  • Rushing: It’s no surprise that we all have too much to do and too little time to get it done. But rushing makes surprisingly little difference. Try an experiment: Drive to work the way you usually do, and the next day, drive to work while strictly adhering to the speed limit. See how little time you actually save, at the cost of stress, sweat, and higher risk of accident or traffic citation. Then slow down! On the road, and on the job. Work smoothly, efficiently, and at a pace you can sustain all day.

  • Frustration: Rules stink! They just get in the way of you doing your job. Except every rule in place is there because something bad happened. And not just once—enough times that someone had to sit down and figure out a procedure to protect the patient, the caregiver, or the facility from expense or liability.
    Put yourself in your supervisor’s shoes, and then take a deep breath and follow the procedure!
    Of course sometimes rules become obsolete. If a seemingly useless rule is extremely counterproductive, then make your case to your supervisor. Form a complaint committee with your coworkers, if you all agree it’s a serious issue—management will pay more attention to a group.
    If the direct approach makes you uncomfortable, then have everyone use the suggestion box, or even write anonymous emails to the company. But follow the rule until it’s changed. If the rule remains, chances are it’s there for a very good reason.


  • Fatigue: The shifts are long, and the work is physical and tiring. So, monitor yourself. If your concentration is slipping and you are losing focus, do what you can to protect your body and refresh your mind. Get a drink of water, do some deep breathing, and most important of all, lean on your team. Help your friends manage the workload, be there for each other, and they’ll be there for you.
    Your company may be able to help. Good management will help their teams cope by offering shift changes, a little time off, smart break rules, or even company-provided health and support services. Use all the resources available to stay healthy, alert, and safe.

  • Complacency: The most dangerous risk factor of all! Once you get to know the routine, it’s too easy to cut corners, work distracted, become careless around danger, or get sloppy. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
    Again, use your experience to your advantage. Be an example to the newer staff of how to get the job done safely, efficiently, with attention to detail and care for your patients’ needs. Set an example that others can follow, and they will. Leaders set the tone, and anyone can be a leader.


Bottom line: Safety is all about respect—respect for rules and human nature.

Contact us today for more information.