Is “Tough-Guy Mentality” Thwarting Fall Protection Progress?

tough_guyDuring my career in the fall protection industry, I’ve heard many excuses about why people don’t use fall protection properly – if at all. Familiar responses are: “Fall protection makes it harder to work” or “It slows down my work.”

Another common excuse I’ve heard is that “I just don’t need it.” I used to think that was just general apathy or ignorance, but could it be more personal than that? In a recent newspaper article about a fall fatality, an OSHA compliance director in Kentucky was quoted as saying that “too often the tough-guy mentality wins out over safety.”

While I certainly don’t think workers are purposely putting themselves at risk to prove their toughness, I shudder to think that a desire to appear strong, capable and self-sufficient would, even subconsciously, drive someone to ignore safety measures.

I support the sentiments shared in the article about the fatalities in Kentucky: “…coming home safely should take precedence over this tough-guy culture that may exist out there.”

If you have personally adopted a “tough-guy approach”—or know someone who has—I encourage you to create a reminder of the importance of safety. Keep a picture of your family with you, read the Weekly Toll blog or watch a video about occupational fatalities.

Remember, your loved ones would rather live with you than memorialize you as “tough.”

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