Why should we follow safety rules

Safe at work, at home and on the go: Why it is not enough to follow safety rules

There is no question that safety rules are important and that they should be followed at all times. In all areas: Regardless of whether in a special work environment like electronics or in traffic. But if you just follow the safety rules, you are far from being protected from accidents. Because in addition to following the rules, safety-relevant habits often make the decisive difference when it comes to avoiding accidents and injuries.

Traffic rules are not enough

Rules ensure that processes always follow the same pattern. They also make the behavior of others predictable. This is essential, especially in road traffic. We are also helped by security-related habits that everyone knows:

  • Even in elementary school, children learn the left-right-left rule when they want to cross the street.
  • As drivers, we should always keep an eye on all directions at intersections.
  • With the forklift license you learn to pay particular attention to suspended loads and people walking around.
  • The blind spots are of particular importance for truck drivers.
  • Always and at all times: the direction of gaze and direction of movement must match!

Both on public roads and in the warehouse, we have to realize that simply following traffic rules is no guarantee of safety. The Accident Research of the Insurers (UDV) lists 500 people killed and 3,200 seriously injured as a result of truck accidents every year. The proportion of accidents involving cyclists with trucks turning right is particularly high - it is still common for them to be overlooked and run over because they are in the blind spot next to the truck.

Errors with serious consequences

For traffic rules to work, all road users must obey them, whether at the wheel of a truck or small car, on a bicycle or on foot. However, it cannot be ruled out that mistakes will still occur. Again and again we are mentally out of focus at work or in traffic. It can also happen that we look at the road but are not consciously aware of what is actually ahead of us. For example, how often do we no longer remember our commute? How often are we hectic and want to do several things at once: With the smartphone in hand, we walk across the street or - even worse - we drive. We do short work steps in a hurry without protective clothing. No wonder that often goes wrong. Because it is precisely in these moments that we underestimate the security risk and break security rules. This exposes ourselves to an unnecessarily high risk. We think: nothing has ever happened before.

Keep an eye on the others

Even if we follow all the rules ourselves, it doesn't mean that others do too. For example, if another road user overlooks us and gives us the right of way, an accident still occurs - even though we did everything right. However, if we are attentive to the matter, then we have the chance to prevent the collision with a knee-jerk reaction. If we drive through the warehouse with a forklift and someone standing on the side suddenly walks in our way, then we can also swerve or brake - as long as our head and eyes are on the job.

Beyond safety rules: Acquire safety-relevant habits

For these reasons, it is important to work on your own habits and improve them sustainably. To do this, make yourself aware again and again of what you are doing “specifically at the moment” and keep your eyes and head on the matter. In our experience, it is precisely these two mistakes that contribute significantly to the fact that the vast majority of all injuries and accidents happen in the first place.

Compliance with safety rules is one thing - but it must be supplemented by safety-relevant habits. Only if we observe both can we behave safely in every situation - at work, at home and on the go. You can find out more about how you can improve your own safety-related habits and also let your family participate in them under Safety 24/7 - also for the family.


Also read the current part of our article series Paradigm Shift in Occupational Safety! In May the exciting topic will be: "Are we sure enough already? Why we should work continuously to reduce our number of injuries“!


(Cover picture: © Tomasz Zajda | stock.adobe.com)