The debate has gone back and forth for decades and though the conclusions are not finite, many of us grow up with first-hand knowledge of the term 'accident-prone'. Whether it's a family member or friend, a co-worker or perhaps it's you; we've all encountered those individuals who seem naturally pre-disposed to incidents in their day-to-day lives.
Scientists & psychologists alike have been examining the phenomenon as far back as the 1940's, taking a look at people involved in car accidents in their earliest studies. Over the decades, many theories have been created, but the most common is that the term 'accident-prone' is actually applied to individuals who exhibit specific personality traits. And it's these particular types of personalities that create more accident-conducive conditions in work and everyday life.
So, according to these theories, let's take a look at some of the types of personalities you may encounter who are more likely to be accident-prone:
THE ABSENT-MINDED EMPLOYEE
"Hmmm…Did I turn off the gas before I left?"
Most often when we witness 'accident-prone' incidents, the absent-minded folks are the ones see as the culprit. With a forgetful, wandering mind, these individuals can cause real anxiety for both themselves and the teams around them even when they're trying their hardest.
THE CARELESS CO-WORKER
"Nah, that saw is fine there on the ground…I'll put it away later."
Another member of your team that can cause anxiety and additional stress is the careless co-worker. Sometimes lazy or defensive, they can often find themselves in sticky situations as a result of their poor decisions, and cause extremely unsafe conditions for the people around them.
THE IMPULSIVE INDIVIDUAL
"Who has time for training? I can do this just fine without!"
Jumping into a situation without thoroughly understanding it or knowing what's required is often the biggest mistake that this impulsive worker makes. The decision to leap before they look puts not just themselves at risk, but also the team and sometimes the project. Lack of preparation and understanding makes these people accident magnets.
THE RISK TAKER
"It's fine – I used to do this without a helmet all the time."
This isn't usually a personality that comes to mind as accident-prone in the traditional sense, but high-risk takers can often be the biggest liability in a workplace environment. Tending to rely more on their old habits and learned behaviors, accidents are common when safety rules and regulations are ignored.
So what does it mean to be accident-prone? The evidence points to the fact that people with these common personality traits can be labeled as such. Being aware of the type of individuals you're hiring and working with in addition to understanding your own behaviors can help everyone make better decisions to keep everyone safe. For extra measure, consider using tools like TalentClick's Safety Quotient Assessment to learn more about your candidates, current employees and team members to mitigate the risk of accident-prone activities in your projects. Suffice it to say we may all be a little accident prone… becoming aware of it is the best way to stay safe in the long run.