Featured Editorial: When Overfamiliarity Becomes a Problem

Avoid the dangerous trap in emergency equipment maintenance.

By Casey Hayes

Weekly status checks should be performed only by people who are paying attention to absolutely everything and using a checklist that ensures all required elements are being properly reviewed. (Haws photo)

Whether it’s the back of your own hand or the drive you take to work five days a week, we become exceptionally familiar with certain things. And even though both of these examples are something you see regularly, you’re likely missing the changes that are happening right before your eyes. It makes sense—things such as aging and maturing landscapes take place over a long period of time. You simply become accustomed to what you see day in and day out.

The same familiarity can be true of emergency equipment maintenance. And that’s a problem. Changes and deterioration to your emergency equipment can often be hidden from view or take place over a protracted period. In either case, noting a problem likely takes a greater degree of attention. Better yet, it requires an objective, third-party evaluation.

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This article originally appeared in the October 2015 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.