Don’t let a distraction impair your reaction!
How can you deal with distractions?
A recent article, published by the National Safety Council, identified a major cause of distractions as the need to get the job done quickly. The more we focus on the clock and the schedule, the less we focus on safety.
A curious observation was that feeling rushed, is often self-imposed and not related to any actual timetable or need. Yet in reality, our work is nearly always planned. As long as we work to the plan, adequate time is built in to do the job safely.
The other distraction noted in the article is complacency. Being over-confident in one’s ability to do the job causes us to overlook changes at our worksite & hazards.
Several suggestions were offered for addressing complacency. One suggestion stood out as having the biggest impact – finding ways to break the monotony. These can happen from outside or from inside your work crew or team.
For example, the appearance of a supervisor or a safety auditor tends to get individuals refocused on what they are doing.
If you were involved in supervisory training, the concept is managing by walking around. If you are a supervisor, regularly stopping by the jobsite can have a positive impact.
In behavioral based safety, the concept of soon, certain, and positive feedback reinforces good work habits. The appearance of a safety auditor gets people thinking about job requirements.
But even if you’re not a supervisor or an auditor, simply “checking in” on your co-workers and asking how they are doing, will break the routine and help the crew refocus. These random “micro-breaks” are a great way to take a brief step back and mentally regroup.
Distractions require an on-going effort to address; do your part to keep everyone focused on the work at hand.