Have you ever driven to work and not remembered a thing about how you got there? Or maybe walked to the cafeteria to grab a cup of coffee and "zoned out" the entire way?
Whether we are tired or distracted thinking about other things, going into this "auto-pilot" mode is something that happens to all of us- and it can be very dangerous! Being aware of your surroundings both at work and at home is a key player in keeping you and others safe. When you take all of the safety trainings you have gone through and really dissect them, safety comes down to one thing- situational awareness. Without being aware of your surroundings, how can you recognize potential hazards or unsafe activities? Below are a few tips to help increase your awareness at work:
- Survey your work area before doing a task
- Ensure there is enough space to do your work
- Identify energy sources that may require lockout/tagout
- Look for hazards in the area like sharp edges, standing water, exposed wiring, unguarded equipment, or environmental hazards
- Look for hazards caused by other employees in the work area
- Think before you act
- Know the correct procedure or read the JSAs before doing a job
- Have the correct PPE
- Understand the hazards of that specific procedure
- Think "what if?"
- Keep your head on a swivel/stay alert
- Avoid looking down while walking (no cell phones!)
- Before walking around corners, watch out for traffic approaching
- If you feel fatigued or tired, take a break to prevent going into "auto-pilot" mode