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Toolbox Talk - It Won't Happen to Me

Max People Health & Safety Bulletin 7th July

It's an actual thing!

Have you ever thought about the people that have fallen to their death while taking a selfie at the top of a cliff?  

Psychologists call it optimism bias.

At times the human brain is too optimistic for its own good. For example, if you were to consider the chances of going through a divorce, illness, job loss, or an accident, your brain would tell you that these things will not happen to you. This is because your brain has a built-in optimism bias. 

This bias leads us to believe that we are less likely to suffer from misfortune and more likely to attain success than reality would suggest.

We believe we will live longer, that our children will be smarter, and that we will be more successful in life than the average person. But by definition, we can't all be above average.
When we are at work this can be a bad, bad way to think.

What can we do?

  • Assess risk as a team: Use the knowledge and experiences within the group to consider the visible, possible or long term risks when undertaking a new task, or when there are changes to the site, team and conditions. An open discussion will highlight areas of concern. Methodologies can be worked through. The more we talk the more our vision and sense of safety heighten.
  • Focus on the why: Site rules are often broken, either knowingly or not. It happens. Change your thinking from this is just a rule to be followed, to what could happen when I don't. Ask any worker that has lost an eye if they could go back in time, would they always wear their safety glasses? What about those that have fallen off a ladder? Was this part of their daily plan?
  • Beware of complacency: We are human therefore we develop a rhythm. Work becomes routine and we start to go through the motions. It's a dangerous time for us. This is the time when the unexpected bites us. 9 times out of 10 we walk away unscathed but it only takes that 1 time when we don't.
    Step back- every now and then take a breather. Stand back from what you are doing and observe what is going on in front of you. Does it look right? What's happening outside of your area? Think about the "What if's". Remember it's important to get a different view of what you are doing and how you are doing it. Make changes as soon as you see or think of something. Don't hesitate as an incident only takes a split second.

Remember team! Safety is just how we do things around here.