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Toolbox Talk - Being Observant

Max People Health & Safety Bulletin

There is a lot of noise and distraction in the world. Whether it is at home or at work, we have a lot on our minds, as well as things going on around us, meaning we miss a lot of important details.

It is critical to slow down and observe the environment around you while are at work in order to safely perform tasks.

How many times have you tripped over something you did not see or turn around and get startled because someone was in your area that you were not aware of? It happens to many of us often. Depending on what is preoccupying our mind, our emotions, the distractions around us, the noise levels in our area, etc. will determine how much of our ability to be observant is affected.

The less able we are to be observant, the higher our chances are to be injured on the job by an unrecognized hazard

How to Improve on Being Observant at Work

  • Use All of Your Senses - No matter where you are, you should always use your five senses to your advantage. Seeing is important, but so are all of the others. After all, sometimes it's easier to smell smoke than it is to see it. Using your sense of smell, before falling back on your sight, alerts you to investigate the problem before it becomes even worse.
  • Be Aware of Your Instincts- We all get those explainable feelings sometimes. You feel on edge for some reason, or you feel as though someone is watching you. Most of the time, these instincts are telling you something important. Instead of brushing them off, use them as a guide. If something feels off, look around and find out why. If something makes you uncomfortable act and fix the issue.
  • Ask Questions- In order to keep your mind active and paying attention, it's good to ask questions. You don't even have to ask these questions out loud or to another person, although that helps if there's information you're lacking. Sometimes asking them to yourself is enough to keep yourself engaged and perceptive.Take Some Time
  • Take Some Time Take the time before starting a task to stop and look around your work area. Really focus on the different tools or equipment in that area. Are there hazards you are missing? Do you have everything you need?
  • Monitor While completing a task monitor your thoughts. Is your mind truly on the task? For example, think of a time when you were driving and can barely remember the trip. How observant do you think you were while operating your vehicle?
  • The Key To Being Observant is to Slow Down With so many things do every day, it's easy to rush around. But one of the best things to do in order to be more observant is to slow down. By slowing yourself down, you open yourself up to the details of your surroundings. Rushing past everything means you'll never notice when a situation is no longer safe.

Always remember to take an extra moment and look around. Those few extra seconds could make all the difference in a bad situation.

Remember team! Safety is a habit!