Being Observant

being observantBeing Observant Safety Talk

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There is so much noise and distraction in the world around us. Whether it is at home or at work, we have so much on our minds as well as things going on around us that we can miss a lot of important details. It is critical to slow down and be able to observe the environment around you while are at work to be able to perform tasks safely.

Being Observant

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 of being injured on the job by an unrecognized hazard.

How to Improve on Being Observant at Work

  • Eliminate distractions from your work area. Whether it is someone talking to you or excessive noise, try to get rid of anything distracting you from your work. Also, consider good housekeeping practices as a tool to eliminate unnecessary distractions in your work areas.
  • 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?
  • While completing a work 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?

Quick Exercise

Get out a regular number two pencil and look at it. If there is not a pencil around, look at another basic object, such as a cup. Begin to name off observations you have about the pencil or object. If you cannot think of more than ten characteristics of the pencil or object, you can improve on being observant. Sure it is a simple exercise, but it provides insight into how many small details we are truly glancing over as we go throughout our day.

Some hints for exercise: Color of pencil, color of tip, is the tip sharp or dull, length, lettering, color of lettering, eraser, eraser size, marks on it, weight, is it straight or bent, does it roll evenly on a table, etc.

Here is a link to another observation exercise article.

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