The phrase “situational awareness” may not be one that you’ve heard before. Situational awareness is the ability to identify, process and understand critical information that is happening all around you. In safety, it’s the ability to be aware of all possible at-risk threats, even as you concentrate on a specific work task and what’s directly in front of you. Everyone’s situational awareness is potentially very different. We all see and frame at-risk threats using our own lens. This framing is a product of our social upbringing, education and personal experiences.
Thinking about your own situational awareness skills at your workplace? Consider how you are in tune with the constantly changing people, materials and environmental hazards that are acting around you every day. These could include a ladder being moved into an unstable position in an active area, floor openings that are only partially covered, someone nearby you not using locks and tags in a lockout-tagout protocol or not paying attention to the onset of heat illness during this very hot Summer of 2016!
How wide is your lens? Are you focused on what is happening in front of you, around you and what could happen as you progress through your work day? Is your mind truly “where your boots are” when you are at work?
Based on information outlined in the National Safety Council (www.nsc.org) and the Health and Safety Executive (www.hse.gov.uk),