Tuesday, May 22, 2007

9 Keys for Directing Attention to Safety

Directing attention for safety in the workplace ...

"The ability to direct attention is a key to successful performance in many endeavors – from sports to leadership to communications to injury prevention. But to avoid defaulting into unworkable solutions, first recognize what has not significantly helped to direct attention control toward safety.

Ignore it and hope it will improve. This is a common organizational approach and can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If leaders do not pay attention, other employees will not pay attention either.

Inadequate Reminders. Too many managers assume attention control purely is a motivational issue and periodically remind workers to “pay attention,” “just follow procedures,” “use common sense” or “think before you act.” These messages are too infrequent, repetitive or meaningless, and rarely boost attention control. Often, such messages become part of the workplace background, disregarded as just more “noise.”

Shock tactics.
These tactics usually get attention only for a short time, then lead to resistance or disregard. For example, we have seen posters that graphically show gruesome results of injuries – but these images often create a negative emotional response rather than developing positive attention control.

Shame or blame. Approaches that play on fear of reprisals or lowered self-esteem often distract employees from safe procedures. Sometimes, workers wind up spending more attention on covering themselves than on overcoming potential work risks.

Awareness-only training. This approach typically focuses on motivation without developing practical, transferable skills for improving attention control."    (Continued via Occupational Hazards)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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