Have you ever driven to a destination and upon arrival could not recall the trip including the route you took, or the cars and exits that you passed along the way?  Or, have you ever entered a room to retrieve something but once in the room you could not remember why you are there much less what you were there to retrieve? 

Maybe you were thinking of a recent occurrence (such as the argument that you had with your spouse earlier that morning) or something that you have yet to do (such as the paying that large credit card bill- the future)?  

Whatever the reason, the above scenarios are what I refer to as “mindless living” and are rather scary (particularly the motor vehicle scenario).  The motor vehicle example while not exactly what we would think of when we use the term “distracted driving” is actually a form of distracted driving even though you are not partaking in tasks that are ordinarily associated with distracted driving (texting while driving, etc.). 

Mindless living is essentially performing daily tasks in a trance, or operating in auto pilot if you will.  

The fact is, these lapses in mindfulness, some momentary, others for longer periods of time, can occur rather frequently throughout our daily lives and activities.  I believe that these moment to moment lapses are a contributing factor to errors and sometimes injuries, both on and off the job.  Most of us are not even aware of these lapses muich less the consequences. 

After a recent safety talk at a construction site, I had a foreman approach me and say, “Today I let Tom leave work early as his head is not in the right place and I did not want him getting hurt.  His grandfather is expected to pass away and he is expecting a phone call at work to inform him”.  

While we never know what could have occurred on that construction site, the foreman took a proactive step to reduce the possibility of an injury as he was aware that his co-workers mindset was affected by this off the job situation.

 So what can we do about these mindless trances that we all suffer from periodically? 

 In comes the concept of Home Meets Work ®.  This is a concept centered on the idea that there is a connection between the home (or off the job issues) and the workplace.  Traditionally there has been a separation between home and work issues based on the ideas that home issues are personal in nature and have no place in the workplace. 

 We all know that that is not really so.  If you have a bad day at work, it is often taken home with you and vice versa.  Issues and challenges move freely from home to work and work to home.

 Employers and employees both have a vested interest (personal and family safety, improving quality/ productivity and reducing costs) in finding ways to address these issues. 

Below are two topic areas that I have used successfully within the workplace to promote the concept of mindfulness and accident prevention on and off the job.  Both items can be incorporated into your current workplace safety and health educational process.        

 1.      Mindfulness education

 If you agree that these trances exist in our lives and are a potential contributor to errors and incidents (not to mention there may also be a link to poor quality and lower productivity) then it is probably advantageous to educate the employees on techniques and strategies they can use to become more mindful and aware.  By giving your employees tips and skills on how to improve their state of awareness both on and off the job, their quality of life as well as their quality of work is sure to improve! 

 2. Home Meets Work ® Education 

 More Americans die of unintentional injury death in the home than in the workplace (21.1 million injuries in the home as compared to 5.1 million injuries at work). (NSC Injury Facts, 2011).

Incorporating non-traditional safety education (home/off the job safety) into your traditional workplace safety process, is not just a good thing to do but it builds employee awareness and involvement.  It also shows employees that the organization really cares about their health and safety and serves a very good financial purpose for the employer.  After all an injured worker (whether injured at home or work) cannot do his or her job in a productive manner, if at all!

This article was written by Milton Jacobs, Certified Safety Professional and President of Safety Solution Consultants, Inc.  For speaking engagements and workshops on mindful safety, please contact Milton at mjacobs@safety-solution.com or 1-888-240-7724.

25 Jun, 2007  |  Written by Milt Jacobs  |  under Articles

We are not living in the now. We worry about tomorrow and think about yesterday and are not truly concentrating or focusing on what is going on right NOW!

We neglect to take safety personally. There is little emphasis on Educating on “Why” safety is personally important to you and your family on and off the job. Also, most safety training is in-frequent, lacks attendee focused objectives and is not measured for effectiveness.

We lack safety redundancy in our activities. We lack safety pre-planning in our activities and we also do not build redundant safety features based on the risk level of our activities.

We have the mindset that Accidents Happen . Most of us feel that there is nothing that can be done to prevent some accidents from happening, so we adopt the mindset that Accidents Happen. And guess what?

What Can You Do?

Practice Holistic safety and become PRESENT. Live in the PRESENT versus the past or future. Every time you catch yourself “daydreaming”, observe the thought until you become fully conscious of it. When you do, you are truly paying ATTENTION! This will also help with enjoying your life in general!

Practice safety at home. I am a firm believer that safety begins at home (thus the Home Meets Work TM concept). Use your safety glasses when using the saw at home or when cutting the grass and encourage your family members to live and work safely. Then, take safety to work!

Adopt the mindset that Accidents don’t just happen- Accidents Happen … To Be Preventable ®! The mind moves along the path of expectations. So if you believe it, guess what?

Build safety redundancy into our activities in the same manner that automobiles and airplanes have redundant safety features. While we are human and all make errors, these errors do not have to lead to accidents!

Keep that healthy fear alive! Tight-rope walkers survive their rope walking adventure because of skill and a “healthy fear” or respect for falling. We all have that healthy fear and should not mute it.

Get regular education about safety and the risks/hazards encountered. Do it often and in different ways with a focus on prevention and skills building versus just getting it done! Then go out and have a safe but fun time!

Copyright 2007, Milton Jacobs, CSP Accidents Happen…To Be Preventable! ®www.safety-solution.comwww.miltonjacobs.com