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Toolbox Talk: Refocusing After a Holiday or Long Weekend

After being away from work for a vacation or a holiday, it might take some time to regain focus on the job at hand. But in construction, every person must be responsible for being alert and creating a safe work environment the minute they step onto the job site. We must remember that safety is always a priority and one of our most important core values.

1) Rushing

Employees may feel pressure to complete tasks as quickly as possible to move on to the next job or finish the day early. Rushing reduces the quality of workmanship and increases the chances of failing to follow the correct safety steps to complete tasks. Accidents increase on Fridays, holiday weekends, or when jobs are behind schedule, mainly due to needing to be in the moment, either thinking about what you will or have been doing.

Working safely is the first priority, even if it means finishing the job later. Take the time to carefully and thoroughly pre-plan the work, understand the hazards, use the right tools, and wear the proper personal protective equipment. Never rush through these steps in an effort to save time.

2) Frustration

Frustration is a mindset that everyone experiences at some point. Having the right tools to manage frustration and turn negatives into positives is key to avoiding accidents and injuries. Creating a workplace that heads off frustration early in the process of development is critical to managing the situation. Actively listen and engage with an open mind with each other to create possible solutions and ease frustrations for all parties.

3) Fatigue

Fatigue greatly reduces production and performance. A tired driver is said to be as dangerous on the road as a drunk driver, which shows how dangerous it can be on the job. Construction work is physically demanding, and mental demands like tasks that require extended periods of intense concentration can also increase fatigue. Climate extremes (hot and cold), noise, and handling vibrating tools can place demands on workers and increase fatigue. Workers’ personal dietary and sleep habits and emotional well-being can also impact fatigue at work. Remember that after a break, you might have lost some of your conditioning and need to build back up to previous standards.
It is very important to identify when a worker is fatigued to take the correct course of action. If you see someone or you feel fatigued, slow down and talk to your supervisor.

4) Complacency

Complacency can be the most dangerous mindset that results in an injury or accident. The false belief that experiences make you invulnerable can be the first step to an accident. Accidents can happen to anyone anytime, regardless of time in the trades. One should always be finely tuned to each situation’s risk, and supervision must intervene quickly when boredom results in complacency.

With a commitment to safety training and awareness, the job site’s culture can replace complacency with an emphasis on alertness, planning, hazard identification, problem-solving, and prevention and care.

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