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Toolbox Talk: Refocusing After a Vacation or the Holidays

By January 3, 2023 No Comments

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, it’s crucial that every person is responsible for being alert and creating a safe work environment the minute they step onto the job site. Everyone on the job site is asked to get their minds and hearts focused on the tasks at hand and to uphold the highest standards for safety practices. Workplace mishaps can be dramatically reduced with the correct mindset and attitude by recognizing four common errors that open the door to injury:

1) Rushing

Employees may feel pressure to complete tasks as quickly as possible so that they can move on to the next task 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 not being in the moment, either thinking about what you will or have been doing.

Reminding employees that working safety is the first priority, even if it means finishing the job later, is important. 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 drunken driver, which illustrates the dangers of fatigue. Construction work is physically demanding, and mental demands, such as 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 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 and/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.

Remember, we’re hooked on safety!

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