You have just entered the Accident Zone! How’s your stuff?

You might well ask, “What do you mean by stuff”?  Good question.

In the context of this article, stuff refers to a part of our Error Prevention training where we discuss your mental and physical capacity to do your job at any given point in time.

Moreover, the more stuff you have at any moment, the more likely that you will do your job well and without making a mistake.

Something happens to all of us during the day.  Our stuff diminishes due to factors like fatigue, stress and lack of nourishment.

Consider this typical day and how our stuff is affected:

We awake after a good night’s sleep and our stuff is in pretty good shape.  We eat breakfast and increase our stuff.  We haven’t thought much about the tasks ahead, so our stuff stays high.  We could be successful doing just about any task at this point of the day.

And then things start happening.  We need to drop the kids off at school on our way to work and our daughter is running late.  We have an important meeting first thing in the morning, so we rush a little bit on the way to school and definitely on the way to work.  Stress is building, and our stuff is decreasing.  We are taking chances that we would normally not take.

As we go through the morning at work, tasks come and go, our nourishment is decreasing and so is our stuff.  We still have enough stuff to do our job well, but we need to increase it for the afternoon.  When we have lunch, we boost our stuff.

Then comes a surprise deadline on a task that of which you were unaware. This is on top of our other jobs, so our stress starts to increase significantly, and our stuff decreases rapidly.  We are in a situation where the tasks we need to get done require more stuff than we have.  We are in a Mistake/Accident Zone.

We somehow get through the Zone without incident and are pretty low on stuff when we drive home.  Perhaps the drive is pleasant and uneventful, so we relax a bit and our stuff increases. And we can handle the evening dinner and family activities just fine.

Our stuff fluctuates during the day.  It happens to all of us.

But remember that Mistake/Accident Zone?  That is a risky place to be.  It is where calculation, programming, executive planning, clerical, and sales mistakes are made.  It is where machinery breaks, products get produced incorrectly fires and explosions occur, people get injured or worse.

Wouldn’t it be good to check your stuff when you sense that you are entering the Mistake/accident Zone?  You can.

You can us a handy checklist that we call IMSAFE.

I = Illness

M= Medication

S= Stress

A= Alcohol/Drug

F = Fatigue

E = Eating or Emotion

If you’re well-rested, well-fed, and not taking any medication for a cold/flu, and you don’t experience any surprises, you’re probably going to navigate through the Mistake/Accident Zone pretty well.

On the other hand, if you are experiencing a bit of flu, taking medication containing alcohol, haven’t eaten well and didn’t sleep well, you better be extra cautious in the Zone.

If you use the IMSAFE checklist when you sense that your stuff is low, you might just avoid a serious mistake or accident.

So – again – How’s YOUR Stuff?

What if We Didn’t Have to Work with Other People?

No more time wasted in boring meetings!

No more listening to boring stories!

No disagreements!

We could just do, whatever…

For most working people that is not the reality.  We must learn to work effectively with our co-workers, management, contractors, vendors and many others through the course of a day.  Often, putting us in difficult or challenging circumstances that may cause tension, errors and even accidents.

That is where the Error Prevention Training Institute (EPTI) can help.

We have the world’s best human error prevention methodology, proven and validated by thousands of people, over decades and the WORLD’s leading organizations. Do you want to find out more about how it works?

We offer an online course that we recommend to all employees to create a common language and understanding of the Error Prevention methodology. We highly recommend pairing this with PIC and Executive training to gain buy in to the approach across the organization. That can be offered in multiple ways depending on the needs and preference of your organization.

We can help design a solution that works for you.  We have exciting new options on how to deliver our proven practices (mobile app, marketing material, onsite and online classes for the enterprise or individual learner, custom video, simulation development and many others.

We have an amazing 30 minute demo that provides an overview of the training and what it can mean for your organization.  We highly recommend that as a starting point for your teams to begin to work more effectively together while reducing errors, incidents and accidents.

Contact us today to schedule a web conference demonstration.


“Safety Chats,” Waste of Time?

Every month or two, we seem to learn of a human error that either costs corporations or individuals millions; or, worse, causes severe injury or death.  It seems that, as intelligent people, we would learn from all these errors and be able to change the way we go about tasks – change the way we behave – so that these errors would be greatly reduced.

But they just keep happening.  Why?

Perhaps looking at how we approach the subject of workplace health and safety gives us a clue. After all, safety is supposed to be a commonly understood goal that everyone wants, right?

One aspect of the term “safety” means that no one gets injured and that certainly is a goal we want.  So, companies invest in people and programs that move the company toward the goal that no one gets hurt.

Various training programs are used to raise employee awareness of how they are supposed to use tools, clothing equipment and procedures to avoid injury.  The Department of Labor, OSHA and other agencies have produced tons of training programs.

Work teams are encouraged to conduct safety moments – also called a safety minute, safety brief, or safety chat—on a regular basis as an important element of a comprehensive workplace safety plan. This is a way to reinforce that health and safety are a top priority in the workplace and develop a strong safety culture.

Even though strong people are put in place to manage health and safety programs and good tools are used, injuries keep happening.  To be sure, it might be encouraging to know that the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a gradual decrease every year from 5.0 injuries per 100 employees in 2003 to 2.9 injuries per 100 employees in 2016.

But are we okay with 3% of our workforce being injured? 

What’s more, the statistics – and most Health and Safety programs – do not include accidents that result in equipment or product injury which can be enormously expensive for the company’s financial health.

So, what’s missing?

Consider the common reaction of a workforce to the words “Safety Chat.”  Some readily embrace it, yet many will consider it a waste of time because they believe that they inherently behave in a self-safe manner and that they know how to follow operating instructions and labels.

The latter group considers the “chat” as a bunch of people talking about danger without actually doing anything that seems concrete or relevant to the latter group.  “Kumbyah” comes to mind.

What is missing is a gut-level tie to human factors that put people in a mistake/accident zone.  Using safety goggles in no way relates to how a person might be able to perform a task.  Is the person sick, under excess stress at home, under pressure to leave work early to get to a child’s soccer game, etc?  Is the person impulsive, feeling invulnerable, showing off, etc.?  Has a manager changed a deadline or quota?

What are the Human Factors?

None of these human factors are taken into account in a typical safety chat because chats involve materials and procedures.

In addition, chats are often inconsistent from team to team.  The lexicon used in chats are often different too.  As a result, chats seem to resolve concerns about equipment and procedures but do not effectively provide a vehicle to discussing human factors.

Therefore, we see that the paths people take after a chat that does not include human factors frequently result in an accident happening anyway.  When accidents occur after chats, the validity and relevance of chats diminishes and are often abandoned.

EPTI has developed a simple yet easy to use discussion tool for “safety chats called AESOP™.”  It highlights each of the key areas that an individual or team should consider for establishing a safe error free working environment.  It puts some meat on the bone so that everyone has the same productive agenda for the “safety chat” which is now called “doing a quick AESOP!  More on AESOP™ in the next blog.