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Avoiding Distraction

What’s New – May 2018
May 1, 2018
Project Spotlight – USCG CIS Room 3562
May 1, 2018

In addition to all of the physical hazards you face on a construction site, there are also hazards that are not as recognizable- distractions. As with other hazards, you must identify distractions and take steps to control them so they don’t cause accidents and injuries.

A distraction is anything that takes your attention away from the task you’re doing. There are external distractions, like cell phones, warning lights, sirens, and talkative co-workers. There are also internal distractions­ distractions that originate inside us, like stress, fear, poor choices, and even feeling hungry. Today we’re going to talk about those internal distractions.

Watch your own behavior. The jobsite is not a place for heated discussions. Surprising or startling someone is dangerous, even if it’s not intentional. Horseplay distracts you and others-don’t participate in it. Pay attention to the way you act and the choices you make, so you don’t become a dangerous distraction.

Some distractions can come directly from your body. You might feel hungry, have to use the bathroom, feel sleepy, or be too warm. Maybe the cold medicine you took is making you dizzy. Do what you can to come to work focused and clearheaded. Get the sleep you need to feel rested and alert. Eat a nutritious breakfast and stay hydrated. Even mild dehydration can make you feel unfocused and sleepy. Wear all the necessary clothing and gear to keep yourself comfortable in whatever weather you’ll be exposed to. Never come to work drunk or under the influence of any type of drug. Use your breaks to get a snack, rest, and refocus.

Emotional issues can distract you. Life can be distracting. You may find it difficult to keep yourself focused on the job when you’re worried about a sick child, elderly parents, or overdue bills, or if you are dealing with a big change in life, like a new baby or a divorce. Don’t go it alone. Ask for the support you need from friends, your doctor, or your company’s Employee Assistance Program. It’s up to you to make sure that life’s distractions don’t kill you at work.

Sometimes you just go on auto pilot. If you’ve completed a task many times before, you might zone out as you work. When you notice this happening, reset your focus by taking a short break, working on a different task, taking a walk, or just stretching your body.

The jobsite is a busy, noisy place that’s filled with back-up alarms, flashing lights, loud noises, and other distractions. There can be a fine line between distractions and important information. You have to stay focused on your work so an oversight doesn’t cost you a finger. At the same time, you have to hear distractions like back-up alarms so you don’t get crushed or run over.

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