Situational Awareness – Conscious Overload 7 +/- 2
ACCIDENT/ INCIDENT DETAILS
An operator tripped, fell and sustained a fractured elbow. At the time of the incident, he was in the process of exiting a customer’s garage and was shuffling sideways past a car and the garage wall. As he took his first step outside of the garage, one of his boot laces became caught on the lace hooks of his other boot – this was the immediate cause of his fall.
He was in the process of measuring the distance between the customer’s footpath and the road outside of the property, at the same time he was also engaged in a conversation on his mobile telephone.
On face value, this incident seemed to be straightforward.However, following assessment further learning has been identified with regard to ‘Conscious Overload’ – commonly called 7 +/- 2.
In this case our colleague had too many things going on and his ability to concentrate on the physical work he was completing (i.e. moving past the car) was reduced by other things, e.g. the conversation he was having via his mobile telephone.
LEARNING POINTS/ACTIONS TAKEN
Individuals on average can concentrate on 7 +/- 2 things, this is called our ‘conscious ability’. If a person tries to concentrate on too many things something will fall-out of their concentration
.• When completing physical activities, remove distractions and ensure you have the conscious ability to concentrate throughout the activity, and ultimately deliver a safe outcome
.• Situational Awareness – Stop regularly and complete a 20-second scan of your working environment, take immediate corrective action to remove hazards, distractions, etc.
• Look after your colleagues, if you see someone trying to complete too many things whilst they’re completing a physical activity. Ask them if they’re ok and remind them of 7 +/- 2.
If it’s not safe, we don’t do it #STOPANDTHINK