Welcome to Insights and Implications!
This month’s newsletter is Part 1 of a two-part series on safety in the workplace. We hope to shed light on this very important topic.
All of us at Insight Principles
Safety In The Workplace – Part 1
We’ve been asked to explain how an understanding of insight principles contributes to positive safety outcomes for individuals, teams, and ultimately organizations. After all, aren’t robust safety policies and procedures – accompanied by adequate safety training – the most critical factors?
The right safety policies and procedures coupled with effective safety training are essential components to creating a safe workplace. However, when investigating workplace accidents and injuries, we usually find that safety policies and procedures were in place and the employees involved knew these procedures well. So what happened?
When asked about the incident, people’s explanations fall into consistent categories:
• I was distracted.
• I was in a hurry.
• I was upset about something.
• I forgot (because of one or more of the reasons above).
What do these explanations have in common? Each is a symptom of a mind out of balance – we are caught up in our thinking and not paying attention to things that may be important for our safety. Realizing we were out of balance came too late.
Understanding how our mind works can sometimes prevent us from getting out of balance, but not always. More often, this understanding increases our awareness of what is going on inside our mind and brings us back to the present moment. Then it is easier to remember our safety training and implement safety procedures or make adjustments.
Here are some examples:
I had an argument with my teenager the other morning. When I got to work, I recognized that my thinking was still upsetting me. I remembered that when my thinking is upset, I’m not as alert or intelligent. It then occurred to me to take some time to calm down and focus before I entered the lab.
The timeline for completing the project kept being shortened. I was rushing around everywhere – an accident waiting to happen. Fortunately I recognized it, then I remembered that the “rushing” feelings came from thought and not from deadlines. I was able to slow down.
I was going through a shut down procedure that I had done many times. For a moment I couldn’t remember the next step. I realized that I was feeling confused and that my thinking was all muddled. That was my clue to pause, reset, and start the procedure over.
When we realize the inside-out nature of our personal experiences, we quiet down inside and our minds clear. This allows the built-in design of the mind to return us to balance more quickly, which makes us more present and focused. It is this presence and focus that keeps us safe and aware of our surroundings.
Safety policies and procedures are a critical piece of the safety puzzle, but they’re not enough. Understanding insight principles is key to maintaining balance and a balanced state of mind is key to maintaining safety in the workplace.
So, in the same way you refresh your understanding of the required procedures and policies, remember to do the same with what’s happening on the inside.
©Insight Principles, Inc.