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Our newsletter this month is second in our series about safety in the workplace. Below, we address how to intervene with others when you see a potential hazard.
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Safety In The Workplace – Part 2
Last month we addressed how workplace accidents happen despite appropriate safety procedures and robust training. When your mind is out of balance and you don’t realize it, you may not be able to utilize safety procedures or prior training. However, understanding how your mind works from the inside-out can return you to balance quickly and prevent trouble.
But what about the other person? What about the co-worker who is stressed out or distracted or upset or exhausted? You can’t give them a crash course in insight principles. What can you do to help?
Imagine this scenario:
You overhear your team member, Jack, in a heated phone discussion. He slams the phone down hard. You know that Jack is about to supervise a complex repair on the manufacturing floor. You see him storm off and you quickly catch up to him.
You: Hey Jack, How’s it going?
Jack: Not now, I’m in a hurry to get the H3 repair completed.
You: I know. Isn’t that a complicated and potentially risky repair?
Jack: Yeah, but we’ve done it before.
You: Jack, you seem spun up. I couldn’t help hearing you slam the phone.
Jack: Look, it’s personal. I’m fine.
You: I’m not interested in the phone call, Jack. I’m concerned that you’re in a state of mind where you might do something potentially dangerous.
Jack: I said I was fine.
You: Can we stop walking for a minute? You are the best technician in the plant but right now your mind is full of thinking about that phone call. Your mind needs to be clear and focussed. Can you take a moment to get there?[You see Jack pause and take deep breath. He looks calmer.]
Jack: Thanks. I’m good.
You: Great. Let me know how the repair goes.
Your intervention was short, direct, and effective. There was no need to give a complete description of how the mind works. You can point out the simple fact that whatever you are thinking in the moment will be your experience in that moment. The thinking Jack was doing about his phone call would compromise any advantage his knowledge and experience may have afforded him. Yet, when someone pointed it out, he came back to balance and could operate capably (and safely) again. This is just how the system works.
Workplace safety is truly a team effort. Sometimes it can seem uncomfortable to intervene, but it’s actually an act of kindness, just as it’s kind to stop someone who is about to step into traffic or help someone who has fallen. As long as you share the simple, common sense principles about how the mind works in a neutral way, most people will be receptive and grateful.
After all, if you were lost in your thinking and about to do something potentially dangerous, wouldn’t you want someone to help keep you safe?
©Insight Principles, Inc.