5 Minutes to Power and the Gorilla in the Room
Our brains process so much information at once that we often miss much of what is occurring around us. Unfortunately, that includes overlooking potential hazards that can cause injury. Before you continue reading, please look at this short video.
How Did You Do?
So, did you spot the gorilla? Often, workplace hazards are like the gorilla in the video: We cannot see them because our focus is on something other than the hazard. You probably wouldn’t think anyone would miss seeing the gorilla in the video — or a color-changing background or a player leaving the room — but this famous study by experimental psychologist Daniel Simons at the University of Illinois proves that it’s entirely possible.
Many of our tasks require our attention to be on a single point of focus, which limits our ability to see other things, like a tripping hazard or a low overhang. Indeed, it can even draw our attention away from following well-established safety practices, like wearing gloves and safety glasses.
Two Solutions to Get Your Focus Back on Safety
One way to reduce the risk of overlooking potential hazards is to use a checklist before beginning each job. Right now, CoolSys is piloting a hazard assessment checklist in several locations. We know checklists work by focusing our attention on the most common hazards we are likely to encounter. Would you get on a plane if you knew the pilots weren’t routinely doing that critical pre-flight check?
Another tool is our 5 Minutes to Power (5MTP) program, which is designed to help you focus on safety before starting your workday — provided you are watching the videos each morning at the beginning of your day. We strongly urge you make 5MTP a daily habit each morning, which will give you a leg up on your day, from a hazard-prevention perspective.
For those of you who say you don’t have time to take these safety steps, ask yourself: Do I have time to meet the gorilla?