9 Tips to Improve Situational Awareness in the Workplace

Situational Awareness in the Workplace


Situational Awareness in the Workplace


Workers who don’t mind their surroundings — especially in construction and industrial settings — put everyone at risk. That’s why it’s important for managers to take steps to improve situational awareness in the workplace.

Deadlines, distractions, routines and fatigue are among the many factors that can cause employees to lose focus on the job. Just one mistake can lead to downtime, injury or death. Keep reading for helpful ways that workers can avoid complacency by being proactive and staying alert.

9 ways to improve situational awareness on the job

  • Practice the SLAM method. The four stages of SLAMare stop, look, assess and manage.
    • Stop: Ask the following questions: Is this a new task? Has it changed? When was the last time I completed this task? Am I comfortable with it? Do I need training?
    • Look: Observe the work area before, during and after completing a task to inspect for hazards.
    • Assess: Identify potential threats and if the task can be done safely with the equipment available.
    • Manage: Ensure workers encounter minimal hazards, then follow up regularly to find out what is going well and what could be improved.
  • Understand the pace of your environment. Pace fluctuates depending on the task, crew and outside elements. Watch for unplanned variables and adjust accordingly for safety.
  • Beware electronic distractions. Avoid using an electronic device while walking or performing other tasks. Even listening to music can be a distraction and a safety hazard. Only use devices in areas or situations where it’s safe to do so and remember to look up regularly to scan surroundings.
  • Have an exit plan. If a work threat is imminent, have a designated safe place to move to. Make sure everyone knows the plan and reviews it regularly.
  • Speak up when dangerous situations occur. Report accidents, injuries, near-misses or suspicious activity that could put the team in danger. Remember to use the Stop Work Authority process and remind all workers they have the authority and responsibility to stop work when they notice a potential safety risk.
  • Recognize team member tendencies. Watch for changes in the performance of those nearby and step in to help if necessary. This can help you prevent accidents before they happen.
  • Prevent fatigue. Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. If fatigue becomes a factor, consider adjusting routines to get a more consistent sleep schedule.
  • Expand visibility when possible. Glance at the mirror above the next shelf corner to see if a forklift is coming and look for reflections on equipment nearby — anything to help you sense danger before it arrives.
  • Deploy signaling devices and signage. Go a step further by installing visual and audible signals to enhance situational awareness. Most people know that red means stop, green means go, yellow means caution and sirens alert of some sort of status change. Watch this video to learn how signaling devices alert workers and improve situational awareness:


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