Situational Inertia and Personal Responsibility
Safety is about concentrating on the job at hand. A momentary lapse is all that it takes for a disaster to happen. It is essential that you stay focused on what you are doing now and the effect that action has on the overall job. (If this then? what) A routine is one way of maintaining that focus; an edge in the successful job done well. When you are out of sync you loose one tool; and sometimes your focus is lost as well. Every one of us knows that you can not stow the outriggers with the boom still up. That is not the issue. Yes, that is the reason the pump fell over. That is not the lesson to take away from this event, you know that. Just think about all the pictures you have seen of pumps 'tire side up'. A large majority of them have the outriggers stowed. All of the operators of these machines knew that they would fall over with no outriggers. What they did not know (at that time) was that they had ceased to be aware of where they were at that time. That is the issue here as I see it; just a momentary loss of focus, a lapse in your situational awareness. The better you are at your job the less likely you are to loose your situational awareness, your focus. We have all seen operators that NEVER really "get it" they never have a handle on 'where' in the routine they are. Their brain never does make the connection ... If this-- then (reaction). I used to work for a guy, (Tom). His observation was that "The guy moves like a professional". = he knows where he is. Watch a really good, focused operator move around his machine. It is like a dance where he knows the steps. He is focused; his situational awareness is set on high at all times. If the music stops or changes he still knows where he is and what is next. I write often about the routine. The routine is not and end to its self; it is a tool. Like any tool it makes your job easier to do well. The tool is not the answer, it is a way to simplify or make finding the answer easier and more assured. It is an edge or aid in the battle for a job well done. It is your job to maintain situational awareness at all times. There are many activities vying for your attention; cell phones, friends, strange noises that don’t fit into the situation, truck horns, two signal men, calcium chloride in the middle of summer… the list is endless. Sometimes it is just too much to deal with and you get short with people or over react to a situation. The dispatcher wants you on another job, your wife would like you to be home early, the mud has been slow all day, the drivers want to yack with each other, the back end of your pump has two yards on it, the contractor wants you to move to the other side of the job to do one column; being the ring master in the circus and staying focused on your primary job is tough. A rookie needs to watch the box and the boom and that is ok because that is who he is. He knows that he doesn’t have the “tools” to operate on auto pilot. The other end of the spectrum is the guy that can back in the mixer truck, move the boom, think about the next set up, tell the driver discharging that he is getting ready to turn off the pump, tell the dispatcher when he will be done, glance at his outriggers and NEVER forget where he is or not know the foreseeable reaction of his actions. 99.5% of all operators are somewhere in between these two extremes.
How do you get from rookie to auto pilot?
Practice Remember what works Develop learning tools Learn the art of being able to focus Create your system Practice Remember where you are Study the reactions to your actions Practice Mentally develop a list of what doesn’t work Refine your system Practice Think before you act Practice Know where you are Practice Become situationally aware Practice Practice makes perfect
Written By Bob Sanderson Published by ConcretePumping.com