Improving Situational Awareness in the Workplace

Deadlines…. Distractions…. Fatigue….. workers not aware of their surroundings, especially in a setting where machinery is used is extremely dangerous and puts themselves and their teammates at risk.  Situational awareness in a work setting is critical as one mistake can lead to serious injury or even death.

Many workplaces improve situational awareness through the implementation of the SLAM technique. This technique encourages workers to take control of their safety and outlines a clear process.

Here is information on the SLAM technique:

STOP

Before starting a task, workers ask questions to help understand the assigned job.  This process uncovers potential issues that the person performing the task may experience.

  • Is this a new task?
  • Has the job changed since I first completed it?
  • When was the last time I completed this task?
  • Do I feel comfortable doing the work?
  • Do I need training to help increase my level of comfort executing the task?

Look

Employees review the work area before, during, and after the completion of a task.  If hazards are identified, they should be analyzed to evaluate the level of risk and determine if control measures should be put into place.

  • Inspect the work area for safety concerns
  • Identify potential hazards for each step of the task
  • Investigate hazards identified to determine level of risk

Assess

To ensure that assigned personnel possess the necessary skills to perform the job correctly, a self-assessment should be completed prior to execution.  Concerns should be discussed to ensure that the work can be done safely.

  • Does the person have the knowledge, skills, and tools to safely complete the task?
  • Is additional training needed to properly carry out the task?
  • Is help needed to perform safely?

Manage

Leadership takes responsibility to eliminate or minimize hazards on site and provides ongoing safety management after the appropriate analysis has been done.

  • Ensure the proper equipment is used and well maintained
  • Think about each task completed by workers and analyze the process
  • Consider how to be better prepared for future tasks

The SLAM technique provides a simple framework for workers and management to follow when conducting tasks and instills strong health and safety practices throughout the workday.  It gives workers an easy-to-follow methodology and has been proven to help employees feel safer while at work.

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