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Incident Prevention Magazine

R. Neal Gracey

Situational Awareness, Mental Modeling and Developing a Coach’s Eye

This month’s Tailgate Topic discusses and explains the relevance of situational awareness, mental modeling and developing a coach’s eye.

Situational Awareness
Poor situational awareness often is a contributing factor to events that cause or could have caused serious injuries and fatalities. It is rare that such an event occurs when everyone on the job is using their situational awareness skills.

Based on information from various institutions and specialists throughout our industry – including safety professionals at our own companies – situational awareness can be distilled into three primary forms: perception, comprehension and projection.

Perception is the art of observing what’s going on around you. To help create and maintain a safe work area for crews, it’s important to look for hazards before work begins, while it’s occurring and after any extended breaks. Document and discuss identified hazards and mitigation strategies during your daily job briefings and in your job hazard analyses. If a new hazard is noticed after work has commenced, stop work to appropriately address it.  

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