Carrying out routine activity is common on many job sites.
Routine activity is an activity which is carried out on a regular, daily basis. Due to the nature of the routine activity, those involved in routine activity get so used to the job, can lose focus. Some can become hazard blind; negligence can set in; overconfidence brews carelessness and mistakes occur.
In many workplaces, it is easy to identify those safety and health hazards associated with the daily, routine tasks undertaken as part of a worker’s “typical” day. Hazard identification and analysis is a critical step in a successful safety and health program.
It is important that any hazards which could result in injury are monitored by those carrying out routine activity.
Employees may overestimate the probability of remembering to perform an action if that action is an action they always perform. Normally, performing the steps of a highly practiced procedure places only small memory demands as executing each step will automatically prompt the retrieval of the next step from memory.
There are numerous examples when minute changes in work conditions, frequency or other situations will easily change a task from routine to non-routine and consequently introduce hidden and other hazards that we may be unaware. Of course, the extent to which we recognize this will depend on our vigilance and our general attitude and proactive nature.
Constant safety talks, training and retraining, performance review, personality audit and review should be encouraged.
There can be no doubt that there have been significant improvements in safety awareness over recent years. However, injuries are still occurring, and they are particularly prevalent when carrying out routine tasks.
Understanding vulnerability to error even in highly practiced routine tasks, raises an awareness and which will drive a focus on the task. Recognizing warning signs associated with threat will encourage employees to manage their workload as much as possible. It will also encourage them to use personal techniques such as creating mindful cues to refocus on the task.
Regular, comprehensive safety training courses should highlight this issue and reinforce the necessity to always follow safe working procedures, however big or small the task is. By this continued emphasis on maintaining a strong safety culture and awareness when approaching and performing all tasks, there should be further reductions in both the frequency and severity of injuries associated with completing routine tasks.
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