In humans, the 5 traditionally recognized senses are: Sight, Hearing, Taste, Smell & Touch.
Nowadays, we see many people walking around with in ear earphones stuck in their ears & more often than not, with their eyes glued to their smartphone screens. This is particularly evident in trains. Cutting off 2 of your most important senses for detecting danger is a very bad idea. If the assailant is close enough to taste, smell or touch, it is far too late to do anything about the situation. So, it is imperative for everyone to get his/her face up & looking forward, not staring into his/her phone or tablet when they are walking, or out & about in the world.
When someone is distracted, they might get run over because they were not looking when they crossed the road or intersection. It also makes them tempting targets for thieves. There are many reports & YouTube videos of people completely lost to the outside world getting mugged by thieves riding by on a bicycle/motorcycle or getting hurt when they walked into a dangerous situation.
Situational awareness is defined as knowing what is going on around us. Being aware of your surroundings is crucial because it allows you to readily identify a potentially dangerous situations & possible threats. It involves picking up information & cues from the environment, putting those pieces of information together so you can develop a good idea of what is going on & then using it to predict what might happen next. It is useful in everyday life with practical applications in the workplace. Temporary loss or lack of situational awareness is a common factor in many construction accidents.
It sounds easy but in reality requires much practice. It is an important skill for everyone to learn. In a dangerous situation, being aware of a threat even seconds before everyone else can keep you & your loved ones safe.
Lacking or inadequate situation awareness has been identified as one of the primary factors in accidents attributed to human error.
In December 1972, Eastern Airlines flight 401 from New York crashed on approach to Miami when the pilot & crew were all focussed on a malfunctioning landing light & failed to register that the aircraft was losing altitude.
In 2007 a truck & train collided on a crossing in Australia, when the truck driver failed to notice the approaching train.
Although each case is unique, the phrases, “failed to notice”, “unaware of”, “lack of awareness” appear with alarming regularity. All these incidents point to a lapse in “situation awareness.”
To have full situational awareness & to minimize distractions, do not allow anything to divert your attention. So, stop plugging in your ear phones & stop staring into your smartphone screens. Start noticing the things & people around you.
AIP offers courses in Situational Awareness. Contact AIP at 64430735 or email us Consult@aipriskconsulting.com for more information.