The ability to direct attention is a critical component in safety performance and injury prevention. Yet too many leaders default to minimally-effective reminders to “think before you act” or “Act safely.” Attention control consists of several skills that can be transferred, practiced and applied. We focus on practical methods for:
- Identifying own attention default habits to see which might potentially contribute to risk of injury; how to strengthen personal attentional control “deficits”
- How to maintain attention when there is other competing input (not allow attention to get pulled away), especially while doing tasks that are at high risk for injuries.
- How to quickly regain attention when distracted
- Self-monitoring – previously limited or injured areas, to reduce further damage. How to quickly self-monitor attention as well as adjusting body position for greater control and safety. Noticing potentially building tension buildup at as early a level as possible. Then taking appropriate steps to head this off before damage occurs (or at very least to minimize negative impacts).
- How to make several small adjustments in attention for greater control, flexibility and range of motion.
- Becoming more ongoingly aware of force transfer, for example, of off- (nondominant) hand. We’ve found that many right-handed people have limited positional awareness of their left hand.
- Methods for moving from “think about it, remember it” to baseline action defaults. Even when people learn more effective methods to truly make a significant difference, these skills have to become part of background attention, embedded into our automatic pilot programs. This is similar to not having to think about how to balance on two feet, even when in an intense discussion.