“Lulled Into A Rhythm of Routine”

A woman declares

“Every weekday morning my husband’s alarm clock goes off at 5:30. He gets up, showers, shaves, brushes his teeth, gets dressed, and places his jingling keys in his pocket. He clears his throat, blows his nose, and well, other noisy things. When he opens and closes the door leading to the garage, the alarm in the bedroom beeps three times… loudly. This happens every day and I don’t hear a thing. I sleep right through it. My body has grown so accustomed to his routine that I don’t even hear the noise”

We can grow so accustomed to our environment; we don’t even realize the noise is there. Our alarm may beep, but we ignore the alert.

Our senses grow dim.

Take another example. Come sit with me in an airplane just before take off…

“Here we go again, I mused as the flight attendant began her routine instructions.

I grabbed the latest copy of Sky Mall magazine tucked in the seat pocket in front of me and began flipping through the pages.

The man to my right continued reading the headlines in the day’s paper. The woman to my left was a first time flyer and paid close attention.

I glanced around the plane and noticed very few people listening to the flight attendant’s life saving instructions.

And then it hit me. The frequent flyers paid little attention, not because we were being rude, but because we had heard  it all before.

The safety procedures were routine information. The hum of the flight attendant’s voice merged with the roar of the engine. So we ignored her.

But you better believe that if the pilot announced in mid-flight that a crash landing was imminent, all of us “been there done that” passengers who did not pay attention to the emergency procedures would all be reviewing those safety instruction cards in the seat pocked in front of us quicker than you could say “buckle your seat belts.”

People rarely get hurt because they want to, or because they don’t care, or are clumsy.

All too often, the inability to control attention and attitude can be an insidious contributing factor in many injuries.

Loss of attention control can be a significant contributing factor in common injuries.

The continuing process of perceiving and making needed adjustments is critical to injury prevention when there are changing conditions– weather, traffic, and personal risk factors and also when conditions are routine. (Not only do cars run differently on different days, people wake up in different conditions daily, more or less likely to sustain muscular-skeletal disorders from doing similar tasks.)

Here are examples of the role attention plays in injuries:

  • Slips, trip and falls are often attributed to slippery or object-strewn work surfaces, but experience shows that loss of attention is often in play.

Environmental distractions or mental preoccupations can easily arrest attention.

  • Many injuries where people run into or are impacted by a moving or a stationary object involve lack of attention.

Have you ever known someone who was dwelling on a concern or making long-term plans while walking, then slammed into a wall, corner, desk or other object that “just appeared out of nowhere”?

  • Disregarding weaknesses or low-level pains can turn minor problems into major ones.

The potential for soft- tissue injury increases when people are unable to monitor their internal cues of tension and balance, or if they are unaware of the direction of forces within their body when lifting, pushing, pulling, using tools and other daily activities.

For example, if I’m aware that I’m experiencing weakness in one ankle, I can position my other foot forward when pushing.

But if I’m distracted or not able to pay effective attention to my foot, I may disregard minor physical signals and place myself at greater risk of injury.

  • Hand injuries are often associated with workers performing highly repetitive, often high-speed tasks; it’s easy for them to be lulled into complacency.

The belief that something is safe does not guarantee it is. Take the example of a mountaineer who has climbed Mount Everest free of supplemental oxygen numerous times without incident. It is easy for this mountaineer to begin to believe that s/he is engaged in a safe practice.

Upon examination of the risks involved; hypoxia, sudden storm, avalanche, rock fall, injury, and hidden crevasse, it is obvious that climbing Mount Everest is an extremely risky endeavour.

It is human nature to be lulled into a false sense of security by repeated uneventful occurrences.

Starting today, let us think carefully about our routine activities and don’t be “lulled into the rhythm” as this can put us at risk.

“The greatest danger a team faces isn’t that it won’t become successful, but that it will, and then cease to improve. “ — Mark Sanborn

Thanks for the share, TO!