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Blind Spots: 4 Psychological Factors That Can Get You (or someone else) Injured

November 22, 2011
Everyone has a blind spot when it comes to being safe. No, we’re not talking about just the little area of space in your car where it’s hard to see if someone is about to hit you on the highway, or the area behind your head. Blind spots can pop up in lots of areas, not just our vision. Whenever we are not aware of something – whether it’s in our physical surroundings, how we behave, or our personal attitudes – we lack insight about this. And when we lack insight into something that can get us hurt, it can be blind spot for our safety.

Think about how you typically drive. We all have moments when we go a little (or a lot) over the speed limit, or when we speed up at yellow lights. We know that we are not supposed to do this but we often do it anyway, even though we know it can get us or someone else hurt. So why do we do it? In some cases, we don’t even realize we’re doing it. In other cases, we realize it, but perhaps believe that there is very little chance that we’ll get into an accident or get pulled over by a police officer. Or worse, we may not even see these behaviors as dangerous or risky at all. Whatever the reason may be, these can all be potential blind spots that put us in harm’s way. And the more blind spots we surround ourselves with each day, the greater chance we have of injuring ourselves or others around us.

Driving is just one common example that most people can relate to, but there are many other types of situations or activities where our blind spots can emerge. For many people, the workplace is where their blind spots can multiply very quickly, putting them at much greater risk. Whether it’s someone in a factory, a warehouse, driving a vehicle, or even in an office setting, blind spots can come in many different forms.


There are four main psychological factors that are critical to maintaining one’s safety in any workplace:
  • Caution
  • Rules
  • Control
  • Awareness
Based on decades of research on accidents and injuries, these four factors are usually involved when a person places themselves at risk of injury.  However, most people are not aware that they might have a blind spot when it comes to one or more of these factors, and without insight into them, even the best safety training program can still leave people exposed to injury.

By assessing for these factors and then providing valuable insight into their personal blind spots, employees in any working environment can significantly decrease their level of exposure over time, and take steps to further improve in these areas in order to engage in more safe work behaviors and foster a safer work environment.

To learn more about these four factors, click here to download the white paper on this topic.

Esteban Tristan, Ph.D. Esteban Tristan, Ph.D. is the Director of Safety Solutions at PSI. He manages the development and implementation of all safety solutions and services, which address some of the critical challenges faced by organizations today in workplace safety.