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Lack of Awareness: My Downfall

August 27, 2014

Okay, so here’s a good story.  I work for a company that has an entire practice dedicated to safety and improving workplace safety.  My degree is in Industrial Operations with an emphasis in safety.  I’ve been through countless safety training courses while on active duty in the United States Air Force.  To sum it up, I like to think of myself as a safe person.  That is until I completed the SafetyDNA® assessment, an online psychological test battery that measures a person’s “SafetyDNA,” which shows your personal safety profile.

When I received my report I was puzzled how it could conclude that I had a few “blind spots” when it came to certain areas relating to safety.  For example, one aspect of my profile is that I am lower than others on “Awareness of Surroundings” and to be honest, I was a little skeptical.  That is until this past weekend.

While helping a family member move I was lifting boxes to clear a path for some larger items.  Now I know you’re thinking, “You should be lifting with your legs not your back.”  Well, you’re right there, but I was lifting with my legs and following all the proper lifting techniques.  The problem was that I was hurrying and failed to see the piece of metal sticking from the side of one of the boxes I had just lifted.  When placing that box in its new location the overlooked piece of metal cut a three-inch gash in the side of my leg about an inch deep. After yelling a few choice words, I made the trip to the urgent care clinic for a few stitches.  As I was sitting on the table in the exam room I couldn’t help but think back to my SafetyDNA development report which had indicated:

  • Focuses on destination; may take a few shortcuts or miss caution signs along the way. Check!

  • You remain cool and focused most of the time. However, in stressful situations, you may overlook things, increasing your exposure, especially given your tendency to take risks. Check! 

Needless to say, I think it’s time I take a closer look at my developmental report and see the action items associated with helping me reduce my safety risk.  Either that or…just stop helping people move.

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David Juristy David Juristy is Vice President of Sales, and the executive leader of PSI’s safety practice. He has used his background in Industrial Operations and military training in Quality & Safety compliance to work with many of today’s top companies to implement safety solutions.