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Lack of Attention Causing Workplace Incidents

Lack of Attention Causing incidents
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Lack of attention can contribute to many types of incidents in the workplace. Lack of attention is often a common denominator for small incidents, but could potentially cause large serious incidents.

Some common incidents/ injuries can include:

• Slips, trips and falls

• Bumps, cuts or scraps

• Driving accidents

Four common links to lack of attention at work are often life distractions / stresses, sleep deprivation, mobile phone use, and illness.

Life Distractions

Life can be stressful and often when we get to work, we continue thinking about the stresses at home, in relationships, with finances etc.

Often our minds can wander and leave us distracted from the task at hand. When this occurs, we can leave ourselves open to risk and could harm ourselves or others.

If life distractions and stresses are taking over our minds, it is often good to take a break to re-collect our minds. This could be using a sick day and having a day or two off to sort out the things that are distracting our mind; or even just taking a quick tea break to get some fresh air, re-focus our mind and ensure our focus is back on track. A 5-10 minute walk outside getting fresh air, collecting our thoughts and “switching off” for a moment is often a great reset.

If you are feeling stressed and distracted at work, please let your supervisor or manager know. Distracted employees often misjudge abilities, take unwise risks, make errors that can have a significant impact to productivity, task management, meeting goals and safety in the workplace.

Sleep Deprivation

Insufficient sleep is one major causes of excessive daytime sleepiness. Sleep deprivation and daytime fatigue can lead to serious consequences both personally and professionally. Lack of sleep impacts both physical and mental health. People who sleep poorly are at higher risk for high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and obesity. They are also at risk for developing anxiety and depression.

In the workplace, sleepiness can greatly increase the likelihood of a workplace accident which can result in injury and even death.

Sleep deprivation also has significant impacts on other aspects of the job performance, including productivity, task management, safety and meeting goals.

Tired employees are 70% more likely to be involved in workplace accidents than colleagues who are not sleep-deprived.

With less sleep your reaction time slows, meaning you make decisions less quickly and accurately. You are more likely to misjudge your own abilities and take unwise risks. As a result sleepiness can lead to consequential errors and accidents that impact the workplace.

Mobile Phones

Mobile phones can be valuable resources for businesses, however when used at certain times they can cause harm.

It is ideal to not use mobile phones when walking, completing a physical task, driving or when your concentration is needed to be focused elsewhere.

Many incidents that occur with mobile phone use include trips, falls, slips, impact with objects. Many of these incidents occur as the person is not paying attention to their surroundings and not focusing on their environment.

Mobile phones should not be used when operating vehicles, plant, machinery or during high risk tasks such as working at height. Even hands-free use while driving can be problematic. The driver tends to remove their full focus from the road and hazards surrounding them in the area, as they are to focusing on the conversation being had.

Mobile phone use has been linked to serious incidents, injury and even death.


Illnesses can also cause incidents due to lack of attention. When you are unwell your reactions are often slower and your mind ‘foggy’. If you are unwell, injured or simply ‘under the weather’ it is important that you let your supervisor or manager know, if you have not taken a sick day.

By completing lower risk tasks or tasks that you are more physically/ mentally able to complete, you are less likely to harm yourself, others or make errors that could impact the workplace.

Ideally sick leave would be taken as your body and mind needs to the time to rest and get better. Using sick leave can often help you recover from the illness or injury quicker and reduces the pressure on your internal systems. Taking sick leave can also lessens the risk of workmates also getting unwell.

Being ill does not only relate to physical illness and injuries, but can also relate to mental illness. Mental illness can often be more of a risk to your safety at work, especially when it comes to attentiveness.

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