The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

What is Situational Awareness

Graham Marshall - Thursday, April 14, 2011

Situational Awareness (SA) is all about using Think 6, Look 6 in order to maintain your alertness to the hazards and triggers in the environment around you. 

It's about identifying potential hazards that could hurt you and the triggering mechanisms that could cause the hazards to escape from your control.

Importantly, situational awareness is both a way of observing and thinking and a process to give order to the information you're observing and thinking about. 

So SA is both a mental paradigm and a process to follow. 

We call it Think 6, Look 6 because this is the simplest way to describe both the way of thinking and the process to follow.

Situational awareness using Think 6, Look 6 can be practised by any person with the desire to use the technique.

The first element of the Think 6, Look 6 mindset and process to follow is to recognize that hazards and triggers exist all around us in the environment.

Tuning-out to one’s environment means a person’s chances of identifying hazards and triggers is virtually non-existent.

That's why apathy, denial and complacency are a deadly combination on any work place.

The second element of the Think 6, Look 6 mental schema of SA is understanding the need to take responsibility for your own personal safety, or for the safety of work colleagues, family members or even strangers if you're community-minded enough to care!

You'll recognize that the HSE resources of any organization are limited and the Safety Guy can't be on every job or manage every hazard. It's not his job to do so in any case!

Put simply, SA using Think 6, Look 6 offers people a means to look out for themselves and their co-workers (or family members when off the job).

on Saturday, I'll talk a bit about the different levels of consciousness involved in situation awareness.

JSA Manual
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