Reposted from Securitas Security Services, USA, Inc.
Situational awareness is a human experience defined as knowing and understanding what is happening around you, predicting how it will change with time, and being unified with the dynamics of your environment. We practice situational awareness every day—when crossing the street, driving our cars, and making dinner in our kitchens. Situational awareness is knowing what is going on around you and staying vigilant to any changes or threats. By becoming more aware and observant in the workplace, all employees can help maintain a safe environment and improve the safety of everyone around them.
Establish a Situational Baseline
The first step to situational awareness is to establish a situational baseline. Make it a daily habit to look around and actively process your surroundings. Ongoing monitoring of daily activities can help establish what is “normal” for your workplace. Observe what the typical state of the workplace is. Who are the people you usually see? What do they look like? What are they doing? What are the sounds you often hear? Note any changes and decide what action to take. Identifying your situational baseline requires ongoing maintenance and consideration. This is something all employees should practice every day. Remember, baselines not only change with a change in environment, they can also change with time of day or even the weather.
Be Aware of Those Around You
Become familiar with the people in your workplace. If you see someone out of place or acting suspiciously, take the time to assess the situation and decide what action to take. Certain kinds of activities in the workplace can indicate suspicious activity, especially when they occur at or near high-profile places where large numbers of people gather.
Trust Your Instincts
If something “feels” wrong, or out of place, don’t dismiss it. “Gut feelings” can be a very useful to help alert you to a threat. Part of situational awareness involves being mindful of your subconscious and conscious environments. Take the time to assess the situation and decide on an action. If you are unsure, contact your supervisor or other personnel to help you.
Awareness is a choice. One has to choose to pay attention. Routine tasks often become just that: routine. Maintaining operative situational awareness requires real effort. Take time to focus on your responsibilities and your surroundings, even those that are most familiar. Additionally, try to avoid things that lock your focus, such as your cellphone. Things that lock your focus prevent you from maintaining active awareness. By making situational awareness part of your workday, you can reduce risks and help improve the safety of your work environment.
Education is key. Learn what to do in the event of an emergency before there is one. Maintaining your sense of situational awareness can improve your decision-making under pressure and you will be better prepared to respond. Make sure you understand the plans of action for different circumstances in your workplace for yourself and others. Lack of knowledge is not an excuse for poor job performance. All employees should educate themselves about any potential hazards that their environment or actions can pose to themselves or others. Ensure that you are up-to-date with the systems, processes, and procedures of your work environment, and that you feel confident about what to do in any situation.
All employees are encouraged to practice situational awareness, by being alert to their surroundings at all times, and to use their experience, training, and skills to assess their workplace environment on an on-going basis. Situational awareness adds value to the workplace by cultivating enhanced preparedness, essential new knowledge, and enhanced response safety.
AN INFORMATIONAL GUIDE FOR SECURITY CLIENTS
Watch for behavior that doesn’t fit. Suspicious behavior can include:
- unauthorized monitoring or surveillance of the workplace
- unusual items or improper acquisition of supplies (like access or ID cards)
- persons who do not appear to belong in or near the workplace
- suspicious questioning about your workplace or personnel
- behavior that indicates a dry run of suspicious activity
- unauthorized attempts to test security procedures
USE THE SLAM TECHNIQUE
Observe your surroundings and become aware of what is going on around you.
Pay attention to what you see and notice whether anything appears out of the ordinary or out of place. Take note and report anything that looks unsafe or unusual to your supervisors.
If you think you have identified a potential threat, decide what action to take. Report anything that looks unsafe or unusual to your supervisors.
If you feel unsafe at any time, stop. Tell your coworkers and immediately report to your supervisor. If you have solutions that would help improve the safety of yourself and others in your workplace, alert your supervisor.
For more information on this and other security related topics, visit the Securitas Safety Awareness Knowledge Center at: