Risk Assessing Presence in the Workplace

Is there a connection between your mental health presence and your safety at work?

When we turn up at our workplaces each day, there is an expectation from our employers and our colleagues that we present each day fit-for-work.

We would usually relate being fit-for-work as solely being physically fit as a pose to being mentally well and/or mentally present.

On reflection in my time as a leader of people and teams, there were unfortunately times when safety incidents would result in damage to equipment or people being injured. When I reflect on the incident investigation outcomes, in many cases after speaking to the individual or people directly involved in the incident, the individual or people not being mentally present during a task was certainly a main contributing factor.

If I was able to turn back time, I would have the people in my teams include their current state-of-mind (mental presence) within their risk assessments prior to undertaking any tasks at work.

You see, we have been educated that we need to be fit-for-work and how to risk assess the task we are about to perform with the inclusion of the environment that we undertake the task within however one of the key risks is whether we are mentally present when carrying out on-the-job tasks. If our minds are not on the job then we are exposing both ourselves and others to risks.


Next time you are conducting a risk assessment prior to undertaking a task, think about your mental presence.

Are there things in your life that are taking your mind off the job right now?

If there is, then STOP the task you are undertaking until you can return to being 100% present on the job. This may mean you need to work out what is on your mind that is bothering you, why it’s affecting you and identify a solution of how you will get your mind to back on the task at hand. In some circumstances you may require to communicate your concerns with your colleagues and/or leader in order to be provided with additional support. Remember, always reach out to your support network around you.


Its about identifying those that have attended work, perhaps with changes in their characteristics, mannerisms, appearing vacant or day-dreaming. In these circumstances, it is the perfect opportunity to start a conversation with the person. Share your concerns about whether their minds are present on the task at hand.

As a leader, you have the ability to actively listen and provide support for the person in order to get their minds back to where it needs to be which is the task being undertaken.

Remember, a mind that is present will contribute to a safer workplace!


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