Safety Habits: Part 1

Posted: March 7, 2019 Tags:

Safety Habits: Part 1

First what makes a habit?  Habits are built in four stages.

  1. A Cue
  2. A Craving
  3. The Response
  4. The Reward.

The cue triggers your brain to initiate a behavior. It is a bit of information that predicts a reward. Now this behavior could be safe or unsafe.  Let’s taking tie-off for example.  The cue is that you’re working at an elevation that you need fall protection.

Cravings are the second step of the habit loop, and they are the motivational force behind every habit. Without some level of motivation or desire we have no reason to act.  Sticking with our example of tie-off, the obvious craving is protection if you fall or you could have the craving to get the job done quickly.

The third step is the response. The response is the actual habit you perform, which can take the form of a thought or an action. Whether a response occurs or not depends on how motivated you are and how much friction is associated with the behavior.  For example, due to the cue and craving you hopefully will tie off before being in danger. This behavior could be reinforced by a large amount of friction if you do not tie off.  Knowing not tying off could result in suspension or termination from your employer, let alone if you fall it could result in serious injury or death.  However, if the more powerful craving is to get the job done quickly, you may take a short cut and make the choice not to tie off.

Finally, the response delivers a reward. Rewards are the end goal of every habit. The cue is about noticing the reward. The craving is about wanting the reward. The response is about obtaining the reward. If you choice tie off the reward of protection from a fall and ensuring that you go home is much more valuable that saving marginal time on the task.

To conclude, focus on your cues and cravings and have the discipline to respond the right way.

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