Start Your Day Off Right with the "2-Minute Rule"

Start Your Day Off Right with the «2-Minute Rule»

By Josh Williams, Ph.D.

As the poet Alexander Pope famously wrote, “to error is human.” This is especially true in work environments where people have done a particular job for many years. They may get complacent. Basically, employees start to operate on autopilot despite a myriad of hazards around them, especially if they go years without getting hurt.

This is compounded when a large group of employees and field leaders become desensitized to the risks around them. Unfortunately, serious injuries and fatalities often serve as the wakeup call to remain ever vigilant about safety on the job.  

The 2-minute rule encourages employees to take time before starting a job to review the immediate work environment. This helps workers identify a) altered conditions due to changes in work planning, b) potential job hazards, and c) error-likely situations.

When conducting the 2-minute rule:

  • Size up the work environment and determine if any changes have occurred since the last time work was performed.
  • Review key procedures, permits, and PPE requirements.
  • Determine the condition and availability of needed tools and equipment.
  • Discuss relevant issues with coworkers including necessary precautions to take.
  • Identify and address any hazards before starting the job.

Call to Action: Encourage employees to get into the habit of walking around and checking their surroundings before starting work. This 2-minute rule raises situational awareness and helps prevent injuries. It also shows your commitment to keeping everyone safe.  

At Propulo, we work with leaders to find new ways to minimize human error and corresponding incidents.         


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