by Jaymie Bloch, MS, ATC

Everything we’re able to see at the same time is what’s called our Field of Vision. In other words, this is how far out peripherally we’re able to see without moving our eyes or our heads. Typically, this range spans a total width of 190 degrees. As industrial athletes, we can draw at least a couple of conclusions from this information:

– We shouldn’t have ‘tunnel vision’ while we work. We need to be aware of what’s going on besides what’s directly in front of us.

– If we’re only able to see 190 degrees, what can we do to be mindful of the other 170 degrees we can’t see?

Feeling Too Familiar

Our work requires focus on our tasks, but we have to be mindful of what’s going on around us too. Consider the facts around the majority of auto accidents. 52% of them occur within 5 miles of home. This is because most drivers spend their days on these specific roads. But, there’s also factors of overconfidence regarding road familiarity and drivers may prove more distracted when they first set out from home.

Similarly, we have to think of our worksite in much the same way. How can we remind ourselves to see our workspaces with fresh eyes when we tend to be so familiar with our surroundings?

I Think I Have ESPN or Something…

If we keep the Work Right PREPARED acronym in mind, we know to (R) Review Our Hazards as we begin work or as we return from a break. This also means we have to anticipate the possibility of hazards too. What else should we keep in mind? Let’s go to some fancy words!

Situational Awareness – This mindfulness practice discussed last week is the process of scanning your surroundings prior to work. Be mindful of your surroundings. Identify and anticipate objects that could lead to something like a fall or an injury. We often get used to our surroundings or are thinking of too many things at once. This is something you can practice outside of work and incorporate into your daily work routine too!

Spatial Awareness – This describes your ability to be aware of objects in space and your body’s position in relation to them. Spatial awareness allows you to be conscious of the things in your environment as well as your position to them. This awareness is especially important to those that operate machinery where they need to think of the space in which their machine is operating in relation to other surrounding objects and people.

Proprioception – This describes our body’s ability to sense its location and its movements and actions. It is the awareness of our body or limbs without looking. These movements are typically the unconscious efforts of our brains to balance and coordinate our body’s movements.

When it comes to injury prevention – keep your head on a swivel! Don’t overlook the finer details. Even the little things can lead to severe injuries.

**Try out this Field of Vision Test for what an industrial athlete might see (and not see) at work.**

Jaymie Bloch, MS, ATC || Jaymie has been a Certified Athletic Trainer for 7 years, including 4 in the industrial setting. She has a Bachelor’s of Science in Athletic Training, a Master’s of Applied Exercise Science, and is also a BLS instructor. She loves spending time with her husband, daughter, and Siberian Husky, working out, golfing, and camping.

Be sure to check out our other blogs for further injury prevention education and tips for the industrial athlete from Work Right NW!