Hi All, I wanted to have the discussion about using Technology to implement electronic "Take 5's" in the work place, ie. using your phone/tablet. Take 5's are a form of pre-task risk assessment for the simpler and quicker tasks that don't often involve high risk. Some people think that phones have no place in the workplace and are a distraction that will increase the likelihood of an injury. Others believe technology needs to be embraced when it will make our jobs easier and more stream lined.

I'm obviously in the latter camp (embrace). I made a free app that will allow people to do take 5's whenever and where ever they are, regardless of whether they have a little take 5 booklet with them or not. I'll paste the article below in case anyone wishes to read my thoughts on the benefits or if you think you might be able to use the application (its on android not ios yet unfortunately).

I'm keen to hear feedback on peoples views and experiences.

This article is on the “Take 5” personal risk assessment to give you an insight as to why I believe it is important to Goal Zero (working towards zero incidents/injuries) and what I’ve done and found to make the tool a lot more useful in today’s industry. I also wanted to hear people's thoughts on whether you find Take 5's add value in your business and if not what would you do differently to improve its value?

The Take 5 I believe is the first step in getting people to take accountability for the safety of themselves and their workmates. I believe that everyone needs to be looking out for everyone. Every additional set of eyes looking for hazards increases the likelihood of hazards being identified and eliminated because at the end of the day, I don’t think anyone wants to see anyone else get hurt.

What is a Take 5? Generally it’s a quick pre-task hazard/risk assessment/analysis that is used to help identify the hazards (and their subsequent risks) prior to starting a simple task in hope that it makes your work a bit safer. It is one tool that most businesses hope will help drive their workforce to the Goal of Zero incidents and injuries.

The specific scope can vary a little bit. Some companies encourage their workers to “Take 5” minutes to think about safety before a task. It can also be “Take 5 steps” to pre-assess the risks (e.g. Stop, Think, Identify, Control and Monitor as an example). I think it should be a combination of the two. The pre-task hazard assessment shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes and has approximately 5 basic steps to complete. Also the 5 steps I like to use are: STOP (don’t rush into the task), THINK (Identify the hazards), PLAN (Assess the level of risks), ACT (perform the task with the controls in place) and REVIEW (review the task if it or the environment changes).

If you do find that the pre-task hazard assessment takes more than 5 minutes, then there are other tools that can help provide a more detailed assessment like a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) or Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS). This is because they can be multiple A4 pages and allow you to work through the hazards associated with all the steps in the task so you can capture the extra details.

I find it important that before a Take 5, a person reminds them self about “why” they are doing the task (e.g. work to make money/provide for their family/lifestyle) and the benefits of completing a task safely (e.g. get to go home injury free and spend time with my family and enjoy my hobbies). Once a person considers the advantages of working safely, I think they are less likely to cut corners and will spend the time finding ways to work safer.

I don’t believe Take 5’s are as effective as they could be when they only ask a handful of generic questions. If you have to enter in a heap of information for each aspect of the task and the variety of hazards, then it’ll take a lot longer and the person may lose interest.

A person can be very focused on a task that they don’t see the “invisible gorilla” in their work area (e.g. the work party above or the stored energy in the pipe you’re working on). This can be referred to as selective attention and if you’ve seen the video, you’ll know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJG698U2Mvo. Your sole task in the activity is to focus and count the number of times the ball is passed between 2 people. I had to watch it a couple times to get the count correct.

What makes the Take 5 effective is when it asks a variety of questions to prompt the worker to consider the hazards they normally wouldn’t think to include. These questions can vary by industry but it’s not too difficult to build a list of relevant ones.

Perhaps my biggest frustration with the Take 5’s these days is that the little booklets haven’t really progressed with technology. They live in little paper booklets that are meant to live in your pocket to travel to every task with you however I’ve found they often end up back in the office or take a not so pleasant trip through the washing machine. There are a couple apps out there on the market but they don’t ask the important questions that give you the hazard coverage I believe is necessary.

I want to help make people’s lives better and safer as I really do believe in Goal Zero.

The App is simple, you enter your name, your email, your supervisors email (if you wish to email them a copy) and then proceed through the Yes/No questions until you reach the end. At each RED answer when a hazard exists, you are required to enter in the hazard, its risk level, a control to reduce the risk and the final risk level. Then once completed, you can email yourself a copy of the Take 5 as a record of your assessment of the hazards.

The Take 5 Personal Risk Assessment provides an easy and effective method to document the hazards associated with a task and keeps a permanent record by emailing it to your supervisor. Risk Assessments can be quite subjective so the other good use of this tool is to highlight when the hazards have an unsafe risk level that cannot be controlled, so you simply email it to your supervisor requesting a review/discussion to help get the risks to a safe level.

I’ve found highlighting to people/teams using a mobile application as a flexible way to complete pre-task hazard assessments is a good way to kick start safety discussions/toolboxes with teams. It can even be used as a simple icebreaker for safety interactions (this is a whole other discussion for another day) with workers.


Enjoy and let me know your thoughts