I have spent the past 2 years observing people that DONT get hurt and interestingly there seems to be a pattern. A set of actions that these people do habitually, without thinking that I believe keep them safe. I have called them keystone habits. Let me jump straight in then provide some context for each habit:
1. Plan your day/task
2. Follow procedures/rules
3. Take action
4. Know your limits and ask for help
5. Recognise when distracted and self correct.
Plan you day
Study after study show that successful people plan their day. They plan the work and work the plan. Prioritising what is important, preparing for distractions and picture what success looks like. They have a clear vision and use their time in the most effective manner possible.
Those that use correct procedures or checklists, to form routines are less likely to get things wrong when under stress and pressure especially when the procedure or checklist are deliberately practiced. A pilots routine in an emergency a great example.
Knowledge is great but action makes it happen. People that can habitually see a hazard and do something about it create an environment that minimises hazards and hence opportunity to come into contact with things that can hurt you.
Know your limits and ask for help
This habit has self awareness and courage all wrapped into one. Knowing how far you can push yourself before you break and being able to ask for help before you do, to get the job done leads to successful outcomes. This is an important combination for success.
Recognise when distracted and self correct
Probably the most important and the most difficult of all the safe habits is being able to quickly identify your distracted state and self correct. People that can remain focused and pay attention to hazards have all of our abilities as human beings to avoid such hazards working for us.
Essentially, each of these habits create opportunities to think about and look for the line of hazards in a habitually way. That thinking is done by the fast part of your brain and pretty much at your disposal whenever you need it. And that is the reason why they are keystone habits. They are automatic, omnipresent and appear when we most need them.
At the end of the day, the laws of physics tell us to get injured contact needs to be made with hazards energy. Don’t contact hazardous energy, don’t get injured. The keystone habits are those fundamental actions that we as humans make to stay safe.