ABC Greater Houston Chapter - Build Houston Magazine, October/November 2021

THE ULTIMATE DISTRACTION SAFETY I had left home to head into Houston for a client meeting. Traffic was typical for Interstate 10, so I wasn’t surprised when traffic stopped due to the mid-morning bottleneck. As a safety professional my number one pet peeve is tailgating, and I avoid it by leaving one car length for every 10 mph of speed between me and the car in front of me; or by staying 20–30 feet back when stop. I never ride a bumper. Often other drivers cut into my safe zone because they think it ’s an opportunity, not a protection. But not today. Today no one would cut in front of me. Today, I would have all the space I wanted between me and the next driver. And, today, that space would be the difference between life and death. I only had a split second’s notice. My periphery vision caught a glimpse of the Ford Expedition barreling down upon me. I knew, instantly, that today was the day. Today was the day I was going to die. I braced for impact, and it came—she never even hit her brakes. The officer at the scene said multiple witnesses reported watching the driver of the Ford Expedition push my car over 20 feet into the next car. He also said that same 20 feet saved my life. I may never know what distracted the driver who crashed into me that day, but I do know one thing—she was definitely distracted. Whether she was checking her map app, texting a friend, reaching into her purse, or unwrapping a croissant, it is all the same—it is all distraction. Distractions are so fundamental to the accidents that occur in life and the workplace, that even the NFPA 70E Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace has an entire section on human factors and the need to address them in policies and practices. The NFPA 70E appendix specifically names distractions and simultaneous or multiple tasks as three of many human factors leading to error and incidents. PART I BY TARA MAR IA AMAVI MULTI-TASKING: October/November 2021 11