January 16, 2023 | Alex Paradies

Does a Lack of Mental Focus Cause Accidents?

Distracted driving

I saw a post on LinkedIn claiming:

“98% of HSE professionals have experienced incidents
in 2022 due to a lack of mental focus.”

The insinuation in the post was that if we could get people to focus more, these incidents wouldn’t happen. That triggered alarm bells in my brain. It sounds very blame-oriented to my ears.

This post proposed Neuroscience Safety as the solution to this problem. Neuroscience Safety focuses on topics like impulse control, attention span, how to listen, how to train your brain, and five factors to mental peak performance. The author implies by getting people to think before acting, we can prevent people from “losing focus” and making a mistake.

All those human factor topics are important to understand, but focusing on fixing the person never seems to pay off in the long run.

How to think differently about this?

I would prefer to see it as the following.

“98% of HSE professionals have experienced incidents where
people’s mental focus was relied on as the last safeguard.”

This implies there was a system weakness. We put this person in a situation where they were likely to fail. When a task requires 100% mental focus to remain incident free, it needs to be redesigned because people aren’t superhumans.

I see people claiming to teach techniques that will reduce the number of mistakes people make. However, they all focus on the wrong thing. The reason we still see incidents in safety isn’t that people are the problem. The mistake we make is continuing to create processes and systems that set people up for failure.

How to stop the cycle?

Check out these three opportunities coming up that will help you break away from blame and human error.

  • Learn to Stop Human Error
  • Find Out What Tools Work
  • Stop Non-Conservative Decisions

Learn to Stop Human Error

If you would like to be PROACTIVE in improving human performance, you should attend our Stopping Human Error Training.  We go into detail on human performance principles and apply them to what works and what doesn’t.

stopping human error

You will leave this course with a clear understanding of methods to improve human performance and a custom plan to apply those methods at your company to achieve significant gains in safety, quality, or operational and maintenance performance (all of which depend on human performance).

The next chance you have to attend this course will be before the 2023 TapRooT® Summit at the Margaritaville Lake Resort, Lake Conroe, Near Houston, Texas, on April 24-25. CLICK HERE to register.

Even More Information About What Tools Work

In addition to the pre-summit course, we have an Improving Human Performance Track at the 2023 Global TapRooT® Summit. This track provides opportunities to benchmark and network with people who are interested in improving human performance.

For example, one of the sessions in the track is How to Stop Non-Conservative Decisions. When faced with uncertainty, mistakes are often made. Blaming the person who made the mistake doesn’t fix the problem. What should you do to help people make the right decisions? That’s the topic of this session, where Alex Paradies will outline improving your safety culture by empowering leaders and workers to make conservative decisions.


Don’t miss out on the opportunities to go beyond trying to fix the worker. If we want to spend time improving our mental focus, let’s do it together while learning best practices from around the world.

If you attend the pre-Summit Stopping Human Error Course and the Summit (April 24-28), you can SAVE $300 OFF the course and Summit fee.

Here are other discounts to consider…

Summit Discounts

To register for the Stopping Human Error Course and the Summit, CLICK HERE.

Human Performance, Summit, Summit - Sessions, Summit - Speakers
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