When I first started thinking about work and fatigue, the word “alert” comes to mind.  When workers become tired, their capacity to be aware of risks and hazards of the job is altered.  Whether it is sleep deprivation, stress, boredom, or doing repetitive tasks, fatigue becomes a factor, and accidents may happen because we were not alert.

Then I began thinking about what “alert” really means.  If it’s a noun, it’s a warning.  the verb means to warn.  How many different alerts do we have in our lives?  Here’s a few:

  • Weather alerts
  • Traffic alerts
  • Amber alerts
  • Fire alerts
  • Emergency alerts
  • Scam alerts

We are told to be prepared.  We must be ready for any emergency that may arise, both at home and in the workplace.  That is what workplace safety managers do: they plan for escapes from the buildings, do practice drills on a regular schedule, and are responsible to see that employees participate in safety plans. 

Work responsibilities mean that we must be alert when we do our jobs.  Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, and we can’t let our guard down at any time.  If you observe someone who seems to be fatigued or not paying attention, be sure to ask them about it, see  if you can help with a problem they may be experiencing, and “alert” your supervisor.  One good way to get every employees’ attention, is to have colorful posters displayed throughout work areas that convey safety messages.

We have to be alert when we are driving.  Too many wrecks have taken place because someone was not watching what they were doing, or were too busy talking or texting on their cell phone.  You have to be alert to what the other driver is doing – drive defensively.  Another word for alert is “ready.”  You must be ready to prevent an accident at all times. I was driving a group of friends the other day, and couldn’t see a car in the lane to my left, where I was headed, as it was in my blind spot.  My friend in the back seat alerted me, at about the time that I saw the car in the mirror, and we avoided an accident.  It was great that she warned me in time.  We can always use an extra pair of eyes.

Another “alert” we want to issue is to be watchful of scams.  There are so many persons out there that try to scam you either on your computer, or on the phone.  Be constantly vigilant about those who try to steal your good name and assets that you have worked hard for.

We need to be watchful of our children all the time.  With our hectic lifestyles, we sometimes don’t pay as close attention to things they are telling us that we should.  Be attentive (alert) to some problem they may be dealing with that they may have a little trouble sharing with you. 

Be watchful, attentive, vigilant, aware, prepared, ready, and observant.  Those words describe “alert,” which we all should strive to be at work, home, and play.  A good lesson for our children is to teach them the same thing: to stay alert.


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