Thursday, 8 October 2015

Poster of the Month, October 2015: The dangers of acting on instinct

In the wild, animals use their instincts to survive 

In the workplace, acting on instinct can be dangerous

Never act on first instinct, always take the time to think!

October's Poster of the Month is about acting on instinct and how this can be dangerous — especially in a workplace environment.

What does it mean to act on instinct?

Acting on instinct can be a split second reaction that results in a serious accident. 

The example on the poster shows a man who has dropped his key down a hole. He has reacted instinctively, by kneeling down and reaching his hand into the hole, but he hasn't stopped to wonder what else might be down there. 

Other examples may include:

  • A worker who spots an item that is about to fall and instinctively reaches out to grab it. Unbeknown to the worker, however, the item is really heavy, red hot or razor sharp.
  • A driver who swerves to avoid a pigeon on the road and ends up colliding with a another vehicle.
  • A machine-operator, whose machine suddenly jams and shuts down, instinctively reaches into the machine to remove the blockage. However, as soon as the jam is cleared, the machine starts up again with his/her hand still inside.

Instinct is a natural reaction.

So how can we influence workers to override their instincts and stop them from doing what comes naturally?

  • Build a 'safety first' culture, where safety is always prioritised;
  • Highlight potential dangers in the workplace to raise awareness and increase caution;
  • Regularly remind employees of safe practice and procedure e.g. lock out, tag out where machinery is concerned; and
  • Draw attention to the specific dangers of acting on instinct and remind employees to always think before taking action.

A split second's thought could save an accident report.

Kodiak's poster subscription service is an effective and inexpensive way to promote safety in your workplace.

Our ever-changing posters regularly address workplace safety issues, stress the importance of adhering to procedure and highlight the dangers of acting on instinct.

To find out more about how our posters can help you improve safety and reduce accidents, please call us on 01530 456 000 or email

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