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Attention Interrupted: Cognitive Distraction & Workplace Safety

Summary: Diversions of attention tend to decrease productivity, increase errors, and have associated human and monetary costs in the workplace. By thinking of cognitive distractions as task interruptions, OSH professionals can focus on aspects of the environment that can be observed, measured and controlled like other hazards facing workers. Effective solutions to prevent cognitive distraction must follow a task-oriented approach whereby interruptions in the environment are systematically evaluated and mitigated through various means, including education, policies and technology, rather than trying to prevent a cognitive process that occurs in the mind of an individual worker.


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