Three. A number most commonly associated with stooges, blind mice and sides of a triangle. Now, it is also the number of seconds it takes to possibly save a life.

In an article recently released in EHS magazine, Brent Senette introduces the “three-second rule”, which is intended to help improve worker protection. This is not the three-second rule you learned when you first started driving or dropped your favorite food on the floor; it is a three-second rule you can effortlessly implement in the workplace to ensure the safety of your employees.

It is so easy, yet extremely effective, if you just follow these simple “STEP”s:

Stop before beginning the next job task

Think for three seconds about the next task that you’re getting ready to perform

Ensure that hazards associated with the task have been identified and mitigated

Perform the task

While they may seem basic, these steps are something that people overlook on a daily basis. Even with safety leadership training, pre-job safety plans, and permit-to-work authorizations, accidents still happen – three million accidents in a year to be exact.  By consciously stopping for that short amount of time and thinking about the task at hand, workers gain “real-time hazard assessment [and] the ability to stop the job at the point of highest exposure,” according to Senette.

So the next time an employee is about to disconnect a cable from a circuit breaker, advance on a 16-foot extension ladder or break that process flange connection, he should take three seconds of his day to stop, assess and decide that what he is about to do is the safest option for himself and those around him. Wouldn’t you trade in three million injuries for just three-seconds of your work day?

To read more about the three-second rule, read the full article by Brent Senette here: