What is Headspace?

‘Headspace’ refers to the state of an individual’s psycho-physiological functioning as a result of exposure to a stressful event or adverse circumstance (Cunningham & Regan 2016). This fact sheet provides an educational summary to assist organisations with what managers and workers should be on the outlook for to help reduce the risk of a headspace event leading to a crash.

One of the major risks organisations have to manage is driver distraction. Whilst this typically refers to mobile phones, eating food, changing music, etc. what is often overlooked is the mindset of the driver before they commence driving. How focused are employees on the task of driving their vehicle in a safe manner after a high stress event?

Through an employee’s day-to-day activities they can be exposed to a high stress event. This can be work-related, flow on from emerging personal issues or an external factor such as witnessing a car crash. The stress event can vary significantly but the end result is the same, their mindset may be impacted and they could be distracted from their driving task. So what is the Headspace of the driver? How can the driver be aware they may have a headspace issue? What can a manager look for and be aware of to recognize a headspace risk?