Employees often bring their cell phones to work, a choice that could potentially cause numerous hazards on the job. Cell phones can be a dangerous distraction in the workplace, just like other workplace distractions such as horseplay and chattering with co-workers. Cell phones can cause us to lose focus on the task at hand. When used inappropriately these devices can get employees in trouble at work as well as potentially cause serious injury.
Workplace Cell Phone Use Can Be Dangerous:
- While most of us would never consider doing a puzzle or juggling while performing our jobs, we often don’t give a second thought to sending and receiving text messages as we complete our daily tasks.
- Of the 3,000,000,000 texts sent each day, a large number of them are now being sent from and received in the workplace. Not surprisingly, we are now seeing a rise in workplace injuries related to text messaging and other phone and PDA-related activities.
- We are all aware of the hazards of texting while driving, but sending and receiving text messages at work can be just as dangerous.
- Just like other workplace distractions such as chattering with co-workers, horseplay, or having our mind on something other than our task, being distracted by using the phone also causes us to lose our focus on the job at hand.
Recognizing and Responding to Unsafe Cell Phone Use:
- To avoid committing unsafe acts, we must make safety our top priority in every task we perform.
- We must adopt an attitude that our primary goal is doing every job as safely as possible. Maintaining this attitude will help us recognize situations where use of cell phones:
o Interfere in our ability to perform our tasks without injury; and o Hinder us from completing our jobs in a timely manner.
- We must be able to recognize and reject the excuses we often make for texting when we know it is unsafe or prohibited by policy.
- It takes “two to text.” If you are on the receiving end of prohibited or unsafe texts being sent at work, don’t respond. Let them know, in person, that texting at work is unsafe and inappropriate and that you will not participate.
- Similar to other safety issues, putting a stop to dangerous texting or other distracting phone use requires a culture of speaking up and refusing to participate.
- When employees help to create this type of work environment, it creates a safer workplace for everyone.
- Finally, we must be willing to speak up when we see people putting themselves in harm’s way by texting while performing their job duties.
Cell Phone Workplace Safety and Personal Use:
While the majority of major accidents come from distracted driving, workers on foot should not use cell phones in or around a work site, as they risk placing themselves in danger while distracted. Workers who aren’t paying attention to where their footsteps are taking them might accidentally walk into a vehicle path or another material hazard.
Cell Phone Workplace Safety and Outside Risks:
Especially in the case of construction workers, distracted drivers completely unrelated to your company or project might pose a threat. When road work is in session, outside drivers might clip a worker or run into your site, injuring themselves or others. Some construction sites now put up large, orange signs well in advance that read “PAY ATTENTION” or “NO CELL PHONE ZONE” to get drivers’ attention and keep them alert as they move through the work zone. Police presence and/or reminders that traffic fines double in work zones can also help serve as effective deterrents.
So, What It All Boils Down to Is This:
- Our phones are powerful tools which allow us to have instant access to information and communication.
- When used appropriately, these devices can make our lives easier and more enjoyable, but when used at the wrong time and in the wrong manner, these same devices can get us in trouble at work and cause serious injury.
It’s up to you to use your safety sense and your understanding of your organization’s rules and procedures.
DON’T TEMPT FATE…THAT TEXT CAN WAIT!!
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