Mobile phone usage has become a part of virtually everyone’s lives in today’s modern world. We seem to be tethered to our mobile phones. There was a time when we used to wake up in the morning and make a coffee before work, now the first thing we do is check our mobile phones.

Remember the days when we used to finish work at 5pm and not think about work until the next day, now we seem to be working 24/7. We get e-mails, texts, WhatsApp messages, Facebook messages, Instagram messages, Twitter messages. The list of social media notifications is endless.

The big problem is the fact we seem to check for these messages constantly. A recent study has discovered that the average person checks their device up to 100 times a day, spending over 5 hours a day, browsing the web and using apps.

There is a time and place for using your mobile devices and that is not while you are involved in a work related task. If you are using your mobile phone, you are not concentrating on the task at hand. This lack of concentration is very dangerous, construction sites are inherently hazardous.

Huge amounts of time and effort are made by construction companies to ensure you are aware of the hazards through education and Health and Safety legislation. Most Health & Safety Inductions will reference the companies policies regarding Mobile Phones.

Mobile phone usage undermines all this effort.

All this education requires operatives to be aware of their environment and using a mobile phone greatly reduces the awareness. Construction companies need to ensure that mobile phones are banned on site. They should be left in a locker or the operatives vehicle and used in their own time. Companies should consider providing lockers to all staff as a standard on projects.

I constantly tell people to stop using their phones, the stock answer seems to be “I need them in case of an emergency” Well that could be true, but how many emergencies to we have to deal with every day. All projects will let you use the office phone in the case of an emergency or you need to be contacted.

Mobile Phone Usage

If you need to make or take a call
  • Stop work immediately and ensure it is safe to do so.
  • Find a place away from the project or use a designated mobile phone area.
  • The company should make you aware of the use of mobiles during your site induction.
If someone calls you
  • Is it safe to stop?
  • Ask people not to call you during the hours of work.
  • Is it safe to talk?
  • Stop or leave it to go to voicemail and answer when safe to do so.
  • Is it an emergency?
Hands Free
  • Earphones should not be used while you are working. Having music blasting in your ears is so distracting.
  • Do not use the hands free speaker.
Making Calls
  • Make your calls when it is safe to do so and in a designated mobile phone area.
Employers & Companies
  • You could be liable for prosecution if you allow the uncontrolled use of mobile phones on-site.
  • Do not call your employees when you know they are working.
Exemptions
  • Emergency call to 999 or 112 .
  • Your company may allow the controlled use of 2-way radios

Mobile Phone Usage – The Truth

I spent most of my day walking around construction projects, the use of mobile devices is becoming an epidemic. 90% of the usage has nothing to do with work, mostly it is people playing games or texting friends and family about their social lives.

Lets forget about the huge waste of time and the impact on productivity, we need to focus on the safety aspects. Why are mobile devices banned when driving any vehicle? They are banned because there is massive evidence that they reduce your attention and cause accidents. 

When you are involved in an activity on a construction project, you need to concentrate on your task and don`t be distracted by mobile devices.

Companies need to enforce their own rules if operatives have been made aware of the hazards through Site Inductions and Toolbox talks and they still refuse to control their use – remove them from the site!

If you require any help or advice on your project Health & Safety Induction or Toolbox Talks, then leave a comment and I will try to help in anyway I can.