Mobile technology is a valuable tool for the construction industry. However, construction workers are asked to leave their devices behind due to possible site risks.
Cellphones, a necessary method of communication on job sites, distract workers from potential hazards and recommended safety practices. Despite an absence of OSHA regulations pertaining exclusively to cellphones on the job site, OSHA can cite employers for violating the General Duty Clause, which states the requirement to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards. Cellphones fall into that category.
Minimizing Safety Risks
Employers in the construction industry should consider the following recommendations regarding cellphone use on construction sites:
- Enact and enforce clear policies that prohibit texting and talking on a cellphone while operating any kind of motorized vehicle on-site.
- Limit or prohibit cellphone use in specific areas where distractions could create employee hazards, regardless of whether the employees are operating motorized vehicles.
- For company-issued cellphones, consider the use of applications that block internet access and texting functionality while in a moving vehicle.
- Make construction sites cellphone-free zones, and post signs in designated areas to remind workers. Only allow workers access to their cellphones during break periods and in designated areas.
Insurance rates can be affected by job site cellphone use, also. As distracted employees may cause an increase in accidents, the cost of workers’ compensation and other insurance coverage is likely to increase.
Even without distractions from cellphones, construction sites can be hazardous. Enforcing safety practices and consistently holding workers accountable can prevent unnecessary workplace accidents and costly liability.
Contact Vensure Employer Services for more information on minimizing the risk of job site cellphone use or sign up for our next OSHA Construction Training program today!