Cell Phone Safety on Construction Sites

The use of cell phones on construction sites, while sometimes a necessity of communication, present a real hazard when it comes to distracting workers from safety practices. Industry experts are unanimous when it comes to the proper use of these devices, “Operators of heavy equipment, tower cranes and other construction machinery can be distracted by mobile phone use. OSHA regulations forbid the use of mobile phones in construction regulations pertaining to cranes and derricks, but the hazard exists across any dangerous equipment. Accordingly, active operation during the use of construction equipment should be strictly prohibited.”

While no specific OSHA regulation pertains exclusively to cell phones, employers could face a citation for violation of the General Duty Clause (5)(a)(1) of the OSH Act of 1970) for failure to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards. For cranes specifically, OSHA’s regulation requires that the operator’s reception of signals must be by a hands-free system.

The most important thing that employers can do is to establish clear policies that prohibit texting and talking on a mobile phone while operating any kind of motorized vehicle on site, including cars, trucks, cranes and heavy machinery. Communicating these policies should be a priority in any training program as well as enforcing any violations by non-management and management alike.

One of the most common safety measures that construction managers have adopted is to make construction sites “cell phone free” zones whereby workers do not have access to their phones during work hours—with breaks being a permissible time to check in.

In addition to operating heavy machinery, the distraction of a cell phone during a situation where a worker is at risk for fall is a very real concern. For these reasons, surrendering a cell phone while on the job is sound advice.

In short, construction sites can be a hazardous environment even without the distraction of cell phones. Making sure safety practices are in place and consistently upheld goes a long way to preventing unnecessary accidents.

For more safety information, contact our offices at Diversified Safety Services.




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Nina McGinley

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