Some people can’t chew gum and walk at the same time, so says a funny anecdote. Apparently, there are those who can’t text and walk simultaneously, either. According to a 2015 study conducted by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, injuries due to use of mobile devices and other distractions while walking have more than doubled since 2004.
The National Safety Council said in 2015 that although 52 percent of such injuries happen at home; however, employers should also do their part in managing the risk of distractions in the workplace.
The four main reasons for workplace distraction injuries
Simple Work Comp, a nationwide employee-leasing broker, conducted a study that identifies the main causes of distracted walking injuries in the workplace. Below are the causes generated by their study:
- Studying reports or inventory lists while walking around the plant floor
- Reading from a tablet while filling an order or taking inventory
- Talking or texting on a smartphone while walking to a meeting or in a parking lot
- Wearing headphones while walking on the manufacturing floor
U.S. HealthWorks tips for employers to curb injury-causing distractions
An employer can never truly eliminate workplace distractions. However, they can be minimized by implementing the right safety precautions. It starts with upper management. As an employer, you should perform walkthrough observations more frequently, paying close attention to employees who may be distracted from their work.
You may also want to implement certain rules that minimize distractions while working, such as banning the use of smartphones or other similar devices that pull an employee’s attention away from focusing on their job.
In addition, you may encourage your employees to be vigilant about distractions as well. Give them the permission to help each other regain focus when they see one of their coworkers being distracted at work.
Another thing you can do is to offer employees longer or more breaks from work. Though this may seem counter-intuitive, several industry experts claim that it can actually increase productivity, while reducing distraction-related injuries.
In case of injury
Should an injury occur at your workplace, it is your responsibility as an employer to take the patient to an an urgent care center, such as U.S. HealthWorks Urgent Care, as soon as possible. Their healthcare facilities have all the tools necessary to ensure that the patient receives proper care and is given the best chances for a full recovery.
(Distracted walking dangers on and off the job, SimplyWorkComp.com)
(Distracted walking injuries threaten worker safety, BusinessInsurance.com)