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Weekly Toolbox Talk: Turn It Off

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When was the last time you saw someone "on the job" also on their phone? In a single day a large number of employees are checking their phones:

  1. Reading and typing text messages while trying to operate power tools
  2. Updating social platforms with their latest selfies and posting unsafe condition of their work area.
  3. While in the Porta Potty taking a break
  4. Or making long personal phone calls

Cell phones for the most part are no longer productivity tools in business, but rather a major distraction. The promise that they would increase employee productivity has died, but the addiction remains.

Talking to friends and relatives on the phone can be a very pleasant part of our
day. Depending on what we are discussing, it can also be very upsetting. We could be discussing last night’s football game and the winning or losing point, scheduling a doctor's appointment, having a fight with a girlfriend, checking on a sick parent, thinking, planning, emotions running high all with one hand on the telephone.

This is okay if we are just sitting on the living room sofa; however, it is not okay if you are on a jobsite, ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE WORKING ON CONSTRUCTION SITE. While working out in the field, talking on the phone is not appropriate. Make no mistake about it; IT IS DANGEROUS!

Here are the 7 ways cell phones are hurting your daily work performance:

  1. They distract employees. How well can workers be doing their job if they are constantly checking their cell phone for texts or social media feeds? Multitasking guarantees that the quality and quantity of our work will certainly go down.
  2. They cause interruptions. Since the phone is always on, people are always checking their phones to see how many likes they got or if someone has reply to their comments or is always waiting who will call me today.
  3. They're a security risk. With many employees bringing their own devices to work, mixing personal and professional applications on one phone can put the privacy at risk. Security is always at risk with one unlocked and lost cell phone. Who can get your phone and have access to your personal information if they find it.
  4. They're physically dangerous. Multitasking employees can be more prone to injury. This doesn’t just mean being on the phone while driving, but even while walking and texting.
  5. They prevent a separation of work and home. The constant connection to the phone ensures that every employee will bring work problems home and home problems to work. Having no downtime between the two can lead to burnout.
  6. They spread confidential information in public. Ever been in a public place where a person was having a very private business conversation? Not only is this a company risk, but how focused can the employee really be?
  7. They actually add work. If work email is checked on a non-work device, the employee either replies quickly (not favorable) or has to reread that email at work again (not productive).

Because cell phones have been listed as a contributing factor to potential accidents, distractions, unsafe condition exposures by posting pictures on different social platforms and slowing down production. Marek has written a policy on cell phones about cellphone usage, all personal cell phones are not allowed on the jobsite without permission from your supervisor or foreman. They are to be kept with your other belongings, i.e., locked in a vehicle or left back with your belongings. You are never supposed to be making or receiving calls on personal (unauthorized) cell phones while you are working.

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