Imagine a workday without your smartphone, smart watch, laptop, or tablet. Mobile devices have tremendous necessity in our professional lives, and their widespread adoption presents hazards that require intentional management.
Constant news headlines about distracted driving injuries and fatalities remind us of hazards associated with mobile devices on the job site. At the core of the incident, the user did not detect the danger and respond appropriately or in time. Losing this situational awareness can spell disaster, considering the hazards related to our production tasks and job sites. Construction has high stakes, any way you slice it.
So, what measures should you consider to manage these mobile device hazards? Safety professionals employ a model called the Hierarchy of Controls, which has saved countless lives through its power to prevent injuries from even happening. The first Hierarchy step is elimination. By eliminating mobile device use on the jobsite, you can eliminate its associated risks, but also eliminate the benefits. Engineering controls come next in the Hierarchy, but those apply more to controlling various forces, not as much to electronics. Administrative controls offer the most help among Hierarchy options. Changing the way employees work with an effective mobile device program reaps the benefits the technology brings while controlling the distraction hazards that come along with it.
What's involved in an effective technology management program? Consider these key steps: 1) Define who the program applies to and in what environments it applies. Is it a prohibition for the job site only, or does it apply to company vehicles o
n the road as well? 2) Set the rules that apply to employees governed by the program. May employees use devices in production areas? May employees hold a device while engaged in another task? 3) Create procedures for tasks that incorporate mobile device use, and train employees to follow those steps. Finally, 4) Review your program annually for effectiveness and employee compliance to determine if changes are necessary.
Are you confident that your own use and your employees' use of mobile devices does not create greater hazards than the production it empowers? A second set of eyes from a trained risk management professional can spot hazards you may have missed. For assistance evaluating construction technology use, or for other industry safety questions and concerns, please contact PGM Safety Services, an affiliate company of Pro Group Management. We stand ready and eager to assist. Visit us at
www.pgmnv.com or call (800) 859-3177.