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Concrete Facts

How Cell Phones Are Negatively Impacting Job Sites

Remember back to simpler times when you didn’t have to worry about social media, notifications, and texting? Long gone are the days where job sites were free of distractions. Rather than just worrying about what concrete forms to use, or finishing a job on time, many workers are being negatively influenced by their cellphones.

The distractions are causing serious problems by risking the safety and productivity of construction workers. Read on to find out how cell phones are negatively impacting job sites.

Distraction and Addiction

There have been multiples studies conducted pertaining to cellphone use and the construction industry. One of the main conclusions drawn is how distracting phones are on the jobsite.

Between email, text messages, and social media notifications, the average worker is being interrupted almost a hundred times a day. These constant interruptions are just scratching the surface of what this implies for workers. Things like productivity, jobsite safety, and privacy are all at risk due to smart phones. Imagine operating a dangerous piece of machinery and having your phone go off and steal your attention away from the concrete formwork ties you are working on. Or think about the contractor paying top dollar for hourly employees and losing a portion of their productivity to personal phone calls.

These seem like issues people shouldn’t have to deal with. But the reality is we live in a digital age and many people are addicted to their devices. Many millennials and Gen Z-ers in the labor force have admitted to “FOMO”, or fear of missing out. The vibration, light up, and notification alerts on phones have proven to have an effect on people and this has penetrated the construction industry.

One distraction workers are facing is the combined use of earbuds and cellphones. Many now have music and podcasts downloaded straight to their phones, or they use YouTube to stream media. This seems as harmless as putting up concrete wall forms but being able to hear on the job is critical to safety. If you’re listening to music and can’t hear someone calling out to you or yelling to stop an activity, you can already imagine what scenarios could happen.

Productivity and Safety Decline

We can’t stress enough the negative impacts on productivity and safety related to cell phone usage.

For one, construction work has its own risks and dangers involved. Adding cellphone distractions to the mix only elevates risks and concerns associated with this field of work. There have been numerous stories of workers being reckless with machinery and endangering their own lives or the lives of others. One report said that a worker walked off a roof while talking on the phone, distracted by his conversation.

This presents a unique problem in the digital age: liabilities. Companies are having to reword their policies and workman’s compensation because of debates of safety. Who is responsible if a worker is distracted and gets hurt on the job?

Another issue companies face is productivity and labor costs. Jobs are taking longer now that employees are using their phones more often. You can physically check how much screen time a person has had on their smart device, and it’s obvious this precious time doesn’t advance a work project. The main problem companies are finding is that employees feel entitled to their phones and “being connected” to the world.

This presents other unique problems such as confidentiality. Workers are able to record and take pictures of job sites that may violate a contract because it breaks confidentiality of a client. Many states don’t allow conversation recording either, so companies face some difficulties in controlling devices. On one hand, no one wants to remove basic “privileges”, but at what extreme should companies intervene? Either way, cellphones are hurting job sites. The good news is there are some ways to effectively limit cell phone use at work.

Ways to Combat Cell Phone Usage

Simple responses to cell phone use include educating your employees of the dangers associated with using them.

Another idea is to rewrite policies that prevent certain incidents from happening. For example, clearly stating that cellphones can’t be in use while operating machinery will drastically decrease opportunity for mishaps. If people disobey these policies, you can discourage them with fees, warnings, and if it comes down to it, termination of employment.

Forming America Has Your Materials

As the digital age evolves, construction companies will have to adapt and communicate ways to limit cell phone use. Though they are negatively impacting our job sites, technology has improved life. Responsibly using it is the key in this conversation, and Forming America is glad to have it.

If you need supplies or materials for your next project, contact Forming America today. We have everything you’ll need for your next job!

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