Job Site Cellphone Use in California

While distracted driving is a major problem on roads, especially here in California, cellular device distraction has been identified as the cause of many accidents on construction sites. Construction job sites pose multiple safety hazards, and the added dangers brought about by the use of cellular phones on the job can cause higher numbers of injuries and fatalities. Follow these tips to minimize job site cellphone use to help protect your employees.

Mobile technology can be a valuable tool for the construction industry, but when it comes to using it on the job site, there’s one device workers should leave behind: their cellphone.  Contact GDI Insurance Agency, Inc. for a comprehensive California Contractors Insurance quote – more than just insurance, safety plans, HR, and OSHA compliance are all part of what you get from us!

More Than Communications – A Major Distraction

Cell phone

Although cellphones can be a necessary method of communication on job sites, they distract workers from potential hazards and recommended safety practices. And, despite an absence of OSHA regulations pertaining exclusively to cellphones on the job site, OSHA can cite employers for violating the General Duty Clause, which states the requirement to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards.

Employers can also violate OSHA’s cranes and derricks standard by allowing cellphones on the job site, since it states, “The [crane or derrick] operator must not engage in any practice or activity that diverts his or her attention while actually engaged in operating the equipment, such as the use of cellular phones.” Phones may be used for signal communications, but OSHA requires a hands-free system for the operator’s reception of signals.

Did You Know?

Cellphone usage while operating a construction vehicle on a job site poses even more of a threat than using a cellphone while driving on a public road.

Employer and Employee Liability

A construction worker who uses a cellphone while operating a motorized vehicle may face civil or criminal liability for damages they cause. An employer can also face liability for the acts of its employees if it fails to enforce a policy that prohibits texting while driving.

General contractors can also face OSHA liability for worksite hazards if they fail to address actions by subcontractor employees who use mobile phones improperly on-site. As such, general contractors should be cautious of improper mobile phone usage by their subcontractors.

4 Tips To Minimize Safety Risks

Employers in the construction industry should consider the following recommendations regarding cellphone use on construction sites:

  1. Enact and enforce clear policies that prohibit texting and talking on a cellphone while operating any kind of motorized vehicle on-site.
  2. Consider a prohibition on workplace cellphone use in specific areas where distractions could create employee hazards, regardless of whether the employees are operating motorized vehicles.
  3. For company-issued cellphones, consider the use of applications that block internet access and texting functionality while in a moving vehicle.
  4. Make construction sites cellphone-free zones, and post signs in designated areas to remind workers. Only allow workers access to their cellphones during break periods and in designated areas.

Besides the potential for OSHA penalties and legal liability, insurance rates can also be affected by job site cellphone use. With distracted employees causing an increase in accidents, the cost of workers’ compensation insurance and other insurance coverage is likely to increase.

Even without distractions from cellphones, construction sites can be hazardous. Enforcing safety practices and consistently holding workers accountable can prevent unnecessary workplace accidents and costly liability. Contact GDI Insurance Agency, Inc. for more information on minimizing the risk of job site cellphone use.

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