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January 2019


Four Procedures For SAFE Utilization Of Jobsite Cell Phones

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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 probably leave behind…their cell phone.

Although cell phones can be a necessary method of communication on job sites, they can also distract workers from potential hazards and recommended safety practices.  And despite an absence of OSHA regulations pertaining exclusivity to cell phones 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 cell phones 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 communication but OSHA requires a hands free system for the operators’ reception of signals. A construction worker who uses a cell phone 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 cautions of improper mobile phone usage by their subcontractors.

Employers in the construction industry should consider implementing the following Four Procedures For Work Site Cell Phone Safety:

  • Enacting and enforcing clear policies that prohibit texting and talking on the cell phone while operating any kind of motorized vehicle on site.
  • Consider a prohibition on workplace cell phone use in specific areas where distractions could create employee hazards, regardless of whether the employees are operating motorized vehicles.
  • For company issued cell phones, consider the use of applications that block internet access and texting functionality while in a moving vehicle.
  • Make construction sites cell phone free zones and post signs in designated areas to remind workers. Only allow workers access to their cell phones during break period and in designated areas.

Besides the potential for OSHA penalties and legal liabilities, insurance rates can also be affected by job site cell phone use. With distracted employees causing an increase in accidents, the cost of workers’ comp and other insurance coverage is likely to increase.  For further information contact your insurance specialists at the Contractors Insurance Agency.


Seven NEW Technologies that are Improving Workplace Safety

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The following Seven NEW Technology enhancements are creating opportunities for employers to further improve worker safety.


Workers can wear exoskeletons to transfer weight from repetitive tasks and use less energy when moving objects. The result is a reduced risk of injuries as well as increased strength, dexterity and productivity.

Virtual Reality

This technology replicates physical environments and presents training opportunities for employees. It also allows workers to stimulate hazardous tasks and identify safety needs. More benefits are expected as technology matures.


Wearable devices offer real time monitoring of workers vital signs. They can alert workers to the presence of environmental dangers. They can also cut health care costs by reducing health risks such as respiratory problems, cancer, dermatitis and hearing damage. An added bonus to employers is that wearables can provide valuable information as to what may have caused the employee’s injury before filing a workers’ compensation claim.

Hand Held Mobile Devices

Although the use of mobile devices can be a distraction and safety liability, there are useful apps that detect safety hazards, log safety incidents, track OSHA requirements and even determine when the heat index is too high on job sites. The key to improving worker safety with hand held mobile devices is using them responsibly.


Sending drones into high hazard areas instead of humans helps safely assess damage and plan emergency response.

Data Science

In addition to utilization of new devices, Data Science is enabling companies to analyze photos from job sites and then scan them for safety hazards, using an algorithm that correlates those images with their accident records.

Update and Implement Processes/Procedures

Before seeking out new technology, consider ways to improve your processes otherwise it can be a waste of money. No amount of technology will help if its’ your processes that need to be improved.


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