News & Views

Driven to distraction by staff disregarding health and safety?

BY Gary Foggo
Health & Safety
BG Orange

We all know that using a handheld phone whilst driving has been outlawed because distracted drivers are not in proper control of their vehicle. But do employers need a policy on the use of mobile phones at other times?

When IS it OK to use your mobile?  A recent salutary lesson comes from the other side of the world. A tourist checking out her friends on facebook on her mobile walked straight off the end of a pier in Melbourne, Australia. A non-swimmer, she was perhaps lucky that some bronzed Adonis of a lifeguard (actually an alert policeman) spotted the tourist in difficulty in the water – and she was rescued.  It is noted that although she was at risk of drowning there was no need for a lost property report because she kept tight hold of her mobile whilst in the water! 

If someone is walking through town / across the building site / across the factory floor / through the company car park whilst texting or changing their facebook status – what is the chance they will notice an approaching car or fork lift truck or an open manhole? 

Law at Work Health and Safety Managers are frequently told by our clients that Health and Safety is “just common sense”. Whilst we may agree with the sentiment, we are not always sure that “common sense” is very common. Stand and look at any busy city road junction – chances are you will see someone crossing the road, oblivious to anything except the phone in hand.  Is this “common sense”? 

Think for a moment about the health and safety risks your business faces – are they made more or less risky by having personnel who are distracted?

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