Some workplace distractions and interruptions are unavoidable but others – if not properly controlled or regulated — could lead to injuries, lost productivity, and a decrease in worker morale. Workplace distractions and interruptions are common, but training ear buds can help workers remember to keep their mind on the task at hand.
Work interruptions are a distraction that can result in work errors or accidents. Before addressing or responding to another person, workers should shut down or disengage any work tool, equipment, or processes. Job training should include instructions not to interrupt others during a critical job phase or process. Instruction manuals and procedural guidebooks should be kept on site to answer frequently asked questions and thereby eliminate the need to interrupt or distract other workers.
Electronic devices such as cell phones, IPods, and PDAs can be the source of serious distractions in some work environments. In some work environments wearing a headset with low volume music can be relaxing to workers and help them to safely focus on their work. However, wearing headphones on a construction or industrial site can be dangerous if it prevents workers from hearing warning signals, mobile equipment backup alarms, and safety instructions. Walking around while talking on the phone or wearing a headset distracts your attention from safety and could result in a slip or fall or cause you to run into or be struck by something or someone.
Speak up about repeated and/or unsafe distractions and instruct employees to think and take responsibility for not interrupting or distracting others.