Workers in the Bakken oil field are exposed to multiple hazards every day. Although personal protective equipment such as hard hats, work boots, and eye protection are essential for safety, the most important safety item a worker can have is an alert and focused mind. Unfortunately, cell phone distraction turns the worker's mind away from his environment and elevates his risk of injury or death.
The Distraction Dangers of Cell Phones
A misconception common to many cell phone users is that distraction involves not looking where you're going or at what you're doing. While true, visual distraction is only part of the problem. Mental distraction is the other part of the equation. For example, pedestrians using cell phones have been known to walk into telephone poles even though their eyes were open and looking straight ahead.
This 'cognitive blindness' to parts of the environment has also been noted in drivers using hands-free cell phones. Likewise, oil field workers can step into pits or in front of heavy construction equipment. Texting and playing video games are even more dangerous forms of cell phone distraction because the worker is both visually and mentally distracted.
Cell phone distraction also endangers coworkers. Distracted operators of heavy construction equipment such as bulldozers, backhoes, and cranes place their coworkers in extreme jeopardy. The danger is severe enough that OSHA restricts mobile phone use while operating cranes. A distracted worker operating any type of equipment, such as forklifts, endangers others.
The Fire and Explosion Hazards of Cell Phones
The lithium-ion batteries of cell phones are energy dense and have, on occasion, overheated, caught on fire, or exploded while charging or when in standby mode. This makes them a fire hazard in work areas near flammable liquids, gases, or vapors.
Because cell phones are a communication necessity, some workers can't do their work without them. Like heavy equipment, cell phones are potentially dangerous yet are a necessity for many Bakken field workers. If you suffered a construction injury because of another's distraction or negligence, don't hesitate to get legal advice from the lawyers at Odegaard Braukmann Law. Contact us today.