Work Smart. Work Safe.
Keep your "Heads Up" and work safe!

With eyes glued to a screen…

By Matt King

I was walking. It was mostly just a normal walk. My feet were not moving quicker than normal, my heart wasn’t racing—it was just a normal walk. Except for one thing, really, though that too seemed normal at the time. I was staring down at my smart phone. I don’t know what it was that seemed so important, whether some friend had posted a particularly hilarious photo on Facebook or maybe just a picture of a sunset on Instagram, but there I was, walking around downtown Edmonton, my face pasted to a screen.


And then I was almost pasted to the road. I walked out onto the street, and suddenly a car whizzed past me. The sound of its engine and the whoosh of air that followed raised my head, and I soon realized I was walking into a busy intersection. I rushed back to the sidewalk, glanced down at my phone, and slid it into my pocket. I was safe, but only just.

Cell phones can be a distraction. As we stare at our screens and zone out to the little bright lights, we can lose focus on what may be going on around us. A forklift might be passing by, but we can’t see it because our friend just posted a photo of his breakfast and we obviously have to see that now. A co-worker is climbing a ladder and accidentally drops a few boxes in our direction, but we can’t see it because our parent has just texted us about dinner that night.

Of course, cell phones are especially dangerous when operating a vehicle of some sort. According to the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), “Cell phones are one of the most common distractions for drivers.” They cite the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute’s 2010 study, which found that drivers were 23 times more likely to be involved in a collision or close call if they were text messaging on their cell phones.

This isn’t to say that smart phones are evil or anything (how could they be, with all those Instagram photos of cute animals!), but rather that it’s important to know when the proper place and time is to look at your screen. There is always something going on around us to which attention ought to be paid.

Working smart and working safe requires that attention, for us to remain aware of any hazards in our environment, and that might include the phone in your hands.



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