It is almost like they have become an extension of our own bodies. It seems like, every time we have a couple of free minutes, we are on our cell phones. Not only does this growing trend have effects on things like our attention span and sleep patterns, but many companies are noticing that it is affecting employee’s focus at work and overall productivity. And, for those who work in the construction industry, the effects can be far more damaging.

Workers Cannot Hear Directions
First off, there is a difference between an employee keeping their phone nearby so that they can be reached in the event of a family emergency and an employee who has music blaring in their ears all day. When a worker is not listening, it makes it impossible for them to effectively follow directions or even be aware of their surroundings. This is not only important during the initial set of instructions at the beginning of the day, but also so they can be alerted if something comes up or changes. Your team’s attention needs to be focused on the project at all times.

There Is an Elevated Risk
Especially on a construction site, a worker not paying attention can have far-reaching risks. They are more likely to cause damage to the site or equipment, or to extend the project’s timeline as a result of inefficiency and incur additional costs. Of course, there is also the possibility that their inattention could also cause bodily harm to themselves or a team member.

When your employees carry around a phone all day, they also open up the possibility of another type of liability: photography. Depending on the project, images of the site might be prohibited. If every member of your crew has a camera in their pocket, there is always a risk that someone will forget or make a mistake and upload an image.

Set Rules that Are Enforced
As of now, there are no federal guidelines in place that either restrict or prohibit headphone usage on a construction site. This means it must come down to the manager’s discretion. You may decide to issue a company-wide policy that either limits headphone usage to certain times or projects, or you may decide that it is just better to disallow them entirely.

Whatever you decide is right for your company and projects, you need to make sure that this rule is effectively communicated to your full team (including your reasoning) and that your on-site managers are fairly and evenly enforcing the decision.


Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash