AMCA Safety Week: Get phone smart

Published: 22 October 2018

Collectively, Australians check their phone 560 million times per day. That's 35 times per person.  Much of this use occurs in the workplace, where a lack of concentration can be dangerous.

Employers have a duty of care to take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of their employees, meaning they could be liable for prosecution if uncontrolled use of mobile phones on-site contributes to a workplace accident.

This year’s AMCA Safety Week Campaign focuses on mobile phone use and includes a range of practical tools and resources to help our members promote safe practice.

When considering your responsibilities, employers should ask:

  • Does our company have a policy on mobile phone and other electronic devices use?
  • Do we have a Tool Box talk that covers safe practice?  
  • Does our induction of new workers cover use of phones and other electronic devices – onsite, operating plant, driving motor vehicles?
  • Do we have designated safe areas to use mobile phones and other electronic devices?

As a starting point, employers and WHS managers should:

  • Distribute a written policy to all employees
  • Have employees read, understand and sign the policy
  • Enforce the policy across all employees

Specific areas that policies should cover include:

  • Prohibit social texting, playing games, social media browsing and talking on mobile phones while operating any kind of vehicle on site.
  • Prohibit use of mobile phones in areas where distractions present a hazard to employees.
  • Consider banning mobile phone gaming or viewing obscene materials on the site entirely.
  • Evaluate existing policies to ensure that there are no direct or indirect incentives that encourage the use of hand-held communication devices while in a hazardous area or operating a vehicle.
  • Consider issuing company devices with applications that can block the use of mobile phones while a vehicle is moving.
  • Prohibit recalled or dangerous mobile phones from being used on the site and inform employees of the associated fire hazards.

Visits our dedicated Safety Week website, www.getphonesmart.com.au , for more information.