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July 26, 2013
Study finds surge in 'distracted walking' incidents

Do your employees walk around your facility, or down the street, with their faces buried in their mobile phones? Even if they’re on company business, this is just not a good idea, according to Professor Jack Nusar of The Ohio State University. Keep reading to learn about the dangers of what’s being called distracted walking.

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Heads up, people! Walking while using a cell phone could send you to the emergency room. Nusar’s research revealed that more than 1,500 people were estimated to be treated in emergency rooms in 2010 for injuries related to using a cell phone while walking.

“If current trends continue, I wouldn’t be surprised if the number of injuries to pedestrians caused by cell phones doubles again between 2010 and 2015,” Nusar states. He believes the numbers could actually be quite a bit higher. If the pedestrian numbers are underreported, as is likely the case for drivers, there may have been about 2 million pedestrian injuries related to mobile phones in 2010, the year Nusar studied.

Watch the multitasking

While being able to multitask is usually considered a productivity booster, that’s not the case when one of the activities is using a mobile phone. “Stop walking when you’re going to take a cell phone call or text. Don’t do two things at once,” advised Nusar.

His study offered details about some of the accidents. In one, a 28-year-old man walked into a pole and lacerated his brow. Another man suffered a sprained elbow and spinal sprain when he was hit by a car while on the phone.

Hopefully your employees are getting the message about the hazards of distracted driving. But make sure you also discuss the hazards of distracted walking with them. Other tips for staying on your feet and avoiding falls:

  • Keep floors and stairs clean and clear of clutter.
  • Maintain good lighting both indoors and on outdoor walkways.
  • Secure electrical and phone cords out of traffic areas.
  • Clean up all spills immediately.
  • Never stand on a chair, table, or surface on wheels.
  • Arrange furniture and other items and materials to provide open pathways to walk through.
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