Interruptions and “distractions” are common in many workplaces. These distractions include emails or texts, phone calls, unplanned meetings, noise, multitasking, and losing focus. If not properly controlled, distractions can lead to a loss in productivity and quality of work, injuries, and a decline in worker morale.

Discussion Points:
• What distractions are you confronted with on a daily basis?
• Design and develop safety procedures and processes that address workplace distractions
• Employee training should minimize work-related distractions
• Losing focus while working can lead to accidents and injuries
• Follow safety procedures and guidelines to manage distractions

According to the American Institute of Stress, the average employee is interrupted 50 to 60 times per day, and about 80% of these interruptions are not important. These distractions affect the workers’ well-being and emotions leading to workplace stress, loss of concentration, and work-related injuries.

Employers should design and develop safety procedures and processes that address workplace distractions, schedule regularly planned safety meetings, assign job tasks according to workers’ experience and skill level, break down job tasks into manageable portions, include short breaks in the process to address potential hazards, keep work areas clean and orderly, encourage workers to be aware of their surroundings, address environmental distractions before they become an issue, and promote safety to reduce the risk of injury.

Employee job training should help minimize work-related distractions. Distractions while working can pose safety risks. While employees are encouraged to ask questions and communicate with co-workers, workers must understand they should not interrupt co-workers when they are performing job tasks. Before responding to a co-worker while engaged with a job task, shut down any equipment, tools, or processes. Losing focus while working with equipment can lead to accidents and injuries. Following safety procedures and guidelines should help in managing distractions, ensure workers are aware of the effects they have on job production and health, attitude, and wellness.

As always, stay safe out there!