Skip to main content

Workers Keep Slipping Up On the Job

Do you know that South Korean workers are falling down on the job, literally?

The South Korean Labor Ministry reports that tripping has become one of the country's most common workplace accidents. One in five South Korean workers involved in workplace accidents last year had fallen down or tripped on the job, and 97 South Korean employees died as a result.

South Korean leaders are now trying to come up with a campaign to lower the number of tripping accidents in the workplace.

We Americans, meanwhile, are suffering our own fair share of slips, trips and falls: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that more than one million Americans slip, trip and fall each year, and 17,000 of them die from their injuries. A full 15% of U.S. workplace injuries are the direct result of slips and trips and comprise 12% to 15% of workers’ compensation expenditures, according to the CDC.

OSHA keeps track of employee slips, trips, and falls, and maintains a list of employer regulations. Employers who don’t make sure floor surfaces are in good working order could walk right into an injury claim.

One wonders just how many workplace slipping and tripping accidents are the direct result of technology use. It's hard to go anywhere anymore without seeing people texting while walking. I’ve seen technology-distracted people walk into street poles, vending carts and each other. It’s not a pretty sight. And who can forget the Fountain Lady? People are so transfixed by their gadgets that they don't look up, even when they're walking into traffic.

Now translate these scenarios to the typical work site, where texting employees might not see the "wet floor" sign because they're too busy fiddling with their smartphones and them BAM! Employee face, meet floor. Oops.

This isn't a new problem, of course, but it could get much worse as the "texting generation" enters the workforce. The average U.S. teen sends a finger-numbing 3,339 texts per month, and it's already leading to random accidents while walking.

Glimpse the future, employers.

It's difficult to calculate the direct relationship between technology and tripping -- no reliable data seem to be available -- but employers with smartphone-wielding employees might think about adding a "walking while texting" subsection to their "texting while driving" policies as a bit of extra due diligence.

At the very least, managers can broach the subject and then start walking the talk by setting a good example. Smart leaders won't let tomorrow's technology-distracted employees phone this one in.


Popular posts from this blog

Seven tips for dealing with a jealous coworker

Look at you, doing so well at work! We're so happy for you. Well, most of us are happy for you and refuse to spend the entire work day talking behind your back. Let's talk about how to handle our jealous co-workers!Like every other professional, you've no doubt experienced your share of failures and successes. Lately, however, things seem to be going your way at work. And how! Perhaps you've managed to ace an important project this quarter, been instrumental in landing a huge client, earned some well-deserved rewards for this and that, or -- egads! -- been given a slight promotion or additional work responsibilities (e.g., the work responsibilities you actually want).You're quietly chuffed, but somehow your co-workers seem none too pleased with this rapid turn of events. Oh no, what should you do now?It's a workplace tale older than the disjointed last season of Mad Men. The playing field in the department was even, cozy and overall very friendly -- until so-an…

Employees Blame Technology For Slowing Them Down At Work

Do you feel like you're always working, but never getting very much done? If so, you're not alone. Too much technology, and too much red tape, keep slowing us down at work. But technology, and more of it, is supposed to make our lives easier! Too much technology, however, does not compute for employees. A new SAP/Knowledge@Wharton survey of almost 700 corporate employees finds a full 60% of respondents blame technology "for inhibiting their ability to meet strategic goals." Gee, anyone who has ever used the self-checkout line at the grocery store can tell you that. However, 40% surveyed said that looking for ways to simplify the technology has been "a low priority" for their company. Too much paperwork is an on-going problem for the workplace, too. A new ServiceNow survey of nearly 1,000 managers finds that 90% are doing too much administrative work, no matter the size of the company. This paperwork includes filling out forms, writing status updates, …

Is Your Co-worker Always Late For Work?

You've started the workday, but where is your co-worker? Oh, she's running late again, just like yesterday. And the day before. And the day before that. Let's get an early start on solving her tardiness problem, shall we? Working with someone who is consistently late is one of the most annoying aspects of office life, and also one of the most common, unfortunately. It's a universal theme of the workplace that everyone will get to work on time (give or take a few minutes...) except for the employee who is egregiously late nearly every day. And the excuses can get pretty amazing. Employees became more punctual as the Great Recession lingered, at least according to surveys. Everyone, that is, except for your able-bodied but habitually-tardy co-worker. It's bad enough dealing with tardiness when you're a manager, but it can be even more frustrating when you're a rank-and-file peer without any magical "shape up or ship out" managerial powers. So you…