Distracted Walking Injuries
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While distracted driving is a well known issue that results in accidents, distracted walking is still a relatively new issue. Just as texting and driving results in distracted driving, texting and walking is a major cause of distracted walking injuries at work, on the streets, and even at home. These injuries are caused by running into concrete objects as the individual walks completely engrossed in their cell phone.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported about 5,000 individuals dying and around 76,000 individuals sustaining injuries due to distracted walking while on the streets. Aside from injuries and fatalities on the streets, walking in injuries can occur anywhere when an individual runs into objects like chairs, tables, windows, cabinets, doors, walls at work or at home. The severity of injuries and possibilities of fatalities increases in a workplace with big machines and equipment.
Distracted walking due to cell phone usage is one of the most common causes of injuries aside from sports injuries. With the emergence and popularity of cell phones, the injuries caused due to walking into poles, doors, or other objects have drastically increased as well.
Thousands of such phone-induced walking injuries occur each year. While someone bumping into a wall or other object might seem or look funny, it can also result in severe injuries or fatalities. It is essential for individuals to be mindful when they walk, especially if they are out on the streets or are at a workplace filled with hazardous machinery. Moreover, employers should also set some guidelines and rules for the usage of cell phones at work.
Common Distracted Walking Injuries
Walking around distracted, texting or using your phone, reading documents or preoccupied in deep thoughts, is like walking around with blindfolds on. It can be difficult to be aware and observant of your surroundings, increasing your chances of experiencing walking in injuries.
When an individual is engrossed in their phone, tablet or other piece of technology, the peripheral vision drastically drops. The chances of injuries also increase when they have ear buds or headphones on as, not just the vision but hearing is also compromised.
Following are some of the most common distracted walking injuries that are caused due to distracted walking:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Brain injuries
- Cuts and abrasions
- Causing harm to others
- Falling on debris or in a pothole
- Car accidents
- Machine entanglement
There can be several other distracted walking injuries, depending on the situation and your location.
Distracted Walking Injuries at Home
Following are the different ways you can sustain distracted walking injuries at home:
- Hitting your foot on the wall, bed stand, or other concrete object
- Slipping on the floor that has recently been mopped
- Hitting your hand or other part of your body to an open drawer
- Tripping over furniture, objects lying around or even your pet
- Injuring an family member by walking into them or opening the door into them
There can be other ways you can get injured at home due to distracted walking.
Distracted Walking Injuries at Work
Distracted walking at work can result in a number of consequences for you as well other employees. Following are some of the many ways you can sustain distracted walking injuries at work:
- Operating machinery or equipment while texting
- Walking into a machinery or equipment that is running
- Falling into a machine
- Getting your clothes or limbs entangled in a running machine
- Hitting a shelve due to which objects fall on you or others
There are numerous other ways you can get injured or cause injuries to others at your workplace.
Preventing Distracted Walking Injuries
Lack of focus, distracted walking, and being unaware of your surroundings can result in injuries that might prove fatal in dangerous locations. The most integral thing to do is to be aware of your surroundings. Here are some of the ways these injuries can be prevented:
- Never text while walking, especially when on streets or around machinery at work
- If there is an urgent text or call to be made, ensure you stop at a save spot
- Ensure all cabinets and drawers are tightly closed
- Always open one drawer or cabinet at a time
- Avoid stacking heavy objects on top of each other. Keep them lined up on the floor
- Be extra vigilant around doorways and corners to avoid running into someone
- Always remove objects like toys from the floor
- Ensure the furniture is arranged so walkways and corners are clear
- Never use your phone when crossing a street, even if the road is clear
- Be attentive at a traffic signal
- If sending a text or email is important, use voice recognition typing if you are unable to stop
- If reading a text or email is important, use an app or software that reads aloud the content
It is extremely important to be mindfully present while you walk as this could help in preventing harm to others and to yourself.
What Can Employers Do?
Distracted walking can affect your productivity at work and can increase the possibility of hazards. Nowadays, it is normal to see employees walking around the office with their eyes fixed on their phones or while urgently speaking on phone during business hours. Distracted walking increases the chances of distracted walking injuries and can not only physically harm one or more employees but might even lead to a lawsuit.
It is highly recommended for employers to form a formal policy that highlights the rules and guidelines of phone usage. Prohibit the usage of phone, reading a document, sending email via tablets or other activities while walking around, especially when in an area with heavy machinery running.
Set these rules and other guidelines as per your requirements in order to enhance workplace safety and ensure that all employees, no matter what their designation is, follow those rules and guidelines.
If you have suffered a walking in injuries and require assistance of a personal injury lawyer or if you have sustained injuries due to distracted walking of others, then contact Shiner Law Group and get a free accident case evaluation of your case.