Team Talk: Distracted Walking

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ABOUT TEAM TALK

Team Talks are intended to provide ready-to-use guidance for facilitated safety discussions on key employee safety topics. Whether you use this copy as an exact script, or as a set of talking points for creating your own talk, is up to you. We hope it provides a useful starting point for discussion. Click the download button above to download a designed PDF with space for notes.


We all know that texting and driving is a bad idea. Texting and walking, however, can have equally dire consequences. In a recent study, 78 percent of Americans said distracted walking is a serious issue. Here are some simple ways that you can stay safe while walking on the job:

Don’t Multi-Task

You want all of your senses available to you when walking and that means avoiding distractions of any kind. Wearing headphones can block important noises and sounds and reading books or notes can distract your eyes from everything around you, potentially missing important information like directional signage or potential safety hazards. Similarly, when you are walking with another person, keep your eyes on where you are going, not on the face of the person.

Stop to Make a Call or Text

Walking, like driving, requires that you are watching where you are going. Even The National Safety Council has officially added distracted walking to its annual report of unintentional deaths and injuries. So if you need to make a call, or send or read a text, stop and do so in a safe place. You’ll be better placed to focus on that call too.

Maintain Clear Sight Lines

This might sound obvious, but you’re less likely to bump into things if you can actually see where you are going. So don’t carry things that obscure your vision of where you are putting your feet. You also need to see to avoid slip/trip/fall hazards like irregular or wet surfaces. If you have to walk on potentially slippery surfaces, keep at least one hand free of obstacles and out of your pockets so you can brace yourself if you fall.

Walking in the Dark

If you are walking at night, avoid poorly lighted areas, and increase your visibility to others by carrying a flashlight and wearing reflective clothing. It can be tempting to hurry or run, especially if it is raining and you have no umbrella, but this can be especially dangerous since the surface is wet and the rain could obscure the chance for others to see you. No matter the weather, slow down and don’t hurry or run.

We know this all seems like common sense, but think about how many times you have been caught in rain and went running across a parking lot, or have been walking and looking down at your phone only to look up and realize you are about to walk into a pole or another person. We’ve all done it. And we all know we probably shouldn’t. So let’s slow down and enjoy the view.


True or False?

Let’s take a quick true or false quiz on watching where you walk.

When walking, keep at least one hand free of obstacles and out of your pockets.
TRUE – To avoid slip/trip/fall hazards like irregular or wet surfaces, keep at least one hand free of obstacles and out of your pockets.

You can read while walking if you look up every once in awhile.
FALSE – You want all of your senses available to you when walking. Do not read while walking.

When you are walking with another person, it’s rude to keep your eyes on where you are going. You should look at their face when talking.
FALSE – When you are walking with another person, keep your eyes on where you are going, not on the face of the person.

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