You’ve probably heard plenty about how distractions can lead to car accidents and mistakes on New York’s highways. Distractions are blamed for a high amount of wrecks year in and year out. It’s important for workers to know that distractions in the workplace can be just as dangerous.

For example, some workers like to wear headphones while they work, so they can listen to music or podcasts. Music can help workers avoid boredom and remain in a good mood at work.

However, listening to music also takes a worker’s mind off of the task at hand, and it makes it harder — or impossible — for the worker to hear what’s going on around him or her. This could lead to accidents while using heavy machinery, driving forklifts and doing other such tasks. For example, a worker with music playing may not hear other workers behind the forklift, back up without looking and strike those workers.

Other mental distractions can have the same impact, as workers’ minds aren’t fully on the job. Experts warn that workers are distracted by daydreaming about what they’ll do after work, thinking about fights and arguments they’re having at home or thinking about upcoming conversations with co-workers. When a worker’s mind wanders, others can be hurt.

While it’s best to limit mental distractions in the workplace, they’re going to happen. Even with an emphasis on workplace safety, accidents occur every year. Workers who are hurt need to know their rights to compensation and what they can do to help make ends meet when they can’t remain on the job.

Source: Safety Services Company, “5 Distractions that Cause Workplace Hazards,” George Davis, accessed Feb. 10, 2017