Problems With Cellphone Use in Manufacturing Plants

By Chris Joseph

Cellphone use can hinder the manufacturing process.
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As people have come to depend on their mobile communication devices, cellphones have become a ubiquitous sight in modern society. However, cellphone use and the workplace don't always mix. In particular, using mobile phones in a manufacturing setting can lead to a variety of problems, and can even be dangerous.

Reduced Productivity

Properly managed cellphone use can assist manufacturing productivity efforts, as workers and supervisors can ask questions or provide direction from their location on the floor without the need for face-to-face interaction. However, as manufacturing plants often must adhere to strict production schedules to meet customer demands, inappropriate use can hinder productivity. Workers who are permitted to use their cellphones on the production floor may spend too much time talking and texting about personal issues instead of performing their job duties.

Safety Issues

By their very nature, manufacturing plants feature an abundance of potential safety hazards. The use of cellphones on the manufacturing floor can pose additional safety issues. Workers talking on their phones may become distracted and be unaware of the movement of forklifts or other vehicles in their area and face the risk of being struck. Employees who work with or around heavy industrial equipment also may be distracted while talking on the phone, leading to possible injury.

Poor Reception

Even in manufacturing situations where cellphones may be used safely and in a manner that doesn't negatively impact production, poor signal reception could make cellphone communication problematic. Manufacturing plants are often large, cavernous facilities filled with obstacles that might impede reception. If a call comes from outside the building to a worker on the inside, the signal may also have difficulty penetrating the facility's walls, causing it to dissipate before reaching the recipient.

Equipment Interference

Technological advances have led to the use of more sophisticated electronic or computer-based equipment and machinery in industrial locations, which have helped to improve productivity. Depending on the type and sensitivity of the equipment used, cellphone transmissions could interfere with its ability to function effectively. In particular, electronic equipment that relies on radio signals to function may require operation on frequencies that are incompatible with cellphone transmission frequencies.