The Problem of Distracted Walking

Distracted walking can be very dangerous.

Whether you’re using your cell phone or reading a document off the printer, you can miss hazards such as surface and elevation changes. These are very common contributing factors to injuries and near-misses for employees.

What Employers Can Do

In the spirit of keeping your coworkers safe, please intervene. It can be as simple as saying, “Please be careful!” It’s a helpful way to show you care about your coworker’s safety. Also, don’t forget to set a good example by refraining from distracted walking yourself.

Safety Tips

How to prevent distracted walking:

  • Never walk while texting or talking on the phone
  • Never cross the street while using an electronic device
  • Do not walk with headphones in your ears

How to avoid slips, trips and falls:

  • Walking is working, so avoid walking distracted and stay focused on your surroundings
  • Apply the “be here now” concept when walking to recognize and avoid distractions
  • Wear shoes that are slip-resistant and that provide support to the ankle
  • Don’t carry too much – you need your arms to maintain balance and stability
  • Take your time and don’t rush – we can wait an extra minute for your safety

Reason for Concern

Due in part to distracted walking, distracted cycling and distracted driving, the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office and the Governors Highway Safety Association report:


Out of 50 states and the District of Columbia, GHSA ranked Oklahoma 12th in pedestrian fatalities by state per 100,000 population in 2016. New Mexico was No. 1 with a rate of 3.45. Oklahoma, with a rate of 2.32, was listed right behind California (2.43).

In 2016, Oklahoma Highway Safety Office data indicates:

  • 806 pedestrians were involved in crashes
  • More than half of pedestrian crashes (493) were non-intersection related
  • The majority of crashes involving pedestrians occurred between the hours of 3-9 p.m.


  • An estimated 5,984 pedestrian fatalities occurred in 2017, according to GHSA
  • GHSA data indicates 82% of pedestrian fatalities occur outside of intersections
  • 2016 vs. 2017: GHSA projects pedestrian fatalities to be essentially unchanged
  • What about cities? GHSA examined FARS data and concluded pedestrian fatalities increased in 4 of the 10 U.S. cities with the largest populations during 2015 — New York (126 to 131), Chicago (35 to 46), Houston (60 to 62) and Dallas (41 to 56)