The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, classifies that construction industry as being one the most dangerous when it comes to fatality accidents in any given year. The stark reality is that approximately one in five worker deaths occur on construction sites each year.

There are four common types of accidents that make construction sites so dangerous. These are falls, struck by some object, electrocution, and stuck between something. One overarching theme associated with these four major types of construction site accidents, that account for most of the industry’s fatalities, is a distracted worker.

While a worker at a construction site can become distracted in any number of ways, listening to music on various types of devices plays a role in a startling number of construction site accidents annually. This proves to be the case even when the use of earbuds or headphones for the purposes of listening to music is banned from a job site.

A Safe Construction Site Demands Attentive Workers

The key to an overall safe construction site is attentive workers. Workers need to be tuned into what is going on around them at all time. This includes not only keeping eyes open for what is going on, but also listening and paying attention to smells and odors to ensure that everything is safe, sound, and operating appropriately at a construction site.

The stark reality is that workers that use earbuds or headphones to listen to music while working are by definition at least somewhat distracted. Not only are they listening to music, earbuds and headphones, by definition, block out the routine and even extraordinary sounds associated with a construction worksite.

In the final analysis, it is not necessarily the fact that workers are listening to music per se that is the problem, although that alone can be distracting. Rather, it is an issue with the way music is being delivered to a worker, via ambient sound concealing earbuds and headphones.

Is Music Ever Appropriate at a Construction Site?

The simple answer to the question of whether or not music is appropriate at a construction site is maybe. There can be some limited situations in which music can be allowed at a job site in a limited, regulated fashion. Before delving into the scenario in which music can be utilized or played at a construction job site, you need to understand one important fact.

Time and again when a construction job site permits the regulated, controlled broadcast of music at a project location, the rules and regulations regarding its use and presentation seem to slide away in very short speed. In other words, once the door opens to music at a job site, reasonable rules regarding its use and presentation start to be ignored within little time at all.

There is some research that certain types of background music can have a beneficial impact on workers at a construction job site. Indeed, background music has been demonstrated to workers of different types in an array of employment settings.

There is evidence to suggest that background music, including at a construction job site, can enhance productivity while reducing conflict between workers and lowering stress levels.

With that recognized, and within the bounds permitted by rules like those promulgated by OSHA, some construction sites have permitted some limited use of music broadcast about a location, at low levels. In addition, specific attention is paid to the type of music that is played around a construction site. In other words, there are certain types of music that are not permitted at a construction site, even when this type of broadcast is permitted.

Trying to select music that in fact has a positive impact on the workforce at a construction site can prove to be no easy endeavor. For example, if the management of a construction site wanted to broadcast music that inspires or even lessens stress, in the final analysis, that can prove to be a matter of individual taste. In other words, what is inspiring or calming to one worker may not have the same effect on another.

In the final analysis, whether a construction site management team permits any type of music at a job site requires a consideration of applicable rules and regulations. Moreover, it necessitates an analysis that involves a honest and thorough weighing and balancing of any benefits to be realized from music at a job site against the increase in potential safety risks and threats to the workers. In the end, safety must always win out.

Jessica Kane is a writer for SoundStage Direct, the number one online source for the best vinyl records and turntables.