Talking on a cell phone or sending text messages while on the clock is costly to the employer and potentially dangerous, says Chris Zoller, Ohio State University extension educator in Tuscarawas County.

A 2005 research study conducted by Hewlett-Packard and the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London “found excessive use of technology reduced workers’ intelligence. Those distracted by incoming e-mail and phone calls saw a 10-point fall in their IQ — more than twice that found in studies of the impact of smoking marijuana,” Zoller notes.

The job of milking cows is one that requires strict attention to detail. Forgetting to check for mastitis, dip teats or having milk from a treated cow enter the tank can cost the farm thousands of dollars. Other jobs like operating a skid loader, hauling wagons on roadways or driving a combine through a corn field are important jobs that can cause injury or death if the operator is talking or sending text messages.

The best way to handle the situation is to have a written employee handbook that specifically addresses this issue, Zoller suggests.