bose-headphonesBoeing employees have a new rule to follow while working: No more headphones.

New safety measures implemented later this month will ban the use of headphones for Boeing employees working in operations, production and transportation areas, according to

That’s not all, though. Employees in those areas must now answer work-related phone calls while standing in one place or use a hands-free method to take a call. If it’s a non-work related call, then Boeing employees must go to a designated area to answer, unless it’s an emergency.

boeing11A Boeing spokesperson told MyNorthwest that the rules are all about safety in the workplace and referenced “situational awareness.”

This is certainly an interesting issue. During my first job working at a small grocery market, I would occasionally listen to music while washing dishes or skewering raw meat and vegetables — the bosses didn’t mind, and it actually helped me stay focused. But when I rang up the cashier or greeted customers, my managers didn’t like seeing those white iPod earbuds. 

What are your thoughts? Should employers allow headphones in the workplace?

Update, 6:45 p.m.: We reached out to Boeing about the new rules, and here’s the statement the company gave us:

“Boeing cares about the safety and well-being of its employees and is committed to a workplace where every person who works at or visits Boeing property leaves each day as healthy as when they arrived.

To continue being proactive in preventing injuries and incidents, Boeing is implementing new, company-wide standards for safety glasses, high-visibility/reflective wear and the use of electronic devices, including headphones. As of the middle of April, listening to music using ear buds or headphones is not allowed when walking or working in operations, production and transportation areas. This does not affect radios.

These standards strengthen workplace safety practices, promote situational awareness of risk, and reflect industry best practices.

The new standards apply to all individuals on Boeing property including visitors, customers, contractors, suppliers and others, and all Boeing employees performing work off Boeing property, unless superseded by local policy.”

Update, 8:05 p.m.: Boeing spokeswoman Katie Zemtseff told us that the smartphone rules also apply if someone is driving or biking in Boeing parking lots. The rules aren’t just for calls, either — those that are texting must also stand in place while in an operations, environment or transportation area

“The changes improve safety at Boeing and drive consistency throughout the company,” Zemtseff said.

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  • Timothy Ellis

    There are a lot more serious hazards to life and limb on a factory floor than there are in a kitchen. These are completely reasonable requirements, and I’m surprised they didn’t already have such rules.

  • Eric Peters

    Seems semi-legit, they’re dealing with steel instead of fruit :)

  • balls187

    “During my first job working at a small grocery market, I would occasionally listen to music while washing dishes or skewering raw meat and vegetables — the bosses didn’t mind, and it actually helped me stay focused.”

    Oh yeah, because you know, working at a mom & pop grocery store requires the exact same level of concentration as building airframes does.

  • Err Amerika

    Yep, bust their unions and control their personal behavior at all times at work.

    The geniuses posting on this website will only be happy when the employees are literally wearing balls and chains.

    The geniuses posting on this website would also be the first to cry for their mommies if and when it happens to them.

    Disgusting, really.

  • Rhonda Burke

    When you go to work for Boeing, you are essentially giving them your life. You act a certain way, dress a certain way, whatever they say. And you cannot smoke, drink, or enjoy anything while you work there. So, think about that before you sign up.

    • balls187

      I left Boeing because they had strict rules against making pornographic films in their airplanes.

      Total fascists, I tell you.

      • Rhonda Burke

        And then there are people like you. Total Jerks from the word go.

        • balls187

          People like me…

          Total jerk. Yes.

          So grossly incompetent that I can’t fathom why a Fortune 50 multinational corporation with Billions of dollars in contracts on the line with various Governments, Military, and Private Enterprises would have strict procedures about workplace conduct for their employees. No.

          • Slaggggg

            Did your mom ever get the flowers you ordered from Malaysia?

          • Rhonda Burke

            It’s not just the workplace, it’s personal as well. If you really worked there which I doubt you would know. and why after 100 plus years are they all of a sudden worried about it?

          • balls187


          • Rhonda Burke

            O.k. first of all there are no letters involved in employee number, and secondly you certainly didn’t last long, that is a pretty new number. explains a lot.

            Rhonda Burke

          • balls187

            Respectfully, you are an idiot.

            In STL we used “b” in front of our BEMS-ID logins to designate that our ID originated from Boeing, and not McDonald Douglas.

            You say I “didn’t last long” as if that’s an insult. I was recruited out of college and decided after 2 years I wanted to move back to the PacNW.

            But I guess if it makes you feel any better, you can continue to think that you are the superior Boeing Employee.

      • Rhonda is too serious

        Those bastards! Sounds like a ACLU suit to me!

  • Slaggggg

    It seems the #1 and #2 job skills of the unionized Boeing work force is bitching about stuff and not being able to get over themselves.

    • Rhonda Burke

      Yep. Obviously you have never been a union worker. I get it. If you are used to getting by on minimum wage, you don’t have any rules.

      • Slaggggg

        A great example of how unions have lost their way can be found just outside the IAM District 751 headquarters in Everett. There is a very prominent statue in front of the building. This statue is not of a machinist building a great airplane, not of people making something of great value: but instead it is of a angry family on strike, fists and signs held high in the air.
        This is what the union features at their symbol in a statue outside their headquarters: conflict with the company.
        The union is not about building great airplanes or doing great work – it’s about sticking it to the man.

        • Jimmy

          Your incompetence with regard to such things is shocking. The statue symbolizes working people exercising their 1st amendment rights. But I guess any constitutional rights afforded to human citizens is secondary to those same rights afforded to corporate citizens.

        • Jason

          Obviously you have absolutely NO clue what the purpose of a WORKER’S Union is.

  • BitterBird

    And before you know it, they will get rid of employees being able to have radios playing as well because some twit you work with is anti-social and hates when others are happy, and only cares of themselves. – true story.

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