Workers need to feel as if safety is a substantial concern on their job sites. Not only does prioritizing safety encourage all workers to focus on their own efforts to maintain a safe environment, but it also gives staff confidence that their employer cares what happens to them. Unfortunately, far too many employees don't believe the companies they work for care enough about keeping them safe.
Companies should show their staff members that they are valuable contributors who don't deserve to be hurt on-the-job. Companies also need to work on fostering a culture of safety and prioritizing efforts to prevent injury.
Doing this makes good business sense, not only to keep up employee morale over the long term, but also to reduce the chances an employee will be hurt on-the-job and need to make a a workers' compensation claim.
Employers Should Not Prioritize Production Over Safety- But Most Employees Say They Do
To determine how employees view safety efforts at their work sites, National Safety Council (NSC) conducted a survey of 2,000 workers across the United States. Those who were interviewed came from all different job sectors. They were asked a series of questions and the data was compiled to get an overall picture of how safety is viewed. Safety News Alert reported on the results of the survey, which were troubling.
The data showed:
- 33 percent of workers think their employers value productivity more than safety.
- In sectors with consistently high rates of injury and death, there were significantly higher percentages of workers who thought productivity trumped safety in the eyes of their employer. For example, forestry, agriculture, hunting and fishing have extremely high rates of death compared with other sectors, and 52 percent of workers in these fields said employers don't prioritize safety. In the construction profession (another very dangerous profession), 60 percent of people responding to the survey said production was more important than safety.
- 49 percent of contract or temp workers were concerned reporting safety issues could result in problems, including the loss of a job.
- 62 percent of construction employees asserted they thought management did nothing more than try meet minimum safety standards, doing only what was required and nothing more to help keep people safe.
- 61 percent of workers in fishing, agriculture, forestry and hunting expressed concern about attitudes of resistance to work safety efforts among their co-workers.
Despite the fact so many employees indicate safety is not really being taken seriously or being treated as a top priority, 70 percent of the workers responding to the surveys said some type of safety training was part of the process when they were brought on.