Employees believe employers put productivity over safety

Many employees, especially those in high-risk jobs such as construction believe their employers value productivity over safety, according to a new survey released by the National Safety Council (NSC). While employees acknowledge that safety is a priority at their workplace and proper training is provided, the pressure to complete tasks often trumps safety in their view. The figures are as high as 60% in construction and 52% in agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting. Among all respondents it is 33%.

Other key findings include:

  • 62 percent of construction workers, as well as workers in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, said management does only the minimum required by law to protect workers.
  • 61 percent of employees in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting said workers resist working safely.
  • 49 percent of temporary and contract workers, and 41 percent of workers in health care, reported being afraid to report safety issues.
  • 70 percent of employees reported that safety training is a component of their job orientation and said their workplace promotes employee health and well-being.

Takeaway: Employees are getting mixed messages from employers. On the one hand, safety is a priority and on the other, productivity is more important. The relationship need not be contentious; safe work environments can lead to higher productivity, quality work, and lower turnover. While companies are taking safety training seriously and are OSHA compliant, many have failed to establish a culture that creates a safe work environment, maximizes productivity and reduces the cost of lost time. Identifying why there is a disconnect and at what level of management is key. See Turn your safety culture into a profit center for tips on establishing an effective behavior-based safety program.


Fewer than 50% of workers believe employers support healthy lifestyles – senior leadership key

According to a new survey, Work and Well-Being by the American Psychological Association (APA) less than half of working Americans (44 percent) say the climate in their organization supports employee well-being, and 1 in 3 reports being chronically stressed on the job. The survey offers a solution: senior leadership support. Nearly three-fourths (73 percent) of employees with senior managers who show support through involvement and commitment to well-being initiatives said their organization helps employees develop a healthy lifestyle, compared with just 11 percent who work in an organization without that leadership support.

Strong links between senior leadership and employee motivation, job satisfaction, positive relationships with supervisors and co-workers, and lower turnover were also found. Yet, lack of support may be one reason wellness participation is still fairly low among employees. Despite the prevalence of workplace wellness efforts, only one-third of American workers say they regularly participate in the health-promotion programs provided by their employer.

Takeaway: Many employers recognize the value of wellness initiatives, but too often the efforts are singular, standalone programs that are not integrated into the culture of the organization. Having leadership that encourages employee involvement and interchange of ideas is critical for success. Other important components include “involving employees in the development of workplace programs, using evidence-based practices that are grounded in good science, tailoring the efforts to fit the unique needs of employees, communicating effectively, and measuring your results, so you can fine-tune the program over time.”

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