Does safety take a back seat to completing job tasks? More than one-third of employees surveyed by the National Safety Council think it does. For the 2016 Employee Perception in Workplace Safety study, researchers gathered information from 2,000 workers in two dozen different industries, examining the relationship between job satisfaction, workers’ compliance with safety management policies, and accident frequency.
32 percent of respondents agreed with the statement, “Employees are afraid to report safety issues.” 30 percent agreed that “Employees are resistant to working safely.” While 71 percent stated that safety training is part of orientation procedures, 39 percent felt that management “does only the minimum required by law” when it comes to employee safety.
In certain industries, the percentage of workers who thought task completion was valued over safety was higher than in other fields or the overall average. These industries included:
- Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting (68 percent)
- Construction (58 percent)
- Manufacturing and industrial (45 percent)
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the U.S. Department of Labor is responsible for the health and safety of 130 million workers, employed at more than eight million worksites around the nation. In 2015, there were 4,836 workers killed on the job, with one in five worker deaths in the construction industry. Leading causes of private sector worker deaths in construction were:
- Being struck by an object
- Being caught in or between equipment