A significant percentage of American workers say their employer puts productivity ahead of safety, according to a new report from the National Safety Council.
The organization surveyed 2,000 workers nationwide and discovered 33 percent said productivity is more important than safety to their employer. Alarmingly, the percentage who said safety plays second fiddle at their company was greater among employees in high-risk industries; 60 percent of those working in construction and 52 percent of those employed in agriculture, fishing, forestry and hunting said production is more important than safety at their company.
The safety council said their results are particularly distressing because those two industries frequently rank first and second each year with regards to work-related deaths.
“While some of our findings were encouraging, others were a stark reminder of how far we still have to go to ensure safety is every employer’s priority,” National Safety Council president Deborah Hersman said in a press release.
The survey also found 49 percent of temporary and contract employees, as well as 41 percent of those in the healthcare industry reported being afraid to bring up safety concerns. Of the construction workers surveyed, 62 percent said their management does just the minimum legally required to keep employees safe and 61 percent of employees in the agriculture, fishing, forestry and hunting industries said there’s actually peer pressure against working safely.
If you think your employer doesn’t put safety ahead of productivity, the first thing you need to do is to make sure you’re following all safety rules and laws, such as wearing any required personal protective equipment. Not only will working safely protect you physically, it also protects you from liability.
If someone is hurt because you are an unsafe worker, you could find yourself the subject of legal action. Furthermore, if you hurt yourself through unsafe work, you could find you have limited options when it comes to seeking damages from your employer.
Simply put, staying in the good graces of management is significantly less important than your own personal health and safety.
Keep your area clean and organized
In addition to following all rules and regulations, you should also be proactive about keeping your area clean and organized. Slips, trips and falls are one of the more common on-the-job injuries, and you can prevent them by cleaning up spills, putting unused equipment away and removing any stray cords or other trip hazards.
After you have taken care of your personal responsibilities when it comes to safety, do a bit of research in company safety documentation or the OSHA website to find out if your concerns are legitimate. Then, approach your manager about your safety concerns.
If they do not have a receptive ear, you should go to human resources with any safety issues. If you find the entire company is infected with a culture of unsafe working, you may want to consider finding another job.
At NSC Technologies, we have years of experience helping professionals get out of an employment situation that they have serious concerns about. Please contact us right away if you are looking to leave an unsafe working environment.