The National Safety Council conducted an employee perception survey that found 58% of Americans working in construction (the industry that sees the most workplace fatalities each year) feel that safety takes a backseat to productivity and completing job tasks. Further, 51% say management does only the minimum required by law to keep employees safe, and 47% say employees are afraid to report safety issues.
By contrast, 36% of the 2,000 full-time and part-time employees in the 14 industries surveyed by NSC feel their employers prioritize productivity over safety.
“Sadly the results of our survey indicate that many workers still worry about whether they will make it home safely tonight,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “We call on all employers to renew their commitment to keep everyone safe, on every job, each and every day.”
A total of 4,836 people died in workplace incidents in 2015, and 937 of those killed were construction workers. Falls are the second leading cause of death in the workplace, and more than half of fall-related deaths each year occur in the construction industry. Transportation incidents now account for 41% of work-related fatalities and possibly 478,000 workplace injuries may involve fatigue or sleep problems.
Other key findings from workers perception across all industries include:
- 32% feel management ignores an employee’s safety performance when determining promotions.
- 62% say everyone is involved in solving job safety issues.
- 63% of employees feel they work in areas or at stations that are ergonomically correct.
- 48% of employees believe safety meetings are held less often than they should be.
- 47% believe performance standards are higher for job tasks than for safety. This percentage is higher among construction industry workers, where 67% feel this way.
- 33% of employees working in transportation and warehousing do not agree that management has a written policy that expresses their attitude about employee safety.