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One-third of workers say employers prioritize productivity over safety: Survey


One-third (33 per cent) of American employees believe safety takes a back seat to productivity at their organizations — a percentage that is even higher among employees in high-risk industries, according to a survey by the National Safety Council.

Sixty per cent of respondents in the construction industry and 52 per cent of those working in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, felt safety was less of a priority than finishing tasks, found the survey of 2,000 workers. These findings are particularly alarming because those industries are first and second when it comes to the number of occupational deaths each year in the United States.

Six in 10 (62 per cent) construction workers and those in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, believe management does only the minimum required by law to keep employees safe, found the survey.

And 61 per cent of employees in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting industry say there is resistance to working safely among employees

“Every employee deserves a safe workplace,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “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 highest priority.”

Nearly one-half (49 per cent) of temporary and contract workers, and 41 percent of employees working in healthcare settings, said they were afraid to report safety issues.

Seventy per cent of employees said safety training is part of their orientation and that employee health and well-being is promoted at work.

The number of workplace deaths in 2014 was as high as it has been since 2008, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. More than 4,800 workers died from incidents such as car crashes, slips, trips and falls, contact with objects or equipment and exposure to harmful substances.

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