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Published On: Wed, Aug 5th, 2015

Industry Professionals Unaware of Health and Safety Functions in the Workplace

Recent surveys completed by the Antea Group have brought a troubling issue to light; there is seemingly a conflict between employee values and behaviors when it comes to safety.

Whilst the survey showed that around two thirds of employees surveyed valued a safe, secure work environment, more than half of the employees who carried out the survey stated that they would probably not intervene or speak up if they witnessed an unsafe act.

According to this new research, whilst most industry professionals and workers feel that it’s essential to be able to feel personally safe whilst at work, almost two thirds of participants were unaware of the health and safety regulations at their workplace. What impact does this have on employers and employees?

Disconnect

The research brought to light that there is a disconnect between how employees understand environment, health and safety (EHS) and how it impacts on work satisfaction levels. Only just over half (55%) of employees surveyed said that they would be comfortable reporting potentially unsafe or risky behavior to their managers or fellow colleagues, however the majority of employees surveyed (64%) said that if they were informed that they were doing something that was potentially unsafe, they would appreciate it. A result that was of particular concern to EHS officials was that half of the employees interviewed did not feel any obligation to report any unsafe or risky behavior, and around a third of the employees surveyed said that if told they were participating in dangerous behavior in the workplace, they would actually be offended.

 photo/ ClkerFreeVectorImages via Pixabay.com

photo/ ClkerFreeVectorImages via Pixabay.com

Limited Effectiveness

If most employees aren’t comfortable talking about safety in the workplace or are unwilling to help their fellow employees be safe whilst at work, the effectiveness of any safety rules guidelines and procedures will be limited. Critical procedures such as incident reporting, risk assessments and illness prevention programs will all be affected. Being unwilling to report others for unsafe behavior may cause many colleagues to refuse to or be dishonest when filling out an incident report form, for example – which could cause issues – e.g. Not ordering new fall protection equipment as management aren’t aware it’s needed.

Demographic Differences

The survey also found a number of differences between the different groups surveyed. For example, eighty four percent of women surveyed valued feeling safe at work, compared to just sixty nine percent of men. The survey also found that women and men both valued different safety procedures at work. For example, women found situations such as having a secure parking lot and having an emergency response plan in place of higher value than men did. There was also an age difference noted – whilst younger people (18-25) were found to value and expect more flexibility at work, their older colleagues (55+) preferred stability and consistency.

Would you report or speak to a colleague at work if you saw them doing something unsafe? How would you feel if a manager or colleague approached you at work and informed you that they’d seen you doing something risky, and were worried? We’d love to hear your opinions on this issue in the comments.

Guest Post: Keith Sullivan

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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