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Productivity vs. Safety

Aug 2, 2016 | Workers' Compensation

When a company puts safety first and treats the prevention of workplace hazards as a priority, this can result in much safer worksites. A culture of safety is created, which encourages workers to take precautions to stay safe and which makes employees feel comfortable reporting hazards.  Unfortunately, this is not the type of worksite which most people experience. In fact, a recent survey found many workers think their employers aren’t very concerned with safety at all.

Companies can benefit from prioritizing workplace safety, as a culture of safety means reduced turnover, less missed time from work, and a reduced risk of workplace injuries which could result in workers’ comp claims. Employees also benefit from a safer worksite and need to know what their rights are in the event a company isn’t creating a safe work environment or in the event an injury happens. A New York workers’ compensation law firm can provide help if an injury or death happens on-the-job.

Employers Are Not Prioritizing Workplace Safety

Safety News Alert reported on the recent survey in which workers revealed they don’t think their employers care as much as they should about safety. The study was performed by National Safety Council (NSC) and it involved 2,000 employees nationwide. The employees were asked questions about how they felt about a variety of workplace safety issues.

Unfortunately, the survey revealed that 33 percent of employees think their companies focus on production and care more about production than they do about a safe worksite.  In the highest risk industries with the most workplace injuries and deaths, the data was even more troubling.

In agriculture, fishing and forestry, which repeatedly has among the highest death rates for workers, 52 percent of surveyed workers thought their employers were more focused on production than safety. In construction, another industry which routinely has very high death rates, 60 percent of construction workers said production was treated with a higher priority than safety in the workplace.

In addition to the data showing employers don’t care about safety, there were also other issues as well. For example, 62 percent of construction workers think their employers do just the bare minimum when it comes to making a worksite safe. In addition, 41 percent of workers in healthcare and 49 percent of contract workers said they were frightened to report safety issues. If safety issues cannot be reported, they cannot be corrected and more injuries are likely to happen on job-sites.

The results of the study come on the heels of a year when workplace deaths reached the highest level since 2008. In 2014, there were more than 4,800 workers killed in a variety of workplace accidents, which is higher than the death toll in recent years.  Clearly, employers need to do better.

Employers should facilitate an environment where it is clear that safety is a major focus, so employees can feel comfortable reporting problems and so everyone will take safety seriously. Whenever a problem arises, employees also need to know their rights. Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff can represent workers and assist them in getting workplace injury benefits. Call today for help.