The National Safety Council, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to eliminate preventable deaths and to promote health and safety, released the results of its Employee Perceptions of Workplace Study earlier this year. The study’s objective was to understand perceptions of occupational and workplace safety among the U.S. labor force. And the results were not surprising for those of us who represent claimants in Virginia workers compensation cases and who have observed how employers often treat workplace safety.
Researchers interviewed 2,000 workers in February 2017. To qualify for an interview, a worker needed to:
- be at least 18 years of age
- live in the US
- be employed either full time or part time outside the home (83% of the respondents worked full-time)
- work for an employer with at least 30 or more employees
Nearly 99% of the respondents completed at least high school or a technical or trade school. They work in a variety of workplaces: 34% in an office setting; 10% in a retail store; 10% in a manufacturing or industrial facility; 9% in a school or educational institution; 8% in a healthcare facility; 4% in a construction zone; 5% in a warehouse; and 1% in work vehicles (long haul truckers, delivery drivers, etc).
Results from the Study
Many of my clients are construction workers and nurses in the healthcare industry. Below are some of the highlights for workers in these industries. Check them out to see if your job experiences are similar to those of your colleagues.
Of respondents in the construction industry:
- 51% think that management does only the minimum required by law to keep employees safe
- 58% think that safety takes a back seat to completing job tasks at their place of employment
- 47% are afraid to report safety issues to their employer
- 53% think that management ignores a person’s safety performance when determining promotions
Of respondents in the healthcare industry:
- 30% think that management does only the minimum required by law for employee safety
- 25% think that safety takes a back seat to completing job tasks at work
- 24% are afraid to report safety issues to their employer
Here are some more interesting statistics from the study for workers across all industries:
- 14% of respondents have experienced an argument that turned into a physical altercation in the past year
- 12% of respondents have suffered an ergonomic-related injury in the past year
- 29% of respondents work for an employer that does not hold safety meetings
- 30% of respondents work for an employer that does not have a safety committee
My Take-Away from the Study
Each year thousands of people die in workplace accidents, with a high percentage of those killed being construction workers. These numbers show that even with technological advances, there are many people who die in work accidents that are preventable. And thousands more who worry about whether they will make it home safe every day.
Employers need to pay more attention to workplace safety and make it the #1 priority. It’s important for businesses to create an environment where employees feel comfortable reporting safety issues and do not have to worry that they will lose their job or miss out on a promotion because they raise a safety concern or complete tasks at a slower pace so that they remain safe. Employers may find that by creating a safer work environment the number of workers compensation claims filed may decrease. That would be a win-win for both employers and employees.
If you or a loved one has been hurt on the job, call, text, or email Corey Pollard for a free consultation. We represent injured workers in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Richmond, Fairfax, Prince William County, Newport News, Charlottesville, Roanoke, and Fredericksburg. And we want to help you get the wage loss benefits and lump sum workman’s comp settlement you deserve.
If your work injury is so severe that you’re unable to return to your pre-injury employment, our SSD lawyer will help you get approved for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits also. All you have to do is contact us.