A recent survey* on workplace safety in Australia showed that 1 in 10 workers is afraid to report workplace safety issues because they fear losing their jobs. A shocking statistic in my books.
But the survey unveiled more evidence of severely lacking safety cultures. More than a third witnessed a co-worker being injured due to a lack of training. These incidents were often not reported because employees feared losing their jobs. 17 percent even admitted that colleagues had been fired after sustaining injuries in the workplace.
Almost 1 in 5 respondents had filed complaints about a safety issue in the workplace, but their employers never took preventative measures. A blatant disregard of safety if you ask me. But also huge a missed chance to empower your company.
While most countries have regulations that require employers to provide their workers with a safe workplace, we keep hearing about employers that don’t do so. This isn’t only the case in Australia, dangerous situations at workplaces are well known and documented all over the world. One of the most common examples, unfortunately, is workers who are set to work at height without any form of safety measures or fall protection (PPE) or training.
Most countries have strong labor laws in place that should protect employees not only from fall hazards, but also from adverse action should they raise safety concerns. It seems, however, that several companies need to own up to their responsibility to their workers.
Statistics about workplace injuries and deaths never fully capture the impact on the families of the workers; extended hospitalization, children growing up without a father or mother, grandparents that won’t see their grandchildren grow up and so on.
The sad thing is that most workplace incidents are preventable. But when safety hazards are ignored employees pay the price. Therefore we advocate strongly for positive safety cultures.
Many companies turn a blind eye to safety because they have to meet strict deadlines. However, injuries or fatalities cost a company production time, medical expenses and worker compensation. Investing in safety means preventing great pain on all fronts
Employees are a great and valuable asset. Therefore companies should strive for a zero incident record, and start by implementing safety programs. As good safety reflects on the company as a whole.
Weaving safety into your company’s procedures is a good way to demonstrate its importance. A positive safety culture keeps your employees in mind, addresses unsafe situations before they become accidents and asks for employee engagement and feedback. After all, at the end of the day we want our employees to go home safely.
Safety doesn’t cost, it pays
An often heard complaint about safety is that it is so expensive and costs aren’t earned back. Our opinion is that this is absolutely untrue. A positive safety culture with high employee involvement has proved to produce greater productivity, quality and profitability. Next to this argument employees are less likely to leave the company if a safety culture is in place. As an employer safety at work is one duty that should not be in question.
All in all investing in safety means investing in your company. And there is still much to learn when it comes to working at height safely. Even within our company we are sometimes confronted with surprising situations even though we performed an extensive risk analysis.
Want to know more about creating a positive safety culture? Read our blog with the 4 rules of a positive safety culture https://www.xsplatforms.com/tips-for-a-positive-safety-culture/ or download our safety poster right here.
*Source: Australian Associated Press
This blog is written by Geert Cox; CEO XSPlatforms