58 Percent of Construction Workers Say Safety Takes a Backseat to Productivity

58 Percent of Construction Workers Say Safety Takes a Backseat to Productivity

By comparison, 36 percent of workers in 14 industries surveyed by the National Safety Council feel their employers prioritize production.

A National Safety Council survey found 58 percent of Americans working in construction – the industry that sees the most workplace fatalities each year – feel that safety takes a backseat to productivity and completing job tasks. What’s more, 51 percent say management does only the minimum required by law to keep employees safe, and 47 percent say employees are afraid to report safety issues.

By contrast, 36 percent of the 2,000 full-time and part-time employees in the 14 industries surveyed by NSC feel their employers prioritize productivity over safety.

“Sadly the results of our survey indicate that many workers still worry about whether they will make it home safely tonight,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “We call on all employers to renew their commitment to keep everyone safe, on every job, each and every day.”   

A total of 4,836 people died in workplace incidents in 2015, and 937 of those killed were construction workers. Falls are the second leading cause of death in the workplace, and more than half of fall-related deaths each year occur in the construction industry.

Gauging Americans’ perceptions toward their safety at work may help provide further insight into workplace deaths. Other key findings from workers across all industries include: 

  • 32 percent feel management ignores an employee’s safety performance when determining promotions.
  • 62 percent say everyone is involved in solving job safety issues.
  • 63 percent of employees feel they work in areas or at stations that are ergonomically correct.
  • 48 percent of employees believe safety meetings are held less often than they should be.
  • 47 percent believe performance standards are higher for job tasks than for safety. This percentage is higher among construction industry workers, where 67 percent feel this way. 
  • 33 percent of employees working in transportation and warehousing do not agree that management has a written policy that expresses their attitude about employee safety.

The survey is based on the council’s Employee Perception Surveys. Full survey results and methodology are available here.  

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