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Frontline Workers' Safety Concerns Not Being Addressed by Companies

Frontline Workers' Safety Concerns Not Being Addressed by Companies

Nov. 17, 2021
In a new study, 46% of frontline workers say they are never, rarely, or only sometimes listened to concerning safety issues.

Workers are talking, but it seems that management isn't listening as closely as it should. 

In a new survey from SafetyCulture, "Feedback from the Field,66% of American frontline workers said they are rarely, never, or only sometimes listened to by management on these important topics.

The study found that the majority of American, Australian, and British frontline workers (67%) say that they are never, rarely, or only sometimes listened to on topics that matter to them the most – operations (54%), safety (46%), and health/wellbeing (49%).

The research is comprised of the views from American, British and Australian “frontline workers” – defined as individuals who must “physically show up to their job” including the likes of hospitality, retail, manufacturing, and logistics workers.

When it comes to taking action, just over one in four American and Australian frontline workers (27% each) feel empowered to take action and solve an issue themselves. In the UK, just over one in five frontline workers feel empowered to tackle issues (22%).

Frontline workers fear job loss when reporting COVID-19 adherence issues

Job loss as a result of reporting a safety or quality issue to management, including adherence to COVID-19 protocols, is a real concern for many frontline workers. Almost half of Australian frontline workers (48%), more than a third of American frontline workers (36%), and more than one in five British frontline workers (22%) agreed this is a potential scenario.

Lack of action prevents frontline feedback

Fears aside, over one in three frontline workers (34%) agree their willingness to provide workplace feedback is impacted by a belief that “nothing will be done” once reported. More than one in four said they lacked confidence management would address safety issues they raise.

Bob Butler, global general manager of SafetyCulture, said, “While frontline workers have kept our nations running over the past 18 months, many don't feel that their voices are valued. It’s clear that these critical workers want a say in the operations and running of their workplace. Two-way communication between frontline workers and management is no longer a ‘nice to have, it is a business imperative.”

Training beats a competitive holiday allowance

As many organizations navigate The Great Resignation of 2021, SafetyCulture’s research also reveals that quality training is of key importance to frontline jobseekers when considering a new role. Seven in ten frontline workers (70%) describe training as either very important or a top priority ahead of a competitive holiday allowance (40%).

Feeling confident they have a valued voice was also important for frontline workers when considering new roles, according to 72% of Australian, 60% of American, and almost half of British (48%) frontline workers.

Darren Winterford, CEO of EdApp, a training platform, said, “It’s important to clarify that deskless workers aren’t after any old training. Summoning teams to a white-walled room to digest endless slides no longer cuts it. Mobile learning is quickly becoming the most accessible way to get training out to those in the field or working remotely. For training to be a successful retention and recruitment tool, it needs to be an experience learners will actually enjoy and be in sync with today’s digital habits.”

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