Hang out around the water cooler at any office long enough and you will undoubtedly hear someone complain about their lack of pay, vacation time or sick days. But while those issues might be discussed more often, they are not the most important labor issue to employees. It turns out that-overwhelmingly-safety is the chief concern of employees, with 85% ranking it as their top concern.
Based on numerous surveys and polls by the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center, more workers feel that safety is "very important," than family and maternity leave (cited by 78%), minimum wage (70%), paid sick days (69%), overtime pay (69%), maximum hour limits (46%) and the right to join a union (43%). If employees put an emphasis on safety, it would probably be wise for employers to as well. And on the whole, people do feel that their workplaces are safe. (Up to 90% believe that management prioritizes safety.)
Still, improvements can be made and the report concludes that "the lack of serious attention to the problem of workplace safety is underscored by the stark shortcomings in the existing regulatory system. Under the present regulatory set-up, it is impossible to come close to enforcing even the current safety standards." It seems, then, that further improvement will have to come from the ground up instead of the top down.
Jared Wade is senior editor of Risk Management.Risk Management Magazine and Risk Management Monitor. Copyright 2013 Risk and Insurance Management Society, Inc. All rights reserved.