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Task completion often valued over workplace safety: Study

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Over a third of the employees surveyed by the National Safety Council claimed that workplace safety is secondary to performing tasks, according to a report released by the Itasca, Illinois-based organization on Thursday. 

For the Employee Perceptions in Workplace Safety study, researchers interviewed 2,000 workers in February in two dozen industries working for firms with 30 or more employees to gauge their workplace’s adherence and attitudes about safety measures.

In total, 36 % of respondents strongly or somewhat agreed that “safety takes a back seat to completing job tasks.”

Broken out by industry, percentages of those who thought tasks were more important than safety were much higher: 68% in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting; 58% in construction; and 45 % in manufacturing or industrial facility.  

The report also found that 32% of respondents agreed that employees “are afraid to report safety issues,” and 30 % agreed that “employees are resistant to working safely.”

Of those surveyed, 39% agreed that management does only the “minimum required by law” when it comes to employee safety.

Meanwhile, 71% stated that safety training is part of orientation, and 68% of those surveyed agreed that employees are well-trained in emergency practices.