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How workplace culture affects safety

Regardless of the industry or environment, every workplace in Michigan has an internal culture. According to Occupational Health & Safety, this does not necessarily come directly from administration, but it does come from the way employees perceive the values of the company. Since these are often a direct result of the policies and procedures, though, management has a strong responsibility to create an environment that encourages safety.

Employees have noted that they receive much of their motivation for safety directly from their supervisors. An organization is more likely to report fewer workplace accidents if managers are willing to compromise productivity when it means paying close attention to safe practices. Employees who receive training in these and who see their supervisor display an interest in their individual safety also have a lower risk of an injury.

A recent survey conducted by the National Safety Council highlights the need for more employer responsibility. Of the 2,000 respondents across 14 different industries, 32 percent did not believe safety was a factor in measuring their performance when management assessed employees for promotions, and 36 percent stated that safety takes a back seat to productivity in their workplaces. According to 47 percent of the participants, their job duty performance standards carry more weight than their personal commitment to safety.

Some of these perceptions may stem directly from measurable management practices. For example, 51 percent stated that their companies complied with the legal minimum safety standards, but did not take any extra steps to prevent injuries, and 48 percent felt that their supervisors do not conduct enough safety meetings. Unfortunately, many of the dangers in workplaces may continue because nearly half of the employees in the survey worry that reporting a problem could lead to retaliation.

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