Employees rank workplace safety top priority among labor standards
The study is a compilation of results from surveys and polls conducted between 2001 and 2010. It was done by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago for the Public Welfare Foundation, a D.C.-based organization that focuses on workers' rights, health reform, and criminal and juvenile justice.
Eight-five percent of the more than 1,400 respondents surveyed this year rated as "very important" government standards to protect workers' safety. The issue was rated more important than family and maternity leave, minimum wage, paid sick days, time-and-a-half for overtime work, maximum hour limits, and the right to join a union.
"Employers need to be aware that workplace safety really rises to the top of issues in workers' minds," said Robert Shull, program officer for workers' rights at the PWF. "That's incredibly important because there are other issues that get more political airtime, such as employee [free] choice and minimum wage."
Comfortable with their own workspaces.
While the respondents indicated their concern about workplace safety in general, they indicated they are comfortable with conditions in their own work spaces. Seventy-six percent of respondents said they feel "completely satisfied" with the physical safety conditions of their workplace -- up from 63 percent in 1999.
The analysis also shows workers feel increasing on-the-job stress. A study from 2006, the most recent available, showed that 13 percent of workers find their jobs "always stressful" and 21 percent find it "often stressful." The authors say that is significant since stress is a contributing factor to injury.
"If employers are looking to assess what is going to make workers happy and make them satisfied, they have to start with health and safety on the job," Shull said. "We're really happy we're able to help shine a light on this issue, as evidence shows they are among the most important issues among American men and women going to work every day."
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
October 11, 2010
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