Worker health still not taken as seriously as safety

Two years after new health and safety legislation came into force a survey shows the scale of the challenge to have worker’s health taken as seriously as their safety.

Safeguard magazine’s annual State of the Nation survey shows 80% of respondents believe the safety of workers is taken seriously, while only 50% believe the same about workers’ health and wellbeing.

More than 900 people took part, consisting of health and safety practitioners, workers who are also health and safety representatives, and business owners or senior executives.

Health is an essential but often overlooked component of workplace wellbeing.

Far more people die as a result of past exposure to workplace health risks, such as hazardous materials, than are killed by accidents in the workplace. And many people develop hearing loss, breathing difficulty or serious long-term illnesses because of unsafe workplace environments.

The survey also reveals a discrepancy in attitudes between business owners and workers.

While 87% of business owners said their staff were regularly asked for their input into their workplace’s health and safety, just 72% of workers said the same.

78% of owners said health and safety risks were discussed with other businesses using the same site, but only 59% of workers said this was true.

“These responses demonstrate a distinct work-as-imagined (by owners) and work-as-done (on the shop floor)” Safeguard said in a statement.

 

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