Productivity Over Safety to 58% of Construction Workers

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productivity over safety to 58 percent of construction workers

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Do you work in the construction industry? Is site-safety an essential part of your career?

If you answered yes to either, I should warn you: the following statistics are alarming.

According to an employee perception survey conducted by the National Safety Council, 58% of construction workers (in the U.S.) feel that productivity is more important than safety.

The survey spanned 14 industries in total, but it is the construction-related data that jumps off the page.

Productivity before Safety: Who’s to Blame?

A closer look at the report reveals some more head-scratching data:

  • 51% of construction workers say management does the legal minimum required to keep employees safe
  • 47% said that employees are scared to report safety issues
  • Only 36% of employees in non-construction roles felt productivity took priority over safety

This is stunning, considering that in 2015 alone, nearly 1,000 construction workers died on the job.

Furthermore, logic would suggest that a death (or even injury) would do more to halt productivity than even painstakingly ensuring safety measures are properly in place.

No employee should have to go to work uncertain of whether or not they will make it back home.

When it comes to cause-of-death in the workplace, falls come in 2nd.

safety over productivity

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And more than half of these falls – year after year – happen in the construction industry.

For more information on the results of this report as it pertains to other industries, you can read this article published by EHS Today.

Gauging Employee Perception Beyond Construction

Looking beyond construction, the survey gauged perceptions across thirteen other industries.

Here are some other key findings:

  • Approximately 1/3 of employees feel safety performance is not taken into consideration when determining promotions
  • Nearly 1/2 of employees think that safety-focused meetings are not conducted often enough
  • 62% surveyed felt that everyone (not just management) is involved in solving job safety issues

This final statistic features the largest gap between construction and the other 13 industries surveyed.

47% believe that performance standards are higher for ‘job tasks’ than they are for ‘safety’.

That number shot up to 67% among construction workers surveyed

While these are only the perceptions of a two-thousand person control group, it’s unsettling nonetheless.


Full survey results and methodology can be found here.

We have seen the results of management/supervisors ignoring employee safety concerns.

We want to hear from you.

Chime in on social media and let us know:

  • How do you feel about the statistics revealed in this perception survey?
  • Do you feel your safety is a priority on the job?
  • If the safety of others is part of your role, are you OSHA compliant?
  • More so, are you doing the bare minimum to comply or do you truly value the lives of your peers? 

Let’s keep the conversation about site-safety going year-round, not just during safety week.