The study, named Silent Danger: The Five Crucial Conversations that Drive Workplace Safety, surveyed more than 1,600 frontline workers, managers, and safety directors across 30 safety-conscious organizations.
The data reveals that 93 percent of employees say their company is an accident waiting to happen. Nearly half know of an injury or death caused by one of five preventable workplace dangers. However, despite being aware of these five threats, only one in four employees speaks up and tries to correct unsafe conditions.
According to VitalSmarts the tragic secret behind most workplace injuries is that someone recognizes the threat well in advance, but is either unwilling or unable to speak up. The greatest dangers to workplace safety are the norms, habits, and assumptions embedded in our corporate cultures that stifle employees' ability to speak up and confront unsafe practices.
Each of the five threats to workplace safety outlined in Silent Danger was identified as being costly, common, and undiscussable. The five threats are:
- Get It Done. Unsafe practices that are justified by tight deadlines.
- Undiscussable Incompetence. Unsafe practices that stem from skill deficits that can't be discussed.
- Just this Once. Unsafe practices that are justified as exceptions to the rule.
- This Is Overboard. Unsafe practices that bypass precautions considered excessive.
- Are You a Team Player? Unsafe practices that are justified for the good of the team, company, or customer.
The reason we are seeing safety improvements begin to stall is not because the systems and policies we have implemented don't work, it's because people don't speak up and hold one another accountable. Accidents in the workplace will not be prevented until senior leaders eradicate cultures of silence.
Contact me to learn skills to break the culture of silence at your organization.