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Alarming number of manufacturing workers distrust employer on safety

A major study has found that 45% of manual and semi-skilled workers in the manufacturing sector believe their employer is putting profits over their safety, with one in ten feeling unsafe every day.

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A YouGov survey questioned just over 2,000 workers across the UK in roles such as machine operators, fitters and drivers.

As well as nearly half of the manufacturing workers surveyed believing profits were being put before people in terms of ensuring the right health and safety measures at work, a worrying 30 per cent also said they did not trust their employer to protect them (compared to 24 per cent across all sectors).

Overall, 11 per cent of manufacturing workers said they go to work every day not feeling safe in general (compared to 9 per cent across all sectors).

The survey was commissioned by global workforce safety company A-SAFE, which has launched a new awareness campaign to highlight worker safety, including a short film about a worker who lost her leg after being struck by a forklift truck. 

James Smith, Co-owner and Director of A-SAFE, said:

“I know that for some businesses health and safety can be seen as a chore with red-tape, ticking boxes and endless bureaucracy. But when there are failures, the results can be catastrophic - lives can be changed and families devastated in an instant. It is time this hidden cost of going to work is highlighted, and that is what this survey and our campaign aims to do.

“Protecting the health and safety of employees is an essential part of a company’s risk management and must be led by its leadership team. Our survey serves to encourage business leaders to make better decisions and improve workplace standards, and the findings indicate that more needs to be done to tackle some of the industry’s most pressing health and safety challenges.”

The survey also found that nearly four in ten (39 per cent) manufacturing workers believe the focus on COVID-security during the pandemic has compromised other measures designed to keep them safe.

Dr Karen McDonnell, Occupational Health and Safety Policy Adviser and Head of the Royal Society for the Prevention fo Accidents (RoSPA) Scotland, commented:

“The research highlights that during the pandemic, there has been a shift in attitudes towards health and safety – businesses faced pressure to be covid-secure and continue to operate. It also shows the worries, fears and anxieties that many of us face in a working environment.”

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