Safety is not about “Hybrid”
The business world, it seems, is obsessed with the hybrid workplace. As a motivational safety speaker who once “worked with his hands,” I see the obsession with the office workplace as perhaps a bit classist.
During the worst of the lockdown, it was the blue-collar worker who kept our country going. In an important set of research findings from February 2022, it was found that more than 90-percent of blue-collar workers feel proud of what they accomplished during the pandemic but only 44-percent felt valued. Of their concerns, about 28-percent of workers were concerned about job safety, with 20-percent concerned about long hours, and the same percentage concerned about high-performance demands.
As a keynote speaker on safety, I can make a strong argument that fears over long hours and imposed high-performance demands directly affect safety. When these factors are combined the safety fears easily approach 50-percent of weighing on the shoulders of all blue-collar workers.
OSHA reports clearly show tragic 2021 outcomes of devastating injuries and fatalities due to worker fatigue, poor training, falls, burns and lack of safety procedures. The huge fines imposed on companies is the least of the outcomes of safety lapses. My fear is that labor shortages, budgetary problems, lapses in ongoing safety training and a generalized lack of awareness have contributed to pandemic and post-pandemic safety problems.
No choice but to go forward
Safety does not take a vacation for the hybrid workplace. It is rather hypocritical to the discussion of current workplace problems, that the pressures on blue collar workers who have no choice but to go forward are often forced into the background.
Obviously, I have great respect everyone who has navigated the past few years in the comfort of their homes, conducting business virtually and having the constant pressures of the work-life balance. However, for those hard-working people who have worked overtime on factory floors, warehouses, trucking, construction and landscaping (to name a few), have dealt with pressures that are often forgotten. Within their companies, many white-collar workers (up to 75-percent) have developed a profound respect for those who have literally kept the wheels turning.
Why have more than 90-percent of blue-collar workers felt such pride in their accomplishments? As a motivational safety speaker who once walked the construction walk, I know that pride always comes from teamwork. Safety consciousness is based on a determination and a mind-set where one team member knows they must look out for the other. While every member of the organizational team should have this, those who make and build and move things must have this.
It is time for everyone in the workplace to have a safe work place vision and, by extension, that vision must include executives who are committed to appreciating the contributions of their workers. At present, 56-percent of blue-collar workers feel under-valued and more than half fear for their safety. The equation must change for there is no such thing as hybrid construction or manufacturing; it is a total commitment.
To reach Scott Burrows, Motivational Safety Speaker, please contact Scott Burrows today by phone at 520 – 548 – 1169 or through this website.