Last month, we asked frontline workers across Alberta to share why they follow safety rules at work. We knew what we expected to hear, and we were prepared to be surprised, but we don’t think any of us would’ve been 100% accurate in predicting everyone’s motivations for safe work practices. Here are some of the results so far (and yes, the survey is still open. If you’re a frontline worker in Alberta, we’d love to hear your perspective!).
88% of respondents ranked “ I want to get home safely” as the MOST important reason they follow safety rules at work.
One respondent ranked “I want to get home safely” as the LEAST important reason for following safety rules at work. Huh.
About 50% of respondents ranked “To comply with legislation” as the SECOND MOST important reason for following safety rules at work. The other half ranked “To protect my coworkers and the public” as their SECOND MOST important reason.
About 25% of respondents ranked “My boss says I have to” as the THIRD MOST important reasons for following safety rules at work.
About 75% of respondents ranked “To get my safety bonus” as the LEAST important reason for following safety rules at work; one respondent ranked it as the MOST important.
Our very favourite comment from the anonymous respondents? “I really just don’t want to die or be the next stupid story on the news about safety….. to be honest I like my life and want to continue to enjoy that every day.”
What can you glean from these results? We’d be overgeneralizing if we were to make any sweeping conclusions, but we were intrigued by the spread in responses so far, and we’re inspired to continue tailoring our safety programs and services toward the real-world needs and priorities of our customers and your teams.
It’s inspiring to see that “to get home safely” ranks highest in terms of why Albertans follow the safety rules at work. That speaks to a wider safety culture taking hold across our province, and to the common passion that employers and workers share, even when their tactics differ.
We also weren’t surprised to see financial incentives ranking so low in our survey, even among direct beneficiaries. While bonuses can be beneficial, our results do not support those approaches as being strong, sustainable cornerstones of a proactive safety program.
One thing that surprised us was seeing respondents equally split between “to comply with legislation” and “to protect my coworkers and the public.” How interesting to witness the interplay here between external and internal motivating forces, and to see the strong role that each one can play in safe jobsite practices. To us, this particular result speaks to an opportunity for education—workers care a lot about the role of legislation, and they care about the people around them who will be affected by the choices they make. How can your company tap into that curiosity during the next Toolbox Talk?
So, my next question is, How does a safety program contribute to getting workers home safely? Is it just inherent in how workers work? Is it really just “common sense?” What makes a safety program contribute to getting workers home safe? Hmmmmm. I sense another survey coming on in the next couple of months.
Again, the survey regarding motivation to work safely still remains open while we continue to read and learn from the insights of Alberta workers. If you choose to participate, you’ll be completely anonymous (to us and everyone else!), and we’d be grateful for your contribution.