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Page 114 of 123 ROCK products • August 2018 • 113 Aggregates Industry Almanac Safety Training An Inquiry Into the Barriers of Speaking Up Previous research involving 2,600 employees, found only about 39 percent indicated they would intervene in hazard- ous situations they witness at work (Ragain, 2016). We know employees generally take their responsibility for safety seri- ously. So, the question remains, when unsafe conditions or actions occur, why do workers say nothing approximately 61 percent of the time? Scace (2017) summarized Ragain's research to highlight several things, which may contribute to an employee's unwillingness to speak up when they see something that is unsafe. (Many of the reasons provided by employees during annual refresher education fit within these constraints.) •  Pressure to Produce: When employees feel pressure to produce they tend to block out everything around them and do not see the unsafe actions they or their co-workers may be taking to get the job done. •  Unit Bias: Is the inclination we all have to finish a task before we move on to something else? As a rule, employ- ees, who see an unsafe condition or action, will wait to say something to a supervisor or co-worker until they finish the task on which they are working. • Deference to Authorities: As a rule, employees will not speak up to their supervisors or "the boss." • Bystander Affect: Suggests when there are more people around, the less likely an employee will speak up. In this situation, it is assumed someone else will help or speak up. • Defensiveness: This is the natural reaction we have when confronted about doing something wrong. Research reveals 28 percent of workers become defensive and 17 percent become angry when a co-worker points out an unsafe behavior. • Stress: If employees speak up, it has the potential to place them in a stressful situation with co-workers; therefore, they may not say something because of possible workplace and/or co-worker tension. • Rationalization: Is our ability to accept things we like or believe and reject everything else. In cases where an unsafe action is observed, employees might rationalize not speak- ing up by saying "no one else has said anything, so it must not be a big deal." What was also surprising about the results of Ragain's research is that they did not fluctuate across different indus- tries, countries and cultures. To further explore this issue, during several recent MSHA and OSHA annual educational sessions facilitators asked employ- ees, "When we sometimes see a safety issue or hazard why is it that …" •  We sometimes do not step up and say something when we ought to? • We sometimes just look the other way? Participating employees and supervisors indicated in the past there had been instances when they saw something but did NOT say something. Some of reasons provided for not doing so included: • Supervisor will not listen. • Cannot stop production. • Do not want to get involved. • Fear retaliation by supervisor or co-worker. • Told not to worry about it and get back to work. • It is not my job. • Lack of leadership. • Do not feel safe enough to speak up. • It is uncomfortable. • Told "you are not my boss." • Do not want to cause trouble. • Avoid or scared of confrontation. • Always done it this way … have not been caught. The feedback from these workers is consistent with pre- viously held and engrained beliefs among workers. For example, most companies give employees, without the threat of retaliation, the authority to stop work when they observe an unsafe situation. But, within the same study, 97 percent of workers said they were given authority to stop work at their company; however, the 39 percent rate of stepping up to say something or mitigate the situation still holds (Ragain, 2016). Based on their responses and previous research, one might ask whether initiatives like "see something, say something" are effective or if they are just another flavor of the month? Every day, our employees see unsafe actions or conditions, which if brought up, could be stopped. However, b ecause of the reasons listed above and causes outlined in other research, much too often nothing is said and the unsafe con- ditions or actions are not addressed. Why do employees stay silent? What keeps them from stepping up in these situations? Using Research to Help Understand and Mitigate Perceived Barriers Employees are provided with policies, procedures and best practices focused on keeping them safe while at work. But sometimes a company's culture, unintentionally, allows employees to drift from a written policy or practice to one which is less restrictive or not followed. The written or verbal safety messages, sent out by companies, are generally helpful in guiding employee behavior; but in the actual workplace, an employee's safety behavior may be different from what is desired and expected. As a result, having a pulse on your organization's current safety climate could provide valuable information into barriers to speaking up and taking proactive steps to mitigate hazards in the workplace. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), from 2016 to 2018, administered a series of safety climate surveys to employees in the mining industry. Results from these surveys shed more light into this phenomenon and help us understand why workers do not always say something when they see something. External Pressures on the Job First, previous research highlighted pressure to produce as

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