A new HSE study of social attitudes finds staff feel health and safety is
Nearly half of UK workers do not believe enough attention is paid to health
and safety in the workplace.
In its first British Social Attitudes Survey, the Health & Safety
Executive (HSE) looked at awareness, attitudes and behaviour concerning health
and safety at work. The study is designed to give valuable indicators as to
whether attitudes must change.
Conducted during 2001, the study found that knowledge of legal
responsibilities and rights regarding health and safety at work was generally
high among those who had worked during the past 10 years.
But awareness of who was actually responsible for enforcing health and
safety regulations in the workplace was limited.
In industries where health and safety was enforced by the HSE, 65 per cent
of employees knew it was the enforcing authority. In cases where local
authorities were the enforcer, this figure dropped to 10 per cent.
While 49 per cent said not enough attention is paid to health and safety at
work, 42 per cent believe it was about right and only 4 per cent think that not
enough attention is paid.
Most of those who had worked during the past 10 years think their employers
take health and safety at work seriously.
But 12 per cent believed they didn’t and 13 per cent feared they would be
seen as a trouble maker if they reported a health and safety problem.
The majority (72 per cent) of workers who are supposed to wear protective
clothing at work said they always wear it, with 16 per cent saying they wore it
most of the time. Just 12 per cent said they only sometimes or never wore
Dr Simon Clarke of HSE’s Epidemiology and Medical Statistics Unit, said:
"Increasing awareness and changing attitudes to health and safety at work
are a key element in changing behaviours and reducing work-related risk. This
survey provides a basis upon which to measure future progress in changing
attitudes to, and awareness of, occupational health and safety issues in