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Third annual Fluke Safety Survey reveals opportunities for improving electrical safety in the workplace

Safety

The annual Fluke Safety Survey seeks to identify trends in sentiment on a variety of workplace safety-related topics. The survey is in its third year and trends on select questions are included in the report.

56% of workers have ideas on how to make the industry safer

56% of workers have ideas on how to make the industry safer

Just over half (55.9%) of respondents agreed that they had ideas on how to make the industry a safer place to work. While only 21.7% of respondents offered ideas in the open field in the survey, many included throughout this report, future surveys will be structured to gather more specific recommendations from participants.

Everyone plays a part in workplace safety

Who is most responsible for safety

Sentiment about who is most responsible for workplace safety has remained the same over the past three surveys with workers/yourself leading as the most responsible, but only at a slight margin. Respondents were asked to rank each of the five groups according to how responsible they were for workplace safety. For most responsible, every group was closely represented with Workers/Yourself winning out the position with only 38% of the vote. As the ranking for the following positions (i.e., next most responsible), the representation of all five groups began to dwindle, demonstrated by HR having a massive 85.5% of the vote for least responsible.

One way to read this information is that there is mixed sentiment on who is most responsible, yet there is evidence that everyone plays some part in ensuring workplace safety.

“I think safety is something companies focus on but miss the small details, relying on good trustworthy tools can help improve safety but training and proper PPE will further solidify the basics and put the worker at most responsibility for their safety as well as others,” says an 18-24-year-old respondent from Pennsylvania.

95% of workers believe more can be done to make their workplaces safer

There is an opportunity to improve safety in the workplace

Nearly all respondents, over all three years, agree or strongly agree that there is an opportunity to improve electrical safety in the workplace. Comments in the open response section of the survey support this with recommendations for leaders and supervisors to take safety training more seriously.

“Frequent training in safety protocols is essential in the electrical industry. Workers can become complacent over time,” says a 45–54-year-old respondent from California.

97.5% of workers agree that workplace safety is connected to a strong safety culture

A strong culture of safety is importan

The importance of a workplace culture of safety has remained steady over the three-year-period. Respondents agree that the culture positively impacts worker safety.

“Gaining buy-in for a safety culture has proven to be the most challenging piece, but at the same time it is the most important part,” says a 35-44-year-old respondent from Minnesota.

Trust in company safety culture is declining

Most companies have a strong culture of safety

Despite 98% of 2022 respondents agreeing (strongly agree/agree) that a strong culture of safety is important in keeping workers safe, only 37% agree that most companies have one. Responses to this question have shifted more toward disagree in the three years of the survey.

“Signs and verbiage are not a safety culture,” says a 55-64-year-old respondent from Ohio.

Disagreement and confusion around just how much training is “adequate”

Most companies provide adequate electrical safety training

Over the three-year-period, sentiment around adequate safety training has moved 11.5% away from disagree (disagree/strongly disagree), but with less than 1% of that change in sentiment going toward agree (strongly agree/agree). This adjustment could be due to changing sentiment, a lack of agreement on what “adequate” looks like/means, or an increase/decrease in training.

As a 55-64-year-old respondent from New Jersey noted, “training, training, training.”

78% believe electricians skip PPE sometimes because it’s inconvenient

Skipping the right PPE

A strong majority of respondents, year over year, agree that electricians skip using the right personal protective equipment (PPE) because it is inconvenient. Interestingly, 31% of the 693 agreeing responses (strongly agree/agree) ranked “workers/yourself” as being the most responsible for workplace safety from Question 1.

One respondent made this recommendation to PPE glove manufacturers, “make electrical gloves that are better fitted. I’ve seen electricians get frustrated with gloves and just take them off to do work.” – a 35-44-year-old from Texas.

65% of electricians agree they use accurately rated test tools

Most electricians use test tools accurately rated

Survey sentiment around most electricians using test tools accurately rated for their work environment has been trending toward agreement. However, the past two years have still shown that there is work to be done in this area to ensure properly rated tools are available and in use for the environment the electrician will work in.

47% are unsure whether innovative technologies are keeping them safer

Innovative technologies make my work environment safer

In its first year, this survey question on innovative technology uses to keep workers safer had mixed sentiment. Most respondents were either in agreement or disagreement, but a large majority did not have an opinion. Further exploration around this topic will be included in future surveys.

72.3% of workers say they rely on tool technology to keep them safe

I rely on technology to keep me safe at work

A strong 72.3% agree (strongly agree/agree) that they rely on the technology in their tools and other equipment to keep them safe at work. Whether these are innovative technologies or safety standards, or a combination of the two, will be investigated in future surveys.

71.8% of workers stay up to date on electrical safety standards

I stay up to date on changes to electrical safety standards

A strong majority of respondents, 71.8%, agree (strongly agree/agree) that they stay up to date on changes to electrical safety standards. How and when respondents stay up to date on standards changes will be investigated in future surveys.

68% participate in regular safety trainings or classes

I participate in regular safety training exercises or classes

At 68.1%, the majority of respondents agree (strongly agree/agree) that they participate in safety training/classes. Based on Question 5: Most companies provide adequate electrical safety training; further investigation will work to understand the frequency and quality of training respondents participate in.

About the 2022 survey

Previous questions from the 2021 survey regarding COVID-19 and the impact on workplace safety have been removed for 2022. New questions related to tools and technology have been added.

New in the 2022 survey is an open comment field that received over 200 comments.

  • Dates of survey: February 1-28, 2022
  • Format: Qualtrics
  • Total completed responses: 922
  • States represented: 49, including the District of Columbia
  • Age ranges represented: 17 to 74, majority between 45 and 64 years
  • Top industries represented: manufacturing, HVAC, construction
  • Top job types represented: electrician, maintenance technician, engineer
  • Proportion of respondents by employment status: employee (72.5%), self-employed (11.3%), contractor (9.4%), retired (6.2%), and unemployed (0.7%)

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