Workplace safety a top priority for workers

Sept. 6, 2010 at 2:03 AM
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CHICAGO, Sept. 6 (UPI) -- Eighty-five percent of U.S. workers rank workplace safety first in importance among labor issues, a survey indicates.

The survey, conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago for the Public Welfare Foundation in Washington, indicates workplace fatalities were down in 2009, but the number of on-the-job injuries remains high.

About 12 percent of workers reported being injured while on the clock during the past year and 37 percent said they required medical treatment at one time for a workplace injury, the survey found.

Most workers said they are satisfied with safety conditions at work, but they also reported job-related stress -- a contributing factor to injury.

"Exhaustion, dangerous working conditions and other negative experiences at work are reported by many workers," Tom W. Smith, director of NORC's General Social Survey, said in a statement. "Such conditions mean that workplace accidents are far from rare."'

Despite public concern about workplace safety, the survey also indicates the media and the public tend to pay closest attention to safety issues when fatal workplace accidents occur, Smith says.

"Workplace safety is too often ignored or accidents taken for granted," Smith said. "It is striking that coverage in the media and public opinion polls has virtually ignored the 11 workers killed by the blowout and destruction of the drilling platform (in the Gulf of Mexico)."

No survey details were provided.

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