On the last day of the CESW meeting, we had an interesting discussion about how safety programs and working conditions relate to productivity.
Before we get to that discussion, let me briefly summarize some of the main points we discussed, but for the purposes of this short article, let’s keep it as brief as possible.
First of all, we know that productivity can be a good thing and many businesses are concerned about safety,
which is why there are regulations that must be met, but it is not necessarily a replacement for good work ethics or company policy. On the contrary, it can be a part of them.
Secondly, we also know that workers need to have the opportunity to be able to express their safety concerns, which is one reason that it is important to have policies and safety programs in place that will address workplace complaints quickly and effectively.
These programs should also be funded appropriately to maintain the reputation of the business, which includes providing compensation to employees that were injured on the job.
Thirdly, there is a tension between the “intellectual property” agenda of the bosses and the “infrastructure” agenda of the safety managers, as regards how safety programs and working conditions relate to productivity. Let me explain.
First of all, the safety programs that exist are not generally effective at providing compensation to employees who were injured on the job. This is because the workers do not have the time to go through the various programs or do the paperwork.
In order to compensate injured workers, there has to be something more, and the workers need to be able to tell the supervisors or company management what those programs are and where they can go for help when they have a problem with their workplace.
For instance, having two people to make sure that the HVAC systems are working properly would be a good example.
The safety programs that do exist, for the most part, do not work well, because the workers do not have time to understand what is going on.
In this way, they do not develop the personal working relationships that will make a difference between working on the job and being at home with their families, so that the injured worker will have the time to be compensated.
So, the bosses don’t like the safety programs; and the safety programs that they do have do not provide for the compensation of injured workers. As a result, we see employees filing lawsuits against their employers.
Of course, the bosses can find a way to avoid complying with the requirements of the safety programs or they can just change the program to something that works better for them, but that is not an option. It is a fact that the new regulations for these programs do not work very well.
What can be done about this? Well, we could argue that if the employers are interested in saving money, they will just hire another company to provide the necessary programs and there will be no problems for the workers.
However, as a matter of fact, the safety programs in question have to be funded by the insurance companies, as you know, are not in favor of these programs. Therefore, it is always easier to just hire someone else to do the work.
However, there is one way to ensure that the workers still have the chance to voice their concerns and provide feedback about the safety programs.
That way is through trade associations, in particular, the IAA or Industrial Association of Roofers, and a TREE (Training and Construction Equipment Trades) or the Roofing Equipment and Technology Industries Association.