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More than half of safety professionals deal with motivation issues or safety objections every week. Most also struggle to get support from managers, according to a recent survey.

The informal survey included two questions, yielding the responses below. Because of rounding, the response totals may not total 100 percent.

Question 1: How often do you deal with motivation and/or safety objections? (from workers, supervisors, and/or upper management)

Of the 230 responses, the results showed:

  • Daily: 37 percent
  • Weekly: 21 percent
  • A few times per month: 23 percent
  • Once per month: 7 percent
  • Less than monthly: 12 percent

These results showed that 58 percent of respondents face motivation issues or safety objections daily or weekly. Only 19 percent face those issues only monthly or less often.

That question did not distinguish whether objections came from workers or managers. However, the next question sheds additional light because it specifically addresses management support.

Question 2: Do you often struggle with management in getting support for safety?

Of the 188 responses, the results showed:

  • Yes, with line supervisors: 19 percent
  • Yes, with upper management: 10 percent
  • Yes, with both: 27 percent
  • No, we have good support: 45 percent

Just under half of respondents reported good support from both managers and supervisors. Ideally, support from all levels of management should be 100 percent.

The results show that 37 percent struggle with upper management support. This comes from adding the 10 percent who reported upper management with the 27 percent who reported challenges from both supervisors and upper management. Similarly, 46 percent struggle with supervisor support when adding the responses for the “supervisors” and “both” categories.

The question asked whether respondents “often” struggle with support, but that term is a bit subjective. Some respondents might consider monthly to be “often” while others might not. Also, the frequency of each respondent’s interaction with managers may vary. Still, respondents likely faced these challenges in a significant number of interactions.

From the first question, the reported daily or weekly objections could have referred to interactions with workers, supervisors, or upper management. Since more than half reported management challenges in the second question, it is reasonable to assume that many of those daily, weekly, or monthly objections involved management.

Support across levels

Getting supervisors on board requires upper management support, so it’s not surprising that 27 percent experienced challenges with both supervisors and upper managers. If safety professionals don’t get upper management support, they likely face challenges with supervisors as well.

The survey was conducted during an online webinar delivered on March 7, 2023, hosted by J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

Key to remember: Survey results show that most safety professionals are in the same boat, fighting for worker safety and OSHA compliance, trying to overcome objections, and struggling to get support from supervisors and managers.