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April 04, 2013
Safety risk higher when dissent is discouraged

Do your workers feel free to speak up? One of the greatest threats to worker safety is the silence of employees. That’s the conclusion of an article titled The Dissenting Voice – Key Factors, Professional Risks, and Value Add. It was published in the April issue of Professional Safety.

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The article examines how organizational structure can affect commitment to safety. Those with top-down, authoritarian styles that reward conformity are often indifferent to employees and do not look favorably on creativity or dissent. Such an environment can be hard for a safety professional who may be viewed as a dissenter by pointing out areas of risk or poor performance.

But organizations that embrace dissent and see it as a way to maintain corporate integrity enjoy better safety performance, according to the article.

Author Dave Rebbitt, a corporate safety and environmental manager, notes that safety professionals are under pressure to show that they deliver value. Working for an organization that embraces dissent offers them a greater opportunity to demonstrate their worth.

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