From the Archives 1989

The safety profession continues to evolve as its practitioners adapt to the changing world of work and business, apply advancements in science and technology, and respond to world events. Yet, regardless of the era, safety professionals consistently demonstrate strong dedication to making the world a safer, healthier place.

This article from the 1989 Professional Safety archives explores the concept of quality of work life. The authors examine the role of safety in these programs, and the responsibility of society at large for maintaining a safe working environment.

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Production managers and supervisors in the workplace are constantly faced with critical concerns of productivity and product quality. However, are they as concerned about the work environment and the safety and health of their workers? What happens when managers ignore employee requests for a safer workplace? What is society’s responsibility in maintaining a safe working environment?

Safety professionals deal with issues involving all aspects of safety in the workplace. Lately they have been placing increased emphasis on the concept of quality of work life (QWL). Advocates of QWL programs argue that by emphasizing the proper design of the workplace by incorporating employee involvement, productivity and quality of working life can coexist as goals, an idea rejected by traditional autocratic management styles. During the past decade, managers and supervisors across the nation have discovered that programs designed with employee input were far more effective, were easily implemented, and created more trust between labor and management, than traditional management styles.

By emphasizing a concern for the worker’s safety and health on the job, management can foster three concepts critical to productivity and morale: 1. knowledge and understanding of safe and healthful work practices; 2. a strongly shared belief that top management is truly committed to safety and health; and 3. a climate of trust.

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