In an informal online poll conducted in April/May 2012, Safety+Health readers were asked about generational differences in attitudes about safety at their organizations.
Comments from respondents answering “Yes”
Note: Eighteen respondents who answered “Yes” wrote in a comment indicating which generation they believe is more cautious. Eleven of them said younger workers are more careful, and six said older workers care more about safety.
Safety is a "No Compromise" ideal here. Younger employees are inexperinced and naturally cautious.
Safety is built-in to the procedures, we build it into them throughout their careers.
Older workers have a lot of experience, often in situations we would today deem unsafe. Because they survived those environments (ignoring the fact that many of they contemporaries did not) means they have a false sense of safety.
I work in Heavy Industrial Construction and find that younger workers are more conscientious about safety in general and in protecting their health, by being diligent about wearing PPE.
The young drivers that attend my classes are eager to drive and slow to learn the safe way to conduct themselves.
In heavy manufacturing, older workers tend to have a been there done that attitude. Younger workers will listen but seem more willing to knowingly take a risk.
Employees, including upper management, are starting to get it. Safety impacts businesses in many ways including bottom line and employee lives away from work. It is a socially responsibility.
The younger generation takes safety more seriously.
Younger employees feel they are invincibile and do not always take safety practice seriously
The younger generation seems to be more lax in observing safety in the work place
The oldeer workers say they have done it this way for years and did not get hurt.
Older individuals tend to think that safety inhibits work output - they never needed it back in the day to get things done
the older we get the more wise we are. the younger we are the more aggressive we are.
Our Corporate level is more aware and safety conscience than ever before. Of course that trickles downward to local levels then to the employees.
some care more than others
Older, experienced folks are more likely to demonstrate complacency if they have never been hurt of the job.
Aging work force less inclined to follow safety procedures, young generation wants more explanation as to why.
Take advantage of new process and tools to make jobs safer
Younger people feel less like being safe than older people
Younger generation takes safety more seriously.
younger generation has a higher expectation at the workplace, but still not willing to contribute any more. They expect the workplace to be made safe for them, but not necessarily conduct themselves in a safe manner.
Younger workers are more willing to accept new initiatives. New PPE requirements for example. I find that the younger workers will accept the change and older workers will not.
Younger workers think they are invincible, and generally smarter than us old folks. Some of the more mature folks have seen stuff happen to their coworkers and are more safety conscious. There are also a few who say, "We have ALWAYS done it this way."
Comments from respondents answering “No”
There are generation gaps where i work but the company's attitude toward safety is a solid one we all strive to achieve excellence in safety
All of the staff understand the need for safety and health.
It took about 10 years, but our safety culture has persisted and is generally accepted by different generations of workers. We still have some of the older generation that maintains a bit of cynicism, but it is clearly a minority of employees.
Same attitude: always observe for safety
Employees of all ages embrace safety.