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Safety or Sustainability?

April 1, 2022
What do EHS professionals say about their priorities and culture challenges? […]

Survey Says…

In early Jan 2022, Avetta® and the EHS Daily Advisor shared insights from a recent 314 survey of Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) professionals about how their organizations are dealing with current safety and sustainability challenges and what they’re expecting in the future.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has presented a major problem for businesses, there are plenty of other safety-related issues to deal with. Asked to describe the single greatest safety challenge they’re currently facing, respondents top concerns are shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Safety leaders’ concerns.

Safety Culture

Several questions on the survey focused on safety culture. Asked how they would rate their organization’s safety culture:

  • 64% of survey respondents said it was Good.
  • 18% said Excellent.
  • 16% said their culture was Below Average
  • 2% said their culture was Poor.

Engaged in Organizational Safety Programs

Safety efforts don’t work without engaged employees. Asked how engaged employees are in organizational safety programs:

  • 20% of respondents said their employees were Very Involved.
  • 68% said they were Somewhat Involved.
  • 12% said their employees had Minimal or No Involvement.


Sustainability efforts are also taking on increased importance according to survey results with:

  • 56% of respondents saying their organization’s leadership has made sustainability a strategic priority.
  • 21% said it is not a priority.
  • 22% were unsure.

Asked what the main reason was for their organization engaging with sustainability:

  • 49% said it aligns with organizational goals, mission, and values.
  • 12% said to meet regulatory requirements.
  • 12% said to improve/ maintain brand reputation.
  • 6% said to attract/motivate/retain employees.
  • 4% said to meet industry standards.
  • 4% said to make a positive impact on an issue.

As noted earlier, employee engagement is a major concern of safety managers, but they are using different methods to engage workers in safety vs. sustainability efforts. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. When it comes to engaging employees, these are the methods they use.

To engage employees in sustainability efforts:

  • 47% of respondents said they emphasize that sustainability is part of the corporate culture.
  • 34% said employees understand how sustainability efforts align with overall strategy.
  • 31% said all employees receive training on how to integrate sustainability practices into their everyday jobs.
  • 18% said sustainability performance is considered in employee compensation decisions.

Asked with which area employees are more engaged: (See Figure 3.)

  • 77% of respondents said Safety.
  • 23% said Sustainability.
Figure 3. What’s more important?
Resources and Notes
This article was adapted from the Avetta report State of Safety and Beyond, January 2022.
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About the Author

Christine Hogge

Christine Hogge is a Content Marketing Manager at Avetta. She has more than 5 years of experience in the research and content creation space. For more information, please email [email protected] or visit You can also follow us on Twitter @AvettaNews.