Safety Industry Survey 2017

Welcome to the world’s largest annual safety industry report. Over one thousand safety professionals told us how they work today, and how they will work tomorrow.

The State of Safety, 2017:

This report identified widespread frustration with how safety can too easily become its own separate operational area, separated by ‘buzz words’, showy metrics, and burdened by regulatory paperwork and desk based exercises that make little real impact.

Safety professionals in 2017 feel that instead there should be more emphasis on embedded or operations driven processes that give more data and more power to act. Allowing companies to move away from lagging indicators and towards predictive, impactful actions.

 Jump to: | Our Safety Identity | How Safety Works | Working & Staying Safe | The Future of Safety


The safety industry in 2017 is diverse, made up from individuals from all walks of life, all over the world.

We work across many industries

We have people on average working in our organisation. of these people work in our safety teams. On average we are years old with years of experience.

Gender Summary

Safety remains a male-dominated industry in 2017, however this number will be interesting to monitor in years to come.

We are worldwide

Formalised safety industries remain centered in developed, Western countries. Trends indicate emergent growth in developing economies such as India.

How we’ve learnt

The education levels of safety professionals remain generally high. Construction generally holds a lower standard of formal education than other safety sectors, however this appears to be trending towards more formal education.

Managing or supervising a safety team

More than half of respondents indicated they hold managerial or supervisorial duties.

Our roles

More than 30% of respondents indicated being on their organisation’s management team. Consultants made up little more than 10% of the safety industry.


The safety industry in 2017 is more digital than ever before. Smartphones and portable computing devices are changing how safety practitioners do their jobs day to day.

inspections done by your safety team per week

minutes spent on the average inspection

Tools we use at work

Trends today point towards a growing preference for portability in the digital tools we use for work. Pen, paper and phone calls remain stalwarts in how we work.

Why do we inspect?

For safety professionals, hazard identification remains the primary purpose of inspections.

What do we inspect?

Inspecting processes and locations takes out a virtual tie for what we are inspecting this year.

How do we inspect?

Tablet and mobile applications are critical to effectively completing safety inspections in 2017. Paper and clipboard remain prevalent, but lose ground to digital solutions in regards to efficiency and utility.


We explored attitudes to risk by safety practitioners. The importance of education, communication and solid planning practices shone as critical to safely managing risk.

average near misses in the last 12 months, by organisation.

serious incidents in the last 12 months, by organisation.

What reduces workplace safety risk?

Education and intra-team communication are instrumental in managing risk, across all industries.

What increases workplace safety risk?

Poor project management process, that results in impacts to workload, as well as a lack of relevant training are perceived to be pivotal factors in increasing risk.


Workplaces are changing. Increased automation, new tools and technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR) and changing regulations bring new challenges to those of us responsible for workplace safety. Throughout all this transformation there is one aspect that is consistent: people.

Do you feel you utilize your safety data well

Inspections, incident reporting, compliance and training provide more information than ever before to safety professionals. Over half of those surveyed indicated they can take better advantage of this information.

What is your business looking to invest in, in the next 12 months, with respect to safety management?

Why are we looking to invest in these technologies?

Initially, the drive for technology investment is to improve efficiency. Safety professionals have been noticing how technology impacts their personal life streamlining everything from the way we travel and shop to the way we learn and meet people. It has become frustrating to come to work and be stuck using outdated paper based processes. The wave of mobile technologies has liberated professionals from their desks and paperwork, letting them roam their sites, and manage safety from the coal face.

With their phone or tablet they can see what’s happening across their team and site in real time, and update and share information with a few taps on their phone.

Companies that have mastered mobile technologies are now taking this to the next level. The improved accuracy and supply of data allows them to gain insights to understand what’s really happening, know how to act and demonstrate the impact of their improvements.

In the coming year, how do you see your job changing?

Challenges beyond 2017

Influencing the day-to-day, minute-by-minute decisions and actions of our workforce is seen as the biggest challenge to the safety industry. Safety professionals are striving to empower people on the ground to make the right choices, through support, training and an effective culture of good practices.

Without this, complacency can creep in, safety processes can become a ‘check box’ exercise separate to the real work, workers can feel that risks have been controlled and that safety is someone else’s responsibility. The focus will need to be on training the workforce, and giving them enough information to empower them to think on their own two feet to keep themselves and their team mates safe.

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