Quality Circles And Occupational Safety And Health: A Critical Review Of The Literature.
The use of employee involvement schemes known as quality circles (QC) to increase safety in industry is reviewed. There are two general views of worker participation on industry: a management approach, which has goals of reducing labor conflict, and a social/philosophical approach, which views participation as an educational and psychological process for increasing personal control over an environment. The utility of QCs as watchdogs for worker safety may outlast their role as a bridge between labor and management. QCs have been historically more successful in Japan than in the United States, and the survival of QCs in the United States may depend on integration into safety programs. A survey conducted in the United States in 1976 demonstrated that workers who have high job satisfaction are nevertheless concerned about job health and safety. Often the worker is better able to identify and solve safety problems than the specialist. There are many examples in the literature of QCs having a positive effect on productivity, and lowering rates of turnover and absenteeism. In the United States, 4 to 12 percent of the issues QCs deal with are safety problems; in Japan, 30 percent of the problems are safety related. QCs to improve safety have been successful at several US firms. The author concludes that QCs are successful in improving worker health.
NIOSH-Author; Occupational-psychology; Safety-equipment; Safety-monitoring; Work-practices; Occupational-exposure; Workers; Safety-education; Occupational-safety-programs; Safety-values; Work-analysis; Worker-motivation;
NIOSH, Cincinnati, Ohio, 23 pages, 39 references