When it comes to ethics, you’ll often hear about safety issues. For instance, shoddy construction isn’t just unethical because you don’t get what you pay for, but it’s dangerous for the workers and anyone who lives or works in the poorly constructed building.
Since safety can affect everyone involved, why isn’t it an ethics topic more often? Shouldn’t it be everyone’s priority to do what they can to keep themselves and others safe?
If only it was that black and white, the world would be a better place. It’s up to whistleblowers to help make safety less of an ethics issue.
Greed Is Often To Blame
The consequences of greed spread far beyond just money. Sadly, it often comes at the expense of the safety of others. From injuries to illness, greed causes a wealth of issues for its victims. For instance, when it comes to healthcare, greed results in patients not getting the treatment and medications they need. One example is a cancer patient who didn’t receive her monthly infusion because the doctor didn’t send in the prescription. She couldn’t contact him because she wasn’t allowed to. Greed resulted in fewer medical professionals being hired, fewer receptionists to field calls and frustrated patients, some with urgent needs. Greed also results in prescriptions and insurance costing so much that patients go without healthcare, risking their very lives. Of course, in the corporate world, saving a dime often means cutting corners with product safety. Corporations find it easier to send out a flawed product, make a fortune and then pay out a pittance when they’re sued or have to issue a recall. Others suffer, but the company rarely does.
Naturally, saving money and putting more profits into executives pockets also comes at the cost of proper safety equipment and precautions. This happens in all types of industries.
Inspiring Unethical Behavior
One would think that after seeing what greed or even carelessness can do to others, there wouldn’t be any ethics issues in regards to safety. However, this isn’t true. Greed is a slippery slope and in many cases, the person or people don’t care. Even if they get caught, they’d still do it again, but try harder not to get caught again. What’s even worse, it’s been proven that greedy and unethical people often inspire the same behavior in others. This is why safety becomes such a problem. If a supervisor rarely checks safety equipment for flaws when they should check it weekly, employees start following that example. If someone sees another employee benefiting, they’d rather benefit too than report unethical behavior.
Taking A Stand
Sometimes, safety ethics issues only come to light when someone gets hurt or worse. Either fellow employees are afraid to speak up or they simply keep their heads down and don’t pay attention. Both are major obstacles that need to be overcome to ensure the safety of employees, patients and customers.
The best way to put safety first is to have an anonymous hotline to report problems. Ensure employees feel safe speaking up and taking a stand so no one else has to get hurt due to unethical behavior.