You’ve noticed a potentially dangerous situation on the job. You know you should say something, but you’re not quite sure how to approach the issue. Here’s how to go to your boss with safety concerns.
Do Your Research
Especially if you are relativity new to a job, you don’t want to raise false alarms. Therefore, investigate situations before you say something. To get more information, check your company’s safety manuals, look at OSHA’s website or ask for advice from a more experienced colleague. Print a copy of any information you find that supports your claims, so you can show this directly to your employer. And of course, if something is an obvious and/or urgent hazard, skip this step and report immediately.
Follow Proper Procedures
Your organization should have safety reporting procedures in place. If you don’t know what these are, check your manuals or ask one of your coworkers. Remember these policies exist for a reason. If you go over your supervisor’s head and speak directly to the CEO, you will aggravate your supervisor (who looks like they aren’t doing their job) and the CEO (who is now dealing with a middle management issue). However, if the person you are supposed to report to ignores you, then you should move up the chain of command.
Safety is a group effort, so avoid negative comments, name-calling, and the blame game. Sometimes people make mistakes, but an accident impacts everyone. Your goal is to protect yourself and your coworkers not to publicly humiliate someone who may be at fault.
Focus on Solutions
Managers and supervisors have busy schedules. And although safety concerns are important, dealing with these problems may significantly disrupt their day. Keep this in mind, and search for ways to make their lives easier. For example, let’s say you notice a guard is missing on a machine. Rather than simply reporting it, check for an extra or ask to order a replacement. Then, tell your manager about the problem as well as the steps you took to remedy the situation.
Don’t Be Afraid
Hopefully, you work for a safety-focused business that encourages workers to report potential hazards. Unfortunately, not everyone is this lucky. If your employer refuses to listen to you, or worse yet, threatens to punish you, you have the right to file a confidential complaint with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Sometimes reporting safety issues can be intimidating, but it is the right thing to do.
Do You Wish You Worked for a More Safety Conscious Organization?
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