What to do When Noticing Unsafe Practices in the Workplace

Safety is everyone’s responsibility, from the company’s owner and manager to the foreman to each individual employee. 

Seeing a safety hazard at work can be complicated: Who do you tell? How unsafe is it, really? Will you get in trouble? Will reporting it make a difference? It’s enough to make a person think twice. 

But it’s worth speaking up to help protect your coworkers. 

Here’s what to do when you see something dangerous. 

  • Document it.

    Grab your phone and take a few pictures to provide proof of the unsafe conditions. This will create a record that can be used to verify when improvements are made or can serve as a reminder of when a problem was found. Write notes, if you can, about what the issue is if it’s difficult to photograph. Include information on when you first spotted the problem, like a small pile of gas-soaked rags or a frayed electrical cord, so it can be determined whether this is a new problem or an existing one that needs to be addressed. 

  • File a report.

    Each company has a designated person responsible for addressing safety hazards — whether it’s human resources or a building manager. Talk to this person and find out how to submit a report and explain a little on why this is a hazard. Be sure to let them know whether this is an active, dangerous scenario: If sparks are flying near exposed wires or flammable objects, this could become a big problem very quickly.

  • Continue to speak up.

    This is a classic and real example of the squeaky wheel getting the grease. If the problem isn’t quickly addressed, or mitigated in some way, speak up again. Go to a supervisor or someone in a position of authority to let them know what’s going on and that the problem hasn’t been addressed. If applicable, call your union representative to let them know of the unsafe condition and see if they can help get it fixed.

If you’re concerned about what might happen if you report a problem, consider how you’d feel if you saw something dangerous, didn’t speak up, and then someone got hurt. It’s always better to speak out in the name of safety and protecting your coworkers. 

If this incident inspires you to look for a new position instead, call Debbie’s Staffing. We have great relationships with other companies that are looking for workers just like you and will take your safety seriously. Contact Debbie’s Staffing today, and let’s get started! 

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