One of the main reasons that you enjoy your job may be because of the people that you work with. In fact those who are employed full-time spend almost as much time with their coworkers as they do with their families. Thus, it is not uncommon to consider those that you work with to be among some of your dearest friends. That is what can make reporting potentially negligent or dangerous activity on the part of a coworker or supervisor so difficult. However, such action often must be taken, particularly if it is putting you at risk.
TIPS FOR HANDLING THE ISSUE WITH THE INDIVIDUAL
The fear of damaging both your personal and professional relationships with this person may cause you stress when considering speaking with him or her directly. Yet your personal safety should be your paramount concern. If his or her continued recklessness, negligence or carelessness results in your becoming injured, you could be forced to deal with much more serious health, emotional and financial issues. Is it feasible to think that you can have such a conversation without him or her becoming defensive or confrontational? Possibly, yet you have to go about it the right way.
Speak to him or her in a neutral setting, away from the workplace where other coworkers could become involved. Share your concerns from your own point of view, while also stating that you do not want to see him or her come under scrutiny even for an incident that may not even involve you. Hopefully, his or her reaction to this is positive. If not, then you may be left with little choice but to escalate the issue to upper management.
Employers are expected to treat their employees’ safety concerns seriously and take whatever reasonable corrective action is needed to address them. When you present your concerns to your company’s management, you may not be able to dictate what sort of action that may be. However, you should maintain the expectation that something will be done.
WHAT IF YOUR CONCERNS ARE BEING IGNORED?
If you feel as though your employer is not giving the matter enough attention, then your next step may be to file a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. If you would rather the matter be handled discretely, then you can choose to submit your issue anonymously. You can find the nearest regional OSHA office near you by doing a simple Internet search. They also accept complaints online.
When detailing your complaint, be as specific as possible. Cite examples of your coworker’s or supervisor’s negligence, as well as the length of time that this conduct has been happening. Having evidence to support your claim may also assist in OSHA’s subsequent inquiry. Examples of helpful evidence may include:
- Pictures taken on your cell phone
- Statements given by other employees
- Incident reports filed against your colleague
Be sure to include the details of your conversations with the person in question as well as your employer, as well as their reactions to you expressing these concerns.
An OSHA investigator will then share the details of your complaint with your employer. Their response will then be shared with you. If you feel the matter needs to be pursued further, you can then request that an on-site investigation be conducted. The law prevents your employer from taking any retaliatory actions against you for filing such a complaint. If you were indeed involved in an accident because of the negligent actions described in your complaint, you make initiate legal action following the conclusion of the OSHA investigation.
When citing your manager’s or colleague’s actions as being negligent, you may feel as though you are all alone. Yet you should not let those feelings of solitude keep you from speaking up. In many cases, your other coworkers are also behind you, yet are simply afraid to voice their concerns.
Finally, if the situation does escalate and you find yourself suffering a workplace injury as a result of your coworker’s or supervisor’s negligence it is crucial that protect your legal rights. Contact Dugas Law Firm. We here to help put a stop to unsafe work practices, as well as to help get you the compensation you deserve in the event of an industrial accident.