ICW Group mySafetyNews.com
Printed from www.mysafetynews.com - Your Risk Management Resource
Home > All categories, Create a Culture of Safety, General, Safety programs, Safety training, Workplace safety > Resolution #2: Discipline Safety Violators Even for Near Misses

Risk management blog

Resolution #2: Discipline Safety Violators Even for Near Misses

- June 30, 2017 by Leslie Stoll, CSP, ARM (View all posts by Leslie)

Your grinding operator is caught not wearing his safety gear during a routine audit.  You have to stop your audit and ask him to put on his safety equipment.  Do you also note this in his discipline file? Most people will not because there was no negative consequence (such as an injury). But, in this blog I’ll discuss the importance of 2017’s Safety Resolution #2: Discipline Safety Violators Even for Near Misses (when they don’t get injured).

Let’s start by asking you two questions about your facility/company:

1. If someone breaks a rule and doesn’t injure themselves, will your supervisors discipline them?

2. If so, is the discipline consistent with the same rule violation as when an injury occurs?

If you answered yes to both questions, congratulations! You have the elements of an effective discipline program in place.  If not, keep reading. Why is this important? When a supervisor doesn’t discipline someone for breaking a safety rule, it’s almost as if they are rewarding bad behavior. Soon, the employees will start to realize what they can get away with. As a result, maintaining a safe workplace will get tougher.   

If your supervisors write up rule violators consistently, then all you need to do is make sure the discipline is consistent. Regardless of whether an injury resulted, the same discipline should be inflicted for the same rule violation. You should never make the discipline more severe because an injury occurred.

Besides the fact that having good Human Resources practices is smart for business, being fair and consistent in discipline is a Department of Labor issue now. According to the Whistleblower Program, the Department of Labor is now asking these two key questions:

1. “Does the employer monitor for compliance with the work rule in the absence of an injury?”

2. “Does the employer consistently impose equivalent discipline against employees who violate the work rule in the absence of an injury?”

Your Human Resources department is a great resource for the safety department in developing a fair and consistent discipline program.  Now, with OSHA looking at these issues, it’s even more important than ever to address this.  If you need more human resources advice on the subject, ICW Group policyholders can log into MyResource and checkout the HR library in the RMRx Safety Advisor.