Plant Manager Talks But Doesn’t Enforce Safety!

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about safety:

We have a safety policy at our shop, but it is only followed when it is convenient to get rid of somebody. They want to preach safety but when it comes time to pay the price for safety they want to put price caps on it. A guy just got fired for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The situation was no different than any other day. He just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The problem starts clear at the top. The plant manager preaches safety and explains he will fire anyone that he catches not following the rules, but he is one of the main violators along with a lot of the managers below him. What can you do?

Signed, No Safe Space

Dear No Safe Space:

This is a problem that seems to be present in many jobs. It is certainly frustrating when the people at the top violate the rules they have insisted others comply with. However, a good philosophy in such cases is, that the only person’s job you have to protect is yours! As for your friend, it is certainly a sad and difficult thing, no doubt about it. But the fact others violate the safety rules, doesn’t make his violation of them less of a violation. If you have union affiliation, that is a protection. If there is an HR section, perhaps they have a grievance process.

Otherwise there is not much to help at this point.It sounds as though your managers report to someone higher. Perhaps you and others should contact higher levels of management and complain about unsafe conditions and the lack of support of safety rules by plant managers and others. If there are OSHA rules involved, that would certainly be appropriate. In the meantime, keep this in mind: Safety rules are not like rules about being on time or turning in a particular report….they are in place to protect you and others. They may be inconvenient or even seem illogical, but the ultimate aim is to prevent accidents and injuries. So, from the viewpoint of your safety, it doesn’t matter if anyone else is following the rules, you should want to and do so every time.

Yes, it’s frustrating that others do not, but they will be the ones to pay the price in injuries or worse, if they have an accident. I realize that does not provide much relief for the irritation of having bosses that preach one thing and do another, but it will help you see the picture of this as more than only being frustrated with the unfairness of the lack of consistency in rules compliance. Best wishes and stay safe!Safety must be real. All else matters little if it does not. Making it happen must be a collaborative matter. WEGO for safety.

Tina Lewis Rowe