Supervisor vs. Union Employee

Question:

Recently, one of our co-workers, with no marks on his record for the 7+ years he has worked w/us, was quickly fired for not locking out a machine to clear a jam, although he DID kill the main power. A week later, our new supervisor, who by the way is a friend of the Production Manager, was caught doing the same thing, and nothing happened until many complaints were filed, and he was suspended upon further investigation. Now he is coming back a week later.

I believe that this is a horrible double standard, and plain wrong. Here is section 3 Article 19 of the Union guidelines: Section 3. It is recognized that supervisors, employees, and the union, share the responsibility for safety and health. All are obligated to know and observe safety rules and practices as a measure of protection for himself/herself and others. In the course of performing their normally assigned work, employees will be alert to observe unsafe conditions in their immediate areas. When unsanitary, unsafe, or unhealthful conditions are observed by the employees, it is their responsibility to report them at once to the immediate supervisor. The agency will insure that all employees are adequately trained in all areas of Occupational Safety and Health as needed to perform the official duties of their respective positions.

Signed,

Close To Coworker


Answer:

Dear Close To Coworker:

To be in compliance with OSHA law each company must have a written safety plan to cover all assessed hazards for that workplace. For these programs to be effective there is an expectation that the business will consistently enforce their program. Many businesses enforce a basic 4 point discipline program, which is defined as 1) verbal warning 2) written warning 3) suspension 4) discharge. But it is not unusual that the program could be less steps for more severe violations. (and Lock/out-Tag/out would certainly qualify as a severe violation with life and death potential) A zero tolerance policy could result in termination for the first offense, if that is in writing and CONSISTENTLY enforced. It would appear in this case that there is no consistency with the program and a lack of proper training for all employees involved. Any good safety program is compromised if management commitment to its enforcement is lacking. OSHA 503 Outreach Trainer Customized Training & Development LLC www.customizedtrainingllc.com

Bob Byers