The Proper Way to Alert Management of Unsafe Work Conditions

It’s in everyone’s best interest to maintain high safety standards. First off, a good company will care enough about its employees to strive for safe working conditions, no matter the cost. But even a cynical firm, only motivated by profit, should realize that safety makes the most long-term sense. It saves on costly shutdowns and accidents, as well as avoids potential legal troubles down the road.

So, if you see an unsafe condition at your work, you can usually assume the higher-ups will thank you for bringing it to their attention. You shouldn’t have to be shy about safety. In most cases, it’s safe (pun intended) to assume that everyone’s on the same team.

With that in mind, most companies will have a set procedure for reporting safety issues – a clear set of guidelines to follow if an issue comes up. If that’s the case, simply follow the stated procedures.

However, some companies lack a formal process (which itself qualifies as a red flag). Meanwhile, there are times when the regular procedure breaks down or works too slowly. In these situations, you might have to go off-book in getting the safety issue addressed.

In those cases, here are some steps you can follow:

Tell Your Manager

The first step on the safety reporting ladder is your direct supervisor. As soon as you notice a problem, lay out the details to the appropriate authority. Hopefully, they will take it from there, coordinating whatever further steps are necessary to fix the issue.

Follow Up

You report to your supervisor. Time goes by…no action. Don’t just shrug and let it slide. Follow up to make sure the problem gets the attention it deserves.

Start by reminding your supervisor. The fix might be in motion, or maybe they reported it and need to follow up themselves.

Move Up the Ladder

If it’s clear your boss isn’t taking action, you need to move to the next step. Before breaking the chain of command, warn your supervisor as a courtesy (and as a prod to get more active about the problem). If that still doesn’t prompt action, contact someone higher up in the company to alert them of the situation.

Make It Formal

So far, you’ve used conversations, informal one-on-one discussions. If you still haven’t seen any action after notifying multiple people in charge, it might be time to create a formal paper trail.

Write an email. File a report. Do what it takes to make your concern a formal complaint. This will be harder to ignore and will provide proof that warnings were given if an accident occurs down the road.

Alert the Authorities

If all avenues within the company have failed, you may need to bring it to the attention of the authorities. Organizations like OSHA or specific industry regulators have processes in place for reporting violations (including procedures to protect your anonymity, if you are worried about retaliation).

If you need to get to the reporting stage, it’s probably time to start looking for a new job. As we said earlier, safety should be a core concern for any company. If not, you should consider moving on.

Working Hard for Your Business

Partnering with a safety-minded recruiter is a good start. LaborMax, a leader in the staffing industry, win ensure that you work in only the best conditions, with employers who care about your wellbeing.

Contact them today to find out more.