Clamp down on safety violations

One employee's response to safety rules affects every employee, either directly or indirectly. A person's carelessness can result in injury to coworkers, as well as to himself.
By Raymond Dreyfack December 1, 1998

One employee’s response to safety rules affects every employee, either directly or indirectly. A person’s carelessness can result in injury to coworkers, as well as to himself.

A few weeks ago, Mechanic Class II Frank Peterson was caught at a grinding machine without the required safety goggles. Maintenance Supervisor Mitch Corwin gave him a reprimand and written warning that further violation would result in “severe discipline.” Soon after, Peterson was observed by Corwin repairing a machine with the power turned on, another strict safety no-no. Signs to this effect were posted all over the plant. This time, Peterson received a second written warning and a 3-day suspension.

Apparently, this still wasn’t enough to get the safety message across. Two weeks after his return to work, Peterson was caught smoking in a storage area plastered with NO SMOKING signs. It was time, Corwin decided, for tougher punishment yet. He typed a FINAL WARNING NOTICE which stated that one more violation would result in termination, and gave Peterson a 1-wk suspension. Prior to handing over the notice, he gave it to Plant Engineer Bill Fallon for approval.

Question : In Fallon’s place, how would you respond to the discipline?

Fallon’s decision: The executive marked the notice DISAPPROVED.

Fallon’s reply: “It’s not tough enough,” he told Corwin. “Three safety violations within a relatively short period is at least one, if not three, violations too many. Management’s responsibility is to minimize hazard and accident risk as much as possible to protect the safety and wellbeing of all employees. Get rid of this guy.”