Easy OHS

Employees Who Ignore Safety Rules

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

From time to time we come across an employer who asks for advice about an employee in their workplace who will not follow safety rules.  You may in fact have one or more in your workplace.  So what can you do?  Are you still liable if something happens to them?

We often find that these employees are fairly senior members of the team and often very good at what they do. 

However, as a business owner or organisational safety manager these type of employees can cause sleepless nights and stress.  In addition they can 'infect' the rest of the employees with a poor attitude to safety - in particular younger employees.

Employees do have a responsibility to comply with safety rules and not endanger themselves or others, but  ultimately the employer should be in a position to show that safety requirements are in place, taken seriously and enforced. 

What to do....

You need to ask yourself a few questions firstly, which may include:

  • Do you have a disciplinary policy for your organistion?
  • Does it mention failure to adhere to safety rules and the ramifications?
  • Has the employee been made aware of this policy and have they signed it?
  • Are safety procedures in place and communicated?
  • Can you demonstrate (and prove) that the particular employee in question has been advised of the safety requirements for certain activities
  • Have you provided appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and trained the employee on its use? 

Consider these things before taking action, because it could come back to bite you if you have failed in your workplace safety requirements to suitably instruct, train, provide information or safety equipment to employees.

I have all of that but they still don't follow the rules....

We would recommend a number of verbal warnings (depending on the seriousness of the breach) which should be noted. 

If non compliance continues then formal written warning/s.

Remember if something happens YOUR business or organisation will be held accountable. 

The key issue is that you need to show ongoing, diligent enforcement of safety standards.

As a last resort you may have to consider employment termination, and should consider seeking legal advice before this.  Remember you may need to have documented records of the breaches and warning/s provided.

How EasyOHS can help:

1) By using the EasyOHS safety induction process you can demonstrate clear evidence of a safety induction being provided, including an assessment and sign off

2) EasyOHS has a comprehensive Safe Work Procedure system which includes the ability to print a training and sign off sheet

3) EasyOHS has the ability to record safety instructions given to employees (and retained in their staff information records)

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