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What to do if a worker does not follow a safe work procedure

By Joanna Weekes

If you have a worker who fails to follow your safe work procedures, you need to make sure you realise this and remedy it immediately.

If a worker is not following procedure and it is not picked up on by supervisors and managers, your company may be exposed to greater liability for any workplace health and safety incidents that occur.

To address this risk, your supervisors should be made aware of the steps to follow if they identify a worker who is not following a safe work procedure.

So today we have a bit of advice to give your supervisors and managers if they identify that a worker is not following the necessary safe work procedure…

Firstly, stop the worker from performing the work task.

Secondly, call together the worker and other workers in the area to discuss and reinforce the safe work procedure and how the work task should be carried out safely.

Thirdly, observe the worker performing the task correctly that day in order to allow them to continue with the work task.

Observe the worker performing the work safely on a number of further occasions.

A week or two later, follow up with the worker and other workers in that area to ensure that the work is still being undertaken in a safe manner.

It’s important to ask the worker questions to try to understand why they weren’t following the safe work procedure. Never assume that they were being disobedient. There may be other systemic problems in the procedure itself that need to be addressed.

The worker might be taking a short cut due to:

  • unrealistic deadlines;
  • a defect in how the equipment operates; or
  • a missing step in the procedure.

It is necessary for the supervisors and managers to obtain information and discuss it with the other workers in the area to correct any issues or to improve the safe work procedure.

Remember, you should have a system in place to review and monitor you safe work procedures to ensure they are always up to date. In addition to regular reviews, if a change has been made to the workplace that affects the work task, the safe work procedure will need to be amended.

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