Stop-Work Authority Becomes Stop-Work Responsibility
When performing work, it is important that employees feel empowered and are knowledgeable that they have the authority to stop work if a hazard is evident that prohibits them from conducting a task safely. Stopping work is, at times, a sensitive issue depending on the industry; there are employees who are fearful to use this power. The lack of confidence that employees have to exercise their stop-work authority can escalate an unsafe situation.
There are several reasons why employees may hesitate to use their stop-work authority:
- Fear of punishment from supervisor
- Fear of conflict with other employees
- Do not want to be labeled as a “snitch” or “soft worker”
- Fear of losing job
- Do not want to slow project or work down
At Faith Technologies, we believe and train that stop-work authority is not a right, it is a responsibility. Your job as a safe employee is to be the first set of eyes and voice while on the clock. At the end of the day, stopping work can keep you, your coworkers and your company safe.
If you see a potential hazard, risk or unsafe action, you have the responsibility to contact your direct supervisor or safety team member immediately, and to alert any co-workers or others on site who are assigned to or may be affected by the specific task. At that point, the manager or safety team member will analyze the issue and take corrective actions to resolve any safety issue.
Stop-work is a crucial responsibility that employees should be trained on and feel confident exercising. Ensuring that your employees know the steps to stop work and who to approach is critical to creating a safer work environment. In that way, stop-work authority becomes stop-work responsibility, and everyone benefits from a safe job site.