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How to Properly Report Workplace Safety Issues to Your Manager

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How to Properly Report Workplace Safety Issues to Your Manager

If you’re moderately observant and a safety-conscious individual, you’re going to spot a safety issue in your workplace at some point. It might not be a serious problem just yet, or it could already be putting one of your co-workers in imminent danger. Either way, you’ll need to bring it to someone’s attention.

However, it may not be as simple as it sounds. If you work for a company that puts a premium on a safe work environment, then all of the steps for reporting the issue are probably in place and have been properly communicated to the workforce. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. There are still some employers who are indifferent to safety concerns and might not appreciate you bringing it up.

So, what can you do? Well, that will depend on the danger factor. If you believe that a co-worker is in immediate danger of serious injury or death, you must act right away to move them to safety. Deal with any consequences later. Get them out of the dangerous situation now.

If, on the other hand, the safety issue is not of the life-threatening variety, here are a few suggestions for bringing it to your employer’s attention:

Use the chain of command

Don’t go over your supervisor’s head. Always approach them before anyone else. If your concern is ignored, you might have to enlist someone else—perhaps a union steward or safety director— to correct the safety violation, but don’t start there. Good safety directors will then check out the issue before contacting the supervisor so it looks as if they discovered the problem rather than you reported it.

Find a supporter

If your company doesn’t have either a shop steward or a safety director, try to find someone who influences within the company, and inconspicuously let them know about your concerns. That may be all it takes to correct the issue.

Make sure there is a problem

Before you approach your boss, make sure you’ve done your research and have confirmed there is a safety issue. Once you are certain, try to come up with a possible solution. It’s always preferable to go to a manager with both a problem and a solution. It will show you aren’t simply complaining.

Be cooperative

If you go into your boss’s office with a confrontational attitude and start criticizing the company for being lax on safety, you might not get satisfactory results. It’s much better to show a spirit of cooperation, letting your supervisor know you’ve given the issue considerable thought before approaching and you are willing to help in any way to correct the situation.

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