If you’re like many employees, you might be reluctant to report misconduct to your employer. No one wants to be a snitch, and you might worry about retaliation. But the reality is that when it comes to safety violations, reporting them is essential. A workplace accident happens every seven seconds in the United States, leading to 104,000,000 lost production days each year.
More than 5,000 workplace accidents per year are fatal. And nearly all workplace accidents are preventable. Everyone must work together to keep each other safe, even when that means making the tough call to report a fellow employee’s behavior to management. Here’s what you can do.
- Talk to Your Team Leader: If your work team has a leader, ask for a private meeting. Briefly summarize your concerns and let the leader take it from there.
- Meet With Your Supervisor: If you don’t have a team leader or that person is part of the problem, schedule a meeting with your supervisor. Explain what’s going on and why you didn’t feel comfortable talking to your leader (if applicable).
- Submit an Anonymous Report: Many worksites have anonymous reporting capabilities to help employees avoid retaliation. If your workplace offers this option, it can be a safe and easy way to make your report.
- Speak up in a Meeting: If your workplace has regular safety meetings, consider speaking up. It’s best not to call anyone out by name in a public setting, but you can draw attention to the problem. Especially when you feel that the employee isn’t intentionally breaking the rules, this can be a great way to encourage a behavior change without getting anyone in trouble.
- Contact OSHA: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) oversees worksite safety compliance. If you feel like your employer has created an unsafe workplace, you have the right to file a complaint for OSHA to investigate. You can file your complaint online, by mail, by email, by fax, over the phone, or even in person.
Reporting your fellow employees can be challenging, but when it comes to safety, there is no room for error. Reporting misconduct can literally save lives, and it can turn a bad situation into an opportunity for everyone in the company to learn and grow.
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