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How to approach your employer about workplace safety concerns

Safety is extremely important in today’s world. You may be required to discuss your own safety concerns with your employer. It’s simple if you’ve been assigned this role, or if your organization is actually supportive of safety efforts. However, some bosses may be dismissive of your recommendations or concerns.

So, what is the best way to bring safety concerns to the notice of your employer?

If the safety issue poses an urgent threat to someone’s life or well-being, you must act immediately. First, try to assist the person who has been exposed to the hazard. Once they are safe, deal with any potential implications. You don’t want to bear the burden of a coworker’s death on your conscience.

However, let us assume that we are not in a life-threatening scenario right now. In that situation, consider the following recommendations for dealing with occupational hazards:

Maintain the chain of command

Nothing will irritate your supervisor more than hearing you talking over their heads. Even if your organization has a safety director, your immediate supervisor should be the first person you contact if you have a safety concern.

Give them a chance to solve the situation. If you talk to them and they don’t give you a good answer, you may need to ask someone else for help.

A smart safety manager will find a way to tackle the situation without bringing your name into it needlessly. When an employee reports a safety issue to a safety manager, the manager should conduct a walk-through of the area before calling the supervisor.

That way, if they notify the supervisor, it will be because they were in the area and noticed a safety violation, not because someone went over the supervisor’s head.

Recruit an ally

Some businesses lack safety managers and shop stewards. In these cases, you should ask yourself, “Are there people with influence in my firm who are strong proponents of safety?” Find a way to inform them of the problem in a non-intrusive manner, and maybe they will be able to run with it from their end.

Not a complaint, but a solution

So, the next time you want to complain to a boss, consider what you’re complaining about first. Are coworkers tethered to inappropriate anchor points? Perhaps you could go in and recommend an appropriate anchor location or that railings would be a better solution.

Do your coworkers appear to be unaware of what is expected of them in terms of safety? Perhaps you could go in and request a training class to help everyone understand it better.