Wednesday, 03 February 2021 23:31

Article Interview: What Would You Do?

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PUBLISHED ARTICLE

JAN 6, 2021 – lift Auditors Interview Article Published in Safety Compliance Alert: WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

Employee Accuses Supervisor of Caring More About Production Than Safety

A Challenging Scenario: An employee complains that a supervisor is ignoring safety in favor of production during a busy period. However, when pressed for details it’s more like the supervisor made a slight adjustment to the rules for the sake of efficiency. What would you do in this situation? 

“Where did this busy spike come from?” Manager Mike Kelly asked as he stepped into the warehouse. “I don’t know, but we’re having a hard time keeping up, that’s for sure,” Supervisor Ken Dawson said. “Speaking of which, I need to get back to manufacturing.”

As Mike made his way toward the shipping office, he saw a single forklift heading his way.

“Mike, can we talk?” the operator, Carla Rossetti asked. “Sure,” Mike replied. “What can I do for you?” “It’s about Jack Hall, my supervisor,” she said. “He’s ignoring safety to get product loaded faster,” Carla continued.

Mike thought for a moment before answering. “I know Jack can be a little old school about things, but I can’t imagine he’d totally abandon safety in favor of production,” Mike said.

Told to Stop Wasting Time

“Jack told us to stop wasting time going outside to check if trailer tires are chocked,” Carla explained. “He said you can see well enough if you look out through a neighboring dock door or window.” “So, he didn’t say not to check, right?” Mike asked. “He still wants you to verify the tires are chocked?”

“Yes, but it’s not that easy to see if you don’t go outside, and I can tell you some of the guys aren’t bothering to check at all since it’s so busy,” Carla replied.

If you were Mike, what would you do in this situation?

Response: Pierre Laudenberg, Senior Inspector, Lift Auditors, San Pedro, CA

What Pierre Would Do: My intent would be to reinstitute the policy of going outside and visually ensuring that the chocks were in place, with the clear understanding that we never exchange time invested in safety for increased production.
First, and foremost, the concern of Carla Rosetti MUST be acknowledged, in that she is concerned about the inability to ensure the trucks are properly chocked.
Second, without that confidence she feels unsafe.
Third, she is identifying that this “slight” adjustment in the policy has created a domino effect in that other operators are not even bothering to check anymore. I would also check the policies to see if there is a requirement that both sides of a trailer axle must be chocked to further address the possible inability to see the chocks from the loading dock.
Finally, since there was a compromise in the policy on the wheels chocks, I would make sure that the requirement for trailer supports, or if equipped, the mechanical trailer lock mechanisms are being utilized. I may want to talk to other operators to see if they share the same concerns, and definitely check to see if other related safety policies are compromised. Reason: When any supervisor makes an “adjustment” that puts safety policies into question, I would want to make sure there aren’t any other “adjustments” out there that I would be unaware of.

One of the greatest concerns is the message sent to the other operators, and the mentality that was created. That MUST be reversed! I will refrain from describing what I would say to the supervisor, other than to tell you what I have said to my subordinates when they deviated from my safety policies: “I don’t need creativity, I need consistency. Please follow my safety policies.”
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About Lift Auditors:

To help companies mitigate costs, Lift Auditors conducts precise audits of client’s material handling equipment and maintenance records using detailed inspections by top experts. Our audits search for maintenance and safety issues, and report on characteristics both above and below standards – including industry protocols and regulatory requirements including: OSHA, Cal OSHA, DOT, ANSI, ITSDF, Lift Truck Manufacturer and Industry Standards. These audits are backed by 40 years of experience while servicing and maintaining equipment representing organizations such as Clark Lift Trucks, Caterpillar Lift Trucks, Toyota Industrial Equipment, Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklifts of America, and also representing such manufacturers as: Genie, Landoll, Bendi, Drexel, Stienbock, Advance, Taylor-Dunn and more. To learn more please: Visit our website or email Pierre Laudenberg at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 888-310-3776.

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