Tell me, At your workplace, do you have the right to refuse to do any work, which in your opinion, will cause you harm or serious injury?. An example would be an unsafe scaffolding, or a switch-board has no escape clearance around it. I can think of others, but I won't bore you. But, your thoughts please?.
The laws here enpower the employer , with the employee's sole option being to 'Rat out the Boss' in situations that they have no say in.
Should you survive, you get to keep your job and do it again tommorrow.
Should you slip up you may easily be proven to have been in some PPE and/or training violation, and your dead carcass may well end up pasted across the internet to validate the inept and inequitable dictorial beuracracies here.
As a savey poster said here, "You can't legislate common sense" ...(which makes one wonder what the mortality/morbidity rates would be if the employee were allowed to administer such.)
true... but we have cornered the market on legislation for litigation protection at corporate levels here.
Trumpy, I work for two different industrial companies. At job A, the maintenance department manager doesn't really care, looks the other way, and simply expects the job to get done(so he looks good) regardless of any safety concerns. Unfortunately working under these conditions leads one to being "sloppy" and not working safely -- I have to "call" things on myself all the time to keep sharp.
At Job B, the first wording on every work order is: "This work is important, but not as important as your safety." If I have a safety concern here, it will get worked out -- I might not always agree with the outcome, but the process is good and above board. If anything, the employees here are guilty of not always using the available PPE and safety equipment.
At job A, I'd probably get suspended or fired for flat out refusal, even with code references or OSHA CFR 1910 dot whatever. Perhaps two or three of us in a shop of fifteen guys truly understand some of the dangers. It took 6 mos of nonstop pressure to get LASER training for maintenance personnel--then half way through the training (which was rather intensive from a physics and math standpoint) the maint dept manager got up and left. His response when I later questioned his leaving was "I don't need some LASER egghead telling me about safety". One hell of a leadership example.
At job B, my supervisor, me, and several other electricians would take a "look see" and talk about possible safety concerns. This might be as little as a two minute "second set of eyes" resulting in a go-ahead, or it might delay the job until scheduled downtime -- but either way my concerns would be addressed.
I try to work as safely as possible. Even though there is a flat spot in my forehead from trying to get my A employer to do it right the first time, I persist(I am a royal PIA). I consider it my duty. Loss of life vs loss of job? Even my good B job isn't worth that.
I'm fortunate( in my mind)no corporate goob to tell me what's safe and what's not.If it don't look safe it probably ain't.We try our best to be osha safe, but I'm sure we fall short.I tell my helper to watch himself and be careful at least 10 times a day.He's a country boy like me and we try our best to use a little common sense.If we need a12 ft. ladder we use one instead of standing on top of a 6.Little things and common sense will go a long way. Russell
Trumpy, My folks first rule is: If you feel or think it is unsafe (for whatever reason), you don't do it. Any employee has the right to refuse and I will back them up. My philosophy is that there is nothing we do that is worth the loss of life or injury of any kind. And I re-inforce this on them quite often. In thirteen years I had one emplyee injured, cut her finger on the jacket of a water heater.
Where I am employed, we definatly have the right to refuse to perform electrical work if we feel we lack the proper safety training for the task or if we feel it is unsafe. Safety is always considered first at our shop.
Now that doesn't mean we have a "get out of work free card", it means we are to consider the our safety and the safety of others when performing installations, repairs and service.
All of our field employees are required to have a 30 hour OSHA card in order to be the lead man on a job or to work alone.
Most of us thought it was a grand waste of time 4 years ago when the company started the 10 hour requirement for all emplioyees. But since then, I have seen the benefits of the training for me as well as new hires.
The 30 hour course had been met with mixed reviews when it started, but we have already seen the overall safety of our employees improve.
Knowledge is always a benefit. Yes, there is a cost. When costs are weighed, foreknowledge is always less expensive than hindsight.
I for one feel much more confident having the training in safety and NEC than the years previous before our company required neither.
I think guy's, that Employers need to get wise about basic Safety practices, because if an accident does happen, some of them, for some odd reason, forget that they where the one's that ordered this work in the first place, conveniently, this I have learn't. But, this topic started off because of an incident that I was involved in recently. Long story longer, I was rung on my cellphone by an apprentice, who works for a local company(everyone in the Electrical Business, around town, has my number, being a Faultsman,Damn!). But, he was asked to go down to a small fishing village,near the sea, to fix a streetlight, because his boss owns a bach(holiday home), down there and wanted it done on the cheap. He was asked to lean the pole ladder up against the street- light support, lean out from the ladder and repair this fitting. For those of you, not conversant with NZ coastal conditions, Wood(Treated) lasts about 10 years,at the most, power poles down there are around about 15-17 years old. Light fittings were Coach-Screwed, with 2 3" C/Screws. I was asked to organise a Bucket Truck, to come down and do the work, good thing that the Apprentice never even leaned the ladder up against the pole, it was carrying a set of 3 11kV lines on top and a hole host of bare 400V lines below. I shut all of the feeds to the area down, just in case. Tested the pole near the ground, it was OK, got in the bucket, and went to move the pole by the crossarms, the whole pole dis-intergated, 5 foot was sticking up out of the ground. But the thing is here, this could have been a real disaster, and the loss of another of our very few Apprentices.