safe and unsafe acts

Discussion in 'UPS Discussions' started by vin, Apr 11, 2007.

  1. vin

    vin Member

    We were recently told by our supervisor that he had to start writing us up for safe and unsafe work acts. He said that he had to do at least one each day, which means that each one of us would be getting one about every two weeks. After writing one of these safe/unsafe work acts, he calls the individual he observed over and explains the act he observed as either safe or unsafe, and has us sign or initial the sheet.

    One thing I have noticed about these "write ups" is that most of the safe and unsafe acts myself and others have been cited for are pretty trivial. I had to laugh when I recieved a citation for "walking at a brisk pace, not running" (a safe act).

    I don't want this to turn into a discussion about "sign/refuse to sign" because that is not what I am concerned about. What I am interested in is if this is happening elsewhere and why the company is doing this. If they are just trying to figure out common causes of injuries and ways to prevent them (which I doubt), that is fine. What concerns me is the possiblity that they may be used in the discipline process.
  2. dillweed

    dillweed Well-Known Member

    Don't worry a bit about it. Just management busywork. dw
  3. hoser

    hoser Industrial Slob

    I've been involved in a wrongful dismissal lawsuit before, and one of the best things I learned is to keep track of conversations, incidents, anything that happens with your employer. I have a log of times my supervisor threatened me and other employees, supervisor took me aside and chewed me out (without any disciplinary action because I was doing nothing wrong), so on and so forth. I suggest that you do the same. Keep a .txt on your desktop, and date everything your employer said, especially the part about how he has to do one write up a day. Then when you get a write up, you can grieve it, citing the time he said that he was writing up to meet quotas, not actually impose a safe workplace. And hey, if problems arise in a few years, you have everything documented.

    BTW, the "sign/don't sign" is a non-issue. At least where I am, the contract says that an employee signing off on discipline at the time it is served is for the purpose of acknowledging receipt, not acknowledging wrong doing. IF it says that in your contract, then sign off on it. If you want the employer to act in good faith, you should act in good faith, too. Not make a big scene when it isn't needed. Pick the right fights. But be sure to check your contract for a clause regarding write ups.
  4. solitarysiren

    solitarysiren Happiness in Slavery...

    it sounds like a SWM form. if that's the case, then it's a tool to facilitate communication between the sup and hourly to review which methods are safe and consistent and which methods need improvement. it's meant to focus on Safe Work Methods (hence, SWM) they aren't 'write ups' in a disciplinary sense. there should also be a 4:1 safe/at risk behavior ratio. so, they reinforce four safe behaviors to one at risk. we have to do these once a day, as well. i like them because it's a good observational tool, if done well. i know exactly what to focus on, if that makes sense. i can observe someone for a while and then review specifics, such as, "i really like your body positioning when lifting irregs. you had a good stance, got close, and tested the weight. i could tell you used your legs to lift and asked for help with that other one. Nice job. One thing i did notice, though, is that you twist slightly when pulling off missorts. Try facing the belt at an angle and this will put you in a safer position so that you don't hurt your back unexpectedly." just an example of how i use these forms.

    anyway, the only thing that can become a disciplinary issue is in the comment section. it says something to the effect of which instructions were given to correct at risk behavior. the fact that the word instruction is in there is the thing that might get someone in trouble. for example, if someone was consistently obstructing a walkway and this was observed three different times and documented on the SWM (and reviewed explicitly with the employee all three times, of course) then it could be grounds for some other form of discipline, say, an actual write up or something.

    hope that's a bit more informative.
  5. vin

    vin Member

    I know that is not my sup's idea to do this. He is a good guy and actually lets us get away with quite a bit. I also heard from another source that this was coming from very high up, like the district level or above (it certainly wasn't the safety committee's idea) which is why I thought it might be happening elsewhere.

    I used to be on the safety committee myself and used to do JHAs (job hazard analysis) for a few positions. We had a checklist for each position (sorter, pick off, loader, unloader, etc.) and each time we saw someone perform one of the actions, we checked whether it was a safe or unsafe behavior. (Did the sorter use the c-slide or just drop the package onto the belt?) There was a section for comments but no names were ever taken down. Some of the JHAs had us ask the workers we were observing if the equipment they were using was in good repair, but we could also talk to them if we wanted to about other issues. The JHAs were then reviewed and discussed at the next meeting. Load stands not being used were always a recurring problem. Any issues that needed to be addressed were brought to the attention of the appropriate supervisor(s) who then reviewed it with the group as a whole, usually during PCM.

    solitarysiren, I have never heard of a SWM form, so I'm not sure if it is or not. I don't have a problem with the JHA process, I actually think it is a good idea. I tried to come with a comment, good or bad each time I did a JHA. If I felt that the person I was observing was doing something unsafe that needed immediate attention then I either talked to him myself or talked to his supervisor.

    I don't have any problem with us being watched for safe and unsafe behavior to be used in a statistical sense to reduce injuries, workman's comp claims, etc. Whether the employee is talked to when the observation is made, or later talked to as a group is fine if the problem is serious and widespread. What does concern me is that our names are being recorded with the incident.

    I also want to make clear that I am not against discipline for unsafe behavior. If a sup tells you to use a load stand and you habitually refuse, then you should be written up for it. Using a load stand helps keep packages in your power zone, thereby reducing strain on your back and the likelihood you will pull a muscle, and have an injury. I also think safe acts should be recognized, such as if you are an emploee who always uses a load stand without having to be told when most others don't use them.