Spotting Trouble at Work: Speaking Up

Posted On: January 15, 2018
Although for many years it was the norm for employees to remain silent when they saw something at work that seemed unusual or suspicious, employers today encourage their employees to be outspoken regarding employee peer behavior that can cause an unsafe workplace or potential hazards. Today's workplaces are far more advanced in the use of equipment and logistical strategies. Working harder instead of smarter is no longer an option. Employers in labor intensive industries like construction, manufacturing, processing and production find OSHA outreach and behavioral based safety training the prelude to avoiding workplace injuries and other problems that occur among employees.

Why Do Employees Need Outreach Training?

Every workplace has a labor force filled with employees who possess a variety of skills, talents and quite often, personal problems that affect their workplace productivity and performance. Some of these problems may be emotional, psychological or physical. It is usually employees with the longest record of employment in a business who notice changes in behavior of their employee peers. Radical behavioral changes should be reported by all employees. When employees work together on a daily basis, their inherent behaviors become part of the normal workplace environment. However, stress is known to be a major basis for trouble at work. The stress may come from the duties of the job or personal issues such as divorce, death of a loved one or a major loss. With outreach training to reinforce employee awareness, employers find a reduction in interpersonal trouble at work and also an increase in the willingness of employees to speak up when they see something they feel is out of the range of the ordinary work atmosphere.

Stress in the Workplace

The American Institute of Stress reports that employee workload represents about 46% of stress felt by employees with "people" issues representing 28% of workplace stress. These numbers show the potential for trouble at work may combine with psychological, emotional and physical issues of employees.

When Should Employees Receive Training for Behavioral Safety?

Ideally new hires should be given a probationary work period that provides OSHA outreach training and behavioral safety training to heighten employee awareness of trouble at work. Note that OSHA Outreach training courses are of a 10-hour and 30-hour duration and provide advanced training in workplace health hazards and common safety practices. Employers should reinforce this training with a comprehensive health and safety company policy manual. If there are sudden, noticeable changes in an employee's behavior, to reduce risk, properly trained employees are able to spot these changes and speak up. Training for behavioral safety should also provide guidance and knowledge of how to report issues before they occur to management or human resources.  

As a measure of safety and workplace security for all employees, training should include specifics of unusual activities or behavior by non-employees. Click To Tweet

Suspicious activities can occur within the workplace environment or on a peripheral basis such as outsourced suppliers and vendors. As a measure of safety and workplace security for all employees, training should include specifics of unusual activities or behavior by non-employees. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recommends participation in the national campaign by the Dept. of Homeland Security, "If You See Something, Say Something™." There are many ways in which we can all be more proactive in preventing trouble at work. So be on the lookout today and help keep the workplace safe!

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