All personnel have the right and the obligation to stop unsafe work. If you’re working and you witness a procedure that is not being followed correctly, see a hazard, or if you notice any at risk worker behaviour, the following procedures are to be followed:
1. Intervene/Identify: Stop the unsafe or unhealthy work and/or stop work and identify the hazard,
2. Notify the affected workers, supervisors, and management of the work stoppage,
3. Discuss why the work was stopped and come to an agreement regarding the safe way to proceed. Determine if there are any condition requirements needing alteration, or any behaviour changes that are required prior to starting work again,
4. Correct any of the deficiencies that led to the work stoppage,
5. Resume work, and
6. Follow-up to ensure all workers are working safely, and any mitigation that has been put in place is effective.
An incident report should also be completed to outline the details of the work stoppage, what has been done to remedy the situation, and verification that the job is healthy & safe to move forward.
Executing Stop Work Authority to catch potential unsafe or unhealthy actions/conditions before they become hazardous is not only responsible, but can prevent potential incidents and injuries in the workplace, if acted on in good faith. Stopping work in good faith indicates that the worker is stopping work because they are genuinely unsure of the task, unsure of the steps, scared of the task, see something hazardous that could affect a co-worker or themselves, or feel someone is working in a way that could be hazardous.
All employees should be encouraged to watch for unsafe or unhealthy conditions or acts and when it’s necessary, stop the job until it can be done safely. It is important that employees understand there will be no retribution for stopping unsafe work, if it’s acted on in good faith. Lastly, it is important to remember that you must also consult and follow the client’s policy and procedure when on their sites. Communicate/report to the on-site client rep if you need to stop unsafe work, to ensure you are meeting the expectations of their policy.