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Safety Non Compliance at work is more than the time out chair!

All employees are expected to meet safety performance standards and behave appropriately in the workplace. Corrective action is a process of communicating with the employee to improve unacceptable behavior or performance after other methods such as coaching and performance appraisal have not been successful. If the employee has not made an improvement or if the behavior/unsatisfactory performance persist, corrective action may be appropriate. Corrective action MUST be executed in consultation with an Employee Relations Representative.

Quality professionals frequently express confusion as to the difference between corrective and preventive action. A corrective action deals with a nonconformity that has occurred, and a preventive action addresses the potential for a nonconformity to occur.

Common Misconceptions

There are three common misconceptions about corrective and preventive action:

The standard calls for documenting every occurrence of a nonconformity.

A preventive action is really just calling a corrective action something different.

The major re-engineering of a process, product or service, or the introduction of a new process or equipment, is not a candidate for preventive action documentation.

One way to dispel these is by separating situations into what I call a patch (a single occurrence of a nonconformity that involves little risk and needs not be recorded), a corrective action (a more serious nonconformity involving some risk that requires action to prevent recurrence and must be recorded), a preventive action (a process that can be improved to prevent occurrence of a nonconformity and is to be documented) or a developmental action (a planned change to introduce a new process or product in response to strategic objectives, documented as a preventive action).

Corrective Action Process

Locate and document the root cause of the nonconformity.

Scan the entire system to ensure no other similar nonconformity could occur.

Analyze the effect such a nonconformity may have had on a product or service produced before the nonconformity was discovered, and take action appropriate to the severity of the situation by either recalling the product, notifying the customer, downgrading or scrapping product.

Establish thorough follow-up to ensure the correction is effective and recurrence has been prevented.

Preventive Action Process

Take proactive steps to ensure a potential nonconformity does not occur.

Employ process and system analysis to determine how to build in safeguards and process changes to prevent nonconformance. For example, use a failure mode and effects analysis to identify risks and potential deficiencies and to set priorities for improvement.

Developmental Action Process (Treated as Preventive Actions)

Initiate an improvement project, with project plans, justification for planned expenditures, resource controls and evaluation.

Contain a related series of actions, often separated by long periods so you can wait and see progress and results.

Use a variety of appropriate disciplines at different times during the project.

Establish a means for communicating what has been done and what has to be done to facilitate communication about changes to project team members.

Include a clear trail of actions taken and decisions made to substantiate the decision to proceed, document lessons learned and avoid needless reinvention on future similar projects.

Documenting and controlling corrective and preventive actions ensure appropriate action is taken within a reasonable timeframe and the resulting changes work.

The goal is to guide the employee to correct performance or behavior by identifying the problems, causes and solutions, not to punish the employee. If there is no improvement or if there are repeat occurrences, correction action may be appropriate. In general, corrective action should be progressive, i.e., beginning with the lowest severity action before employing actions of more severity. Any formal corrective or disciplinary action must follow the principles of “Just Cause”. Pending Union or Non Union work setting the principle hold true in you health and safety program

Step 1.

Oral Warning

The supervisor should:

  • Schedule a meeting with the employee to ensure privacy;
  • Make notes about what they want to say in advance;
  • If applicable, encourage the employee to have Union Representation Present; remember that the employee has a right to representation*.
  • State clearly that they are issuing an oral warning;
  • Be specific in describing the unacceptable performance or behavior;
  • Remind the employee of the acceptable standards or rules. If they are available in writing, they should be provided to the employee;
  • State the consequences of failure to demonstrate immediate and sustained improvement: Further disciplinary action may be the result; and
  • Memorialize the conversation in writing with the employee and copy your Labor Relations Department

If the supervisor gave an oral warning and the unsatisfactory performance or behavior endures, a written warning may be warranted. This action may be used more than once, however if the problem continues to persist repetitive letters may not be the solution.

Step 2

Written Warning

Written warning letter(s) must be approved by a Labor Relations Representative before issuance. A template letter may be requested from a Labor Relations Consultant.

A written warning should:

  • State clearly at the outset of the letter that it is a written warning, and cite the appropriate personnel policy or contract provision.
  • Describe the performance problem(s) or work rule violation(s) in very specific detail and attach documents which support the supervisor’s conclusions.
  • Outline previous steps taken to acquaint the employee with the issue and attach copies of the documents that are referred to.
  • Describe the impact of the problem.
  • Note the employee’s explanation or that the employee declined to offer one. If it was unacceptable, the supervisor should explain why.
  • Explain the expectations regarding behavior and/or performance.
  • Clarify that if the employee doesn’t demonstrate immediate and sustained improvement, the consequence may be further disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.
  • Note the appropriate policy or contract provision for the employee’s appeal rights.
  • The warning letter should be delivered to the employee using appropriate delivery procedures such as Proof of Service, and a copy forwarded to the Labor Relations Department to be placed in the employee’s personnel file.

A suspension without pay, reduction of pay within a class, demotion to a lower classification or dismissal may be the next step in the progressive disciplinary process after written warning(s).

Step 3

Disciplinary Action

Suspension without pay – A suspension without pay prevents an employee from working and is without pay for one or more days.

The letter should:

State that the action is a suspension without pay.

Inform the employee of the number of days they will be suspended with the beginning and ending dates.

Describe the problem, the previous corrective measures, and the impact of the continued behavior or performance.

State the supervisor’s expectations and the consequences of failure to improve.

Notify the employee of their appeal rights, if appropriate.

Depending upon the contract or personnel program the employee is covered by, a letter of intent to suspend may be required, which provides the employee with the right to appeal the intended action to the next higher management level before the action is implemented. Contact your Labor Relations Department as well as the appropriate policy or contract for more information. A template letter maybe requested from your Labor Relations Department.

Reduction of pay within a class – This alternative is normally used when a supervisor does not wish to remove the employee from the work site, but serious discipline is appropriate. Contact your Labor Relations Department for more information regarding this action.

Demotion to a Lower Classification – This alternative is normally used when a supervisor does not wish to remove the employee from the work site, but serious discipline is appropriate. Contact your Labor Relations Department for more information regarding this action.

Dismissal – This action may be appropriate after performance counseling and progressive corrective action have failed to get the employee to correct the problem(s). Contact your Labor Relations Department for more information regarding this action.

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