When you have a complex supply chain, issues may occur with oversight responsibility for various operations. Fundamentally some of this emanates from the industry’s reaction and response to the promulgation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
The intent of a “stop work authority” (SWA) when included in a safety program is to empower employees to take action when they see a situation that is unsafe or think a worker may get injured. Though the SWA process and practice may seem as beneficial at many levels in dealing with operational risk and worker safety; there potentially may be some unforeseen barriers or challenges to its actual utilization.
In spite of about 70 years since the start of passages of workers compensation laws and organization’s best efforts, injuries and fatalities still occurred, but at a somewhat reduced rate. Three factors come to light regarding occupational safety rules: regulation, management and practices.
Research indicates complacency results from what is known as “Confirmation Bias.” This causes a person to interpret or look for information which confirms their currently held belief. This is true of just about everyone, when they assess actions, state of mind or beliefs of other people or groups.
To improve their safety, outcomes some organizations advocate "everyone is responsible for safety." The thinking behind this is that it will create a universal mindset in their workforce to actively engage everyone. The fundamental problem with this thinking is that it is not practical to hold a group accountable for individual behavior.
Preventable injuries culminate from a series of sequential events, as represented by five dominos. The first represents the task or situation, followed by some faulty worker decision, resulting in the unsafe action, which leads to an accident and the inevitable injury. By tipping the first domino all tend to fall, and by removing some of the intervening domino the accident can be eliminated. Hence the belief that workers decisions or actions are the primary cause of accidents.