Money is behind the hollowness of many companies’ stop work policies. Sure, if you see something, say something. A change in weather conditions. An emergency situation. A near-miss incident. A lack of knowledge as to how to proceed. Unsafe conditions. Equipment used improperly. All legitimate risks. All often ignored by the workers who have the authority to halt work. Why?
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.