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I am sure that your occupational health and safety programs always run smoothly, with never a hiccup.  No one questions the policies in place, your employees follow procedures to the “letter of the law” always do what they are supposed to, right?  Unfortunately, we all know this is certainly not always the case and as an occupational health consultant, I am often asked what should a company do about non-compliance.

Fortunately, non-compliant employees are typically the outliers.  I do, however, work with a client that has trouble with a large number of non-compliant employees.  At times, employees will simply opt-out of various occupational health and safety programs.  How does this happen and how do these employees still retain their jobs?  These programs are designed to keep them safe and healthy, and come at no cost to the employee.

To combat non-compliance, be sure your health and safety policies clearly reflect the responsibility of the employee and dictate what the expectations are as well as the consequences for non-compliance.  OSHA will fine your company if employees are non-compliant with OSHA standards, but what about the other occupational health and safety programs that go above and beyond what OSHA requires?  Double check your policies and make sure they speak to non-compliance and the actions taken to ensure compliance.

I work with employers in many different industries and continue to discuss this topic with them.  Many times, the programs not only protect the employee, but also protect the customers of your organization.  If you have employees that are non-compliant, reeducate them on the reason the surveillance needs to be done.  Secondly, double and triple check your policies to make sure they speak to repercussions of non-compliance.  Thirdly, discuss the ramifications of continued non-compliance.  And finally, follow through with disciplinary action or termination.

It is up to us as occupational and safety professionals to make sure we do everything we can to keep our employees safe and healthy!  If you have any questions regarding occupational health or dealing with non-compliance, please contact me directly at (919) 459-5275 or lgallion@ei1.com.