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Fired for messing up for the first time on a core safety mandate.

by Brandon Lane
(Holly Pond,AL,USA)

I was a Maint. Supervisor and was called to the box room due to the main Ice auger in the plant was down. I noticed that the contact for the system was not pulling in like it should. The pressure was on me to get this critical auger going. I pulled the 480v incoming leads out and it slipped out of my hand and touched the neutral, which caused it to phase out and blow up in my face. Nobody was hurt but the Maint. Manager sent me home for 5 day suspension due to me breaking a safety core mandate. The one that I broke was the Lock out Tag out procedure which I did not do. This was not malicious or purposely trying to get away with not locking out. It was the first time I ever was counseled or wrote up. I feel that I was treated unfairly and I honestly think they done this to save them money, due to the poultry businesses hard financial strain. This is the truth and it is on my investigation report.


Thanks,
Brandon


Hi Brandon,

It really depends on what the employer's policy states the discipline for this is. If it calls for progressive discipline and this was the first instance you would want to point this out to the state.

Employers generally take safety policies very seriously and lockout/tagout procedures are very basic procedures or as you said "core mandates". And it's possible the employer felt that because you were a supervisor...you should have known better. A mandate does not leave much if any room for error.

Take a look at the handbook and see what it says, if it says a one time instance could lead to immediate termination...you may very well be fighting a losing battle here.

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