Is a procedural short cut punishable?

On the one hand, procedures are set up to be followed. On the other, employees should be encouraged to use their imagination and initiative.

04/01/1998


On the one hand, procedures are set up to be followed. On the other, employees should be encouraged to use their imagination and initiative. Where does one draw the line?

Maintenance department Fork lift Operator Bill Falk figured he could save an extra trip by stacking his vehicle with more cases of heavy components than the procedure manual called for. When the load toppled, damaging four cartons of merchandise, Foreman Frank Sutter felt Falk should be penalized for failing to follow instructions. He handed the employee a disciplinary layoff.

Falk protested the suspension on the grounds that he was trying to save time on the job, and also that he had misjudged the load's weight, a human error anyone could have made. Sutter contended that an experienced operator like Falk should have calculated the weight beforehand, and should have understood the dangers of overload.

When Falk threatened a grievance unless the suspension was lifted, Sutter made a beeline for his boss' office.

Question: Do you think the suspension was justified?

Benson's verdict: Plant Engineer Ralph Benson agreed with Sutter that an experienced operator like Falk should have had the good sense to check the load's weight before transporting it. Nonetheless he instructed the foreman to reduce the penalty to an official warning notice.

"For one thing," he said, "Falk is a well-rated worker. Although his judgment was faulted, his intentions were good. In addition, similar accidents have occurred in the past, admittedly with less or no damage involved, in which no discipline was imposed. When a discipline is imposed, consistency is usually a major consideration in rulings by arbitrators."





No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Intelligent, efficient PLC programming: Cost-saving programming languages are available now; Automation system upgrades; Help from the cloud; Improving flow control; System integration tips
Smarter machines require smarter systems; Fixing PID, part 3; Process safety; Hardware and software integration; Legalities: Integrated lean project delivery
Choosing controllers: PLCs, PACs, IPCs, DCS? What's best for your application?; Wireless trends; Design, integration; Manufacturing Day; Product Exclusive
PLCs, robots, and the quest for a single controller; how OEE is key to automation solutions.
This article collection contains several articles on improving the use of PID.
Learn how Industry 4.0 adds supply chain efficiency, optimizes pricing, improves quality, and more.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again