It is sometimes difficult to speak up in the workplace, even if we know it affects our own health and safety.

anonymous

Think how you might respond in the following dilemmas:

  • You’re new to the job. There’s an apparent defect with the equipment you’re using, though everyone else seems to be using it without issue. Something doesn’t feel right, but should you make a fuss in your first week at work?
  • A good colleague has taken on a second job to meet their financial commitments. When you see them nearly falling asleep while operating machinery, you decide to have a quiet word with them. It keeps on happening, but you are finding it hard to report them, even though it could cause an incident.
  • It’s near the end of your shift and everyone is eager to go home as soon as they can. You’ve observed a working practice which seems unsafe to you. If you raise the issue now, it is going to make you unpopular. Should you just keep it to yourself for the moment?

In all these scenarios, many people would argue there is a reportable safety issue that should be tackled there and then. Yet social or peer pressure can stop us doing what we think is the right thing.

A safe place to talk: using CIRAS to speak up

Is there something you would like to bring up at work, but are afraid of the potential consequences? If you don’t feel confident that it is safe to speak up about health or safety in the workplace, CIRAS is here to listen.

You can report to us in complete confidence knowing that your identity will always be protected. There have never been any confidentiality breaches.

Speaking up in tough environments

There are many situations where speaking up could improve health and safety. This isn’t always easy, so here are some tips for overcoming the barriers:

  • Don’t be afraid of raising a concern just because you are new to the job. The chances are that others feel the same.
  • The taboo against ‘grassing somebody up’ may need to be broken to help someone do their job more safely. They may end up thanking you for it.

If you’re finding that your concern falls on deaf ears, or it is proving too much of a challenge to raise internally, report to CIRAS.