Safety and Your Neighbor’s Roof

We observe unsafe acts all the time. It might be the roofing operation next door. Perhaps it’s the landscape contractor routinely using a leaf blower without hearing protection. Maybe it is our own family member insisting on cleaning out gutters precariously balanced on a ladder.

In a recent discussion among safety professionals, many shared the ethical dilemma of seeing serious safety violations unrelated to one’s own work operation. We all know that the decision to be safe is 24-7,  not just during work hours, and perhaps we pay attention especially when it involves our loved ones. But what is the ethical responsibility for those we don’t know, when in fact, we may know better?

Some of us attempt to raise awareness among those at risk. Many of us have been rebuffed or ignored as we attempt to share what we know.   Sometimes when we are concerned enough, we simply call OSHA, in hopes of preventing another worker from suffering a life changing event. Anyone else lose sleep over this?

More information on workplace safety & health:
Oregon OSHA
Federal OSHA


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About the Author

Dede supports the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences and the Oregon Healthy WorkForce Center's research, engagement and education programs. She is a certified industrial hygienist.

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