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my coworker is working alone in a single day regardless of specific directions to not — Ask a Supervisor


A reader writes:

I work in a small analysis lab (lower than 10 individuals complete, together with our CEO) as a scientist. I’m in control of OSHA compliance and making certain that we’re following native and federal security requirements. We work with hazardous supplies, together with biohazardous supplies, compressed gasses, and chemical substances.

One in all my coworkers, who I’ve no authority over, has been staying at work in a single day, working a complete of as much as 36 hours at a time. He typically takes naps in between, however not at all times. He doesn’t file this time with the intention to keep away from getting in bother with our boss. He has been instructed a number of occasions that he isn’t allowed to do that, so he he tries to maintain it a secret. Nonetheless, typically he tells me in a cheeky means, although he is aware of I don’t approve.

He began doing this throughout a crunch interval after we have been attempting to gather a considerable amount of information in a brief time frame, so he was staying to run experiments. Once we identified that the chance of screwing up is increased if you don’t sleep, he acquired extraordinarily defensive and would say that until we discovered fault along with his information, there was no drawback. I figured the conduct would cease as soon as we have been carried out with the challenge, however he has continued to do it. I broached the subject as soon as since then and he acquired offended, claiming that persons are attempting to micromanage him. So I don’t know why he’s nonetheless doing it, and even what he’s doing.

He’s in any other case a very good coworker and I like working with him lots, so I don’t need to get him fired.

I can’t discover any particular legal guidelines that say he isn’t allowed to be at work in a single day, so possibly it’s effective? I assume my questions are:

1) Do I’ve a obligation right here? What a few ethical one?

2) Ought to I simply maintain the key and fake to not know? Am I an asshole if I inform our boss, doubtlessly getting him fired?

3) Am I overreacting by considering it’s harmful for somebody to be in a lab alone at evening?

I can’t communicate to hazardous supplies legal guidelines in any respect, however what you’ve described certain appears like a security danger and a authorized legal responsibility to me. You’d have standing to talk up about that regardless, however you’ve much more standing to talk up since you’re charged with making certain lab security. Given the security implications, I’d say sure, you do have an ethical obligation to say one thing.

If one thing occurs whereas your coworker is there alone in a single day and it comes out that you simply — the particular person in control of security — knew and didn’t say something … that’s not good.

And no, you wouldn’t be an asshole for telling your boss. If it have been one thing extra minor, I’d recommend first giving your coworker a warning that you simply weren’t prepared to maintain his secret anymore: “Dude, you already know you possibly can’t sleep right here and it’s a security subject. Should you maintain doing it, I’m obligated to inform (boss). Please don’t put me in that place.” However with this degree of seriousness and since your coworker has already proven he’s prepared to cover what he’s doing (and may simply intentionally conceal it from you when you warn him) and as a result of he’s gotten offended if you’ve raised it earlier than, simply discuss to your boss. Your coworker most likely isn’t going to get fired over this (until your boss instructed him the final time that he’d be fired if he didn’t cease, during which case that’s in your coworker anyway) however your boss must know.

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