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


A reader writes:

I work in a small analysis lab (lower than 10 folks complete, together with our CEO) as a scientist. I’m in command 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.

Considered one of 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 document this time to be able to keep away from getting in hassle 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 manner, regardless that 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. After we identified that the danger of screwing up is increased once you don’t sleep, he received extraordinarily defensive and would say that until we discovered fault together with his information, there was no downside. I figured the habits would cease as soon as we have been achieved with the mission, however he has continued to do it. I broached the subject as soon as since then and he received 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 extremely good coworker and I like working with him rather a lot, so I don’t wish 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 perhaps it’s advantageous? I assume my questions are:

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

2) Ought to I simply preserve 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 pondering it’s harmful for somebody to be in a lab alone at night time?

I can’t converse to hazardous supplies legal guidelines in any respect, however what you’ve described positive feels like a security threat and a authorized legal responsibility to me. You’d have standing to talk up about that regardless, however you will have 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 just — the individual in command 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 just weren’t keen to maintain his secret anymore: “Dude, you already know you’ll be able to’t sleep right here and it’s a security situation. Should you preserve 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 keen to cover what he’s doing (and may simply intentionally conceal it from you in the event you warn him) and as a result of he’s gotten offended once you’ve raised it earlier than, simply discuss to your boss. Your coworker in all probability 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, by which case that’s in your coworker anyway) however your boss must know.

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