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#1 Posted : 28 July 2001 21:25:00(UTC)
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Posted By Graham Clarke MIOSH, MIIRSM
Someone within my organisation wrote a rather scathing letter to the HSE, highlighting points I raised with Senior Management previous, (to which nothing was done). My questions are simple; if this person were to be unmasked so to speak, could the company sack them? believe me it would not be for writting the letter, but would be on another issue they would uncover. If the HSE came in am I right in assuming they would want to interview me as the Safety Manager?
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#2 Posted : 29 July 2001 20:09:00(UTC)
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Posted By Ian Waldram
Normally when HSE receive a complaint, either by telephone 'hotline' or letter, they will contact the 'complainant' privately to learn whether or not they wish to be openly identified. If the individual wants their personal involvement to remain confidential, HSE are very good about respecting this.

For example, an Inspector might decide to visit to check for him/herself, but it would be VERY unlikely that they would tell anyone that was the reason for their visit, at least until after collecting relevant evidence for themselves. Thus whether or not HSE would meet with the H&S Manager would depend very much on the substance of the complaint. (It's not clear whether the 'scathing letter' was in respect of HSE's work, your own comments, or the management of the organisation.

Obviously, when HSE get any kind of complaint, it demonstrates that the communication systems which should allow the issue to be discussed and resolved internally aren't working as well as they should be. Thus the Inspector will be assessing that issue too, as well as the issue being complained about, and the competence and trust of the OSH professional is often an important factor in their ultimate view about what the issue really is.
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#3 Posted : 30 July 2001 13:51:00(UTC)
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Posted By Richard
Technically, of course, staff cannot be sacked for complaining about genuine H&S issues but ............! It's a bit like sexual discrmination/harassment cases. Very few of the staff that bring them are still with the relevant company six months later.

HSE will not necessarily wish to see the company H&S professional, on the other hand the inspector may be only too pleased to talk to someone who knows the difference between "practicable" and "reasonably practicable"!!

This has happened to me twice in the last five months(same employee, different complaint). On both occasions the inspector spoke to the relevant line manager in the first place, who invited me along, and while I and my views were treated with consummate courtesy and consideration, I don't think anyone was in any doubt that it was the management chain that the hot seat!

One thing you can be sure of. HSE inspectors are scrupulously fair and honest, and are certainly not witch hunters. I'm not so naive as to believe I run a perfect operation, but on both occasions the inspector was happy with the arrangements in place, and made no recommendations.

I genuinely believe that those with nothing to hide have nothing to fear.

Richard
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