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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Safety: Reporting Unsafe Working Conditions
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Reporting Unsafe Working Conditions

(from OSHA 3165 poster and adapted from Manual 230 - updated:12/5/2005)


Policy It is the policy of ARS to provide a safe workplace free of known hazards. Management will provide a safe work place through the use of proper design and maintenance of facilities, tracking of accidents, and job specific orientation and training of employees.
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If you believe that an unsafe condition exists that creates a hazard for yourself or co-workers, you should correct the hazard as soon as possible. Follow as many steps as necessary to resolve the problem. One need not progress to the next step once the problem is solved. Some hazards may not be easily correctable and therefore alternate controls may be instituted to prevent loss or injury. The procedure for reporting unsafe working conditions, listed in order, is as follows:
1. Correct the hazard yourself and report it to your supervisor.
2. Inform your supervisor of the hazard to be corrected.
3. Report the unsafe condition to a Management Unit Safety Committee member for resolution.
4. Report the unsafe condition to Cluster Environmental Protection Specialist (CEPS, 264-5137) and/or University of Wisconsin Safety Department (262-8769) for resolution.
5. Report the unsafe condition to ARS Midwest Area Safety and Health Manager in Peoria for resolution (309) 681-6608.
6. Report the unsafe condition to ARS Headquarters Safety and Health Branch in Beltsville. (301) 344-0218
7. Report the unsafe condition to Madison OSHA Area Office for resolution (608) 264-5388.
Note: You may request anonymity. Management may not retaliate for reporting unsafe conditions. Management must respond to Reports of Unsafe Working Conditions and post notices if findings of an Unsafe Condition are determined and the condition cannot be immediately corrected.

Don't forget to document attempts at resolution by lab log book, e-mail, or formal memo.

IMPORTANT: If you believe that a condition is so serious that it is immediately dangerous to your life or health (IDLH), you may STOP WORK until the situation is resolved. Examples of this include: serious toxic spill in the laboratory, tornado warning, fire alarm, failure of hood during venting of toxic substances. If you stop work due to this section, you still have a duty to report the unsafe conditions to management as appropriate.

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Last Modified: 3/12/2010
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