Performing the Work

Of course, the time for heightened awareness is when you are actually working. Nothing about work on a DOE site should be ‘left on autopilot’!  Think your way through each step. Don’t concentrate only on the activity you are doing–look at the environment around you and what other workers are doing.  Has the weather changed? Is there enough light to continue? Is everything reacting the way you thought it would? If there are things that don’t make sense, take a break–ask the question–reassure yourself that you and your team are still safe before you proceed. 

So, what do you do if you determine that the work you have to perform will put you in harm’s way? Under normal circumstances, all you need to do is discuss the issues with your supervisor. If you find yourself in a situation where you feel that starting the work will put you in a position where you feel your life or safety are in real jeopardy, 851 states that you have the right–and the responsibility–to decline starting the work. Also, if you are engaged in a work activity and find yourself in a situation where you feel that continuing the activity will put you or any of your team at risk, you have the responsibility to stop the job. The ways to use your right to decline and stop work are spelled out in each contractor’s safety and health plan. Your first priority is to keep yourself and your fellow workers safe and informing your supervisor is the first step in that activity. The contractor is required to take action to ensure your safety, so bring your concerns forward immediately.

If the choice is made to decline work, or stop work, you should consider how best to exit the work site. If just leaving the work area ‘as is’ would put others at risk, an effort should be made, if possible, to leave the work area in a safe condition.