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Anyone Ever Have a Coworker Break Into His / Her Toolbox?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by JoeLee View Post

    My machines and tools stay in my shop and no one uses them.
    so that's how they stay so clean!
    in Toronto Ontario - where are you?

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Mcgyver View Post

      so that's how they stay so clean!
      You got it !! You must be watching me closely.

      JL...................

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      • #18
        FT --- a locked box is a locked box for a reason, it's a direct violation of your boundaries, Get pissed and tell him all's he had to do was ask, what you do after that is your call but if you let him stay at least you made it perfectly clear what the score is --- and yeah if you can him it's a little harsh but actually well within your right,

        Personally I don't think id go the latter route either --- but he would know for damn sure he F'ed up bad...

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        • #19
          Originally posted by swatkins View Post
          The way I understand this is the tools in that box are your own personal tools not used for company projects, Right? There are other tools the company uses for business purposes and the tools in that box are there so you don't use company tools for your projects.. IF that is the case I would explain it to everyone and post it on your tool box.... They might not understand your arraignment and you might have to be the bad guy and not use your tools on their projects...
          Correct.

          It's not hard to understand the three main points in the original post.

          1) I would setup a machine shop within the facility using my own equipment.
          2) We also agreed that the company would cover any damages to the machines and pay for all consumable items (tooling, etc.)
          3). I have a Harbor Freight tool chest over there that I keep locked full of my own consumables for personal projects (e.g. endmills, drillbits, taps, lathe cutting tools, welding rod, etc.).

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          • #20
            A friend had a coworker steal a newly purchased tool (plus the credit-card receipt!) out of a large toolchest at an auto-dealership. The tool and receipt were later located in the thief's toolbox.

            The individual had a certain "history", and a reputation for being an indifferent/incompetent mechanic. Still, it took management 3 or 4 years to make up their mind and fire him.

            As far as the OP's situation: nobody should be entering his toolbox, much less picking the lock, without _prior_ permission.

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            • #21
              NO. just no. In every place I've ever worked, going into someone else's box for any reason is completely verboten, even if its wide open.

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              • #22
                Thanks guys. Some of you brought up the possibility of misunderstanding that the tools in the locked box were personal items and that's a good point. Historically, we (the company) never lock up tools or equipment but it's not uncommon for people to bring in personal property and lock it up (even in our EE department) so I assumed it was an obvious distinction but it may not have been. To be fair, the employee in question has some of his own personal tools in the facility, too. In fact, he has both company tools and personal tools in his personal tool box and therefore never locks it up. Nevertheless, if I need something from his box - even if it's a tool I bought on behalf of the company - I still ask his permission because I always assumed someone's toolbox was sort of sacrosanct. I think this was just a case of misunderstanding but I do think there is a "cultural" problem in the facility that can be addressed.

                A few other clarifications:

                The company does have two other machine shops but they are in different facilities. Our company has been around for about 45 years but in many ways it has a "start up" feel to it. The environment here is significantly different than what you would find at a larger defense contractor. Within the company, there are many smaller enterprises that are incubated and then spun off as an independent company once they become successful. And we have a very good track record with this process. I don't want to give the impression that the company is a hack or mismanaged. My group is in the process of growing and I'm given a grate deal of latitude to setup my facility as I see fit. I was basically handed the keys to a completely empty 6000 square foot facility and told to do whatever I want so long as it's legal, follows the company's policies (as far as safety, quality, culture, etc.), and is profitable. The more successful my group is, the better it is for me personally in the long run, so there is incentive besides just having some extra space to tinker for me to be personally invested. Also, with the exception of maybe two "project" machines and my welder, the others are ones that I would like to someday sell - likely to the company but I'm prepared to sell to a private party or to take back to my personal shop in a matter of days. And if they got "gobbled" up, it wouldn't be the end of the world. We're talking about pretty small stuff - Bridgeports and the like.

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                • #23
                  I understand FT's dilemma, said he considers the guy a friend, it's a tool the guy borrowed before, the guy did own up to everything and is getting a new lock,

                  does that make it right ? HELL NO!!! and he would absolutely know that fact --- just don't think with all things considered that I could can him over it....

                  sometimes the urge to build things overrides all common sense --- it's allot like how girls get prettier around closing time, he wasn't thinking straight and got caught up in the hoopla...

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                  • #24
                    If you hurt yourself using “your” machines on your employers premises good luck making any kind of claim, plus you would need public liability insurance in case you hurt somebody, you built a minefield I’m afraid, however it is out of order to break into a toolbox or locker.
                    mark

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by boslab View Post
                      If you hurt yourself using “your” machines on your employers premises good luck making any kind of claim, plus you would need public liability insurance in case you hurt somebody, you built a minefield I’m afraid, however it is out of order to break into a toolbox or locker.
                      mark
                      If I hurt myself using my machines, it would be my fault, regardless of whether or not I was doing work for my employer. If my employer asks me to do something I'm not comfortable with, I won't do it. If I'm comfortable with it, then I own the risk - not my employer - and I pay the medical bills. But that is a personal choice (one I've exercised in the past when I got hurt on the job) and you bring up a good point regarding liability. I had a conversation about this with our legal department but I'm sure they are biased in favor of the company.

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                      • #26
                        I think a lot depends on the culture of the shop. In my first shop I ran into a problem when we needed a tool or fixture for a job that was locked in someone's toolbox when they went on vacation. I was told to get Pete, as he knew how to pick locks on Kennedy boxes. It was the kind of shop where you often held company property in your box and almost nobody locked things. We got in the box, got what we needed to get the job out the door and when the guy came back he had no problem with Pete opening his box and was apologetic for locking it. It was not a place you would ever worry about something being stolen or misused and everyone knew the job must get done.

                        Not all places are like that and I've had to keep things locked in a few shops. Had my box been picked in the first shop to get something done -- not a problem. Had it been picked in some of the other shops, it would have been a big problem.

                        So, give thought to the culture of the place and how the machinists work. In a shop were all workers trust each other and all have a high level of commitment to getting the job done, guys might have a different perspective on this.
                        George
                        Traverse City, MI

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                        • #27
                          Most places I've been, its considered rude to go in another guy's box, even if you completely trust each other. Those shops had the Company's tools, you had your tools, the other guys had their tools. Everyone was responsible for the company's tools, making sure they were all put back, etc. And for their own. My own rule is if I have to borrow something once, then I will buy it. The company always had power tools and shop supplies -- employees only had to have hand tools.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by A.K. Boomer View Post
                            I understand FT's dilemma, said he considers the guy a friend, it's a tool the guy borrowed before, the guy did own up to everything and is getting a new lock,

                            does that make it right ? HELL NO!!! and he would absolutely know that fact --- just don't think with all things considered that I could can him over it....

                            sometimes the urge to build things overrides all common sense --- it's allot like how girls get prettier around closing time, he wasn't thinking straight and got caught up in the hoopla...
                            If the guy is a friend outside of work and you are the boss of the prototype/development shop, then you are neither the boss nor his supervisor.
                            Can't have it both ways. He didn't respect your property and should have stopped well short of damaging the lock

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                            • #29
                              otoh....those Kennedy's are pretty easy to pick....maybe the firing should be for general mechanical ineptitude
                              in Toronto Ontario - where are you?

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                              • #30
                                I agree in that you've made yourself a tricky situation. The main issue is that your company used your personal locked up tools for business purposes, which established the precedent that whenever needed your tools could be used by workers at your company. From the other worker's point of view, those were tools available for company use that you'd made unavailable by locking them up, thus preventing him from doing his job = break lock. With hindsight the better option would have been to say no to the request to use your slitting saw, then buy one using company funds for company use, even if the project had to wait a day for delivery.

                                However, I can see it being really difficult to draw any kind of line in the sand over company vs. private property when it's your personal property (the machines) that they're using to do the work. I'd negotiate to sell them that toolbox with all the consumables/ small tools in it to the company, then if you want to have any of your own tools on site, bring them in using a small portable toolbox that you take home with you when you leave.

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