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O.T. How to deal with difficult people at work

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  • O.T. How to deal with difficult people at work

    How do you deal with difficult people at work?

    I have a situation here where a difficult / ignorant co-worker is causing a health and safety concern. My employers have provided us with the proper equipment to use. ie. Dust collector that is hooked up to all surface grinders, fume extractor for welding. My issue with this guy is: he will not use the dust collector for the surface grinders (I'm glad he doesn't know how to weld), the other workers also don't care, as they seem to value his opinion. When the dust collector isn't on I can smell the dust across the shop, which is definitely not good for anyone's health, I will turn it on, he just shuts it off. I've confronted him about this by simply asking why he does this, he gave me a serious attitude saying "I don't care" and went onto personal criticisms directed at me. It's obvious to me that he does not like to be told. I've worked for this company since they started in '04, and never had an issue with the 45 people that have been through there. I've asked the boss how we can make proper use of the dust collector, he said we'll have to make a rule that when the grinders are on it has to be on also. That was almost 2 months ago, I've mentioned it to him again and nothing has been done about it. Maybe I was being too general and polite.
    Since the co-worker is unreasonable to deal with, how do I tactfully discuss this issue with the bosses to have a healthier work environment without seemingly being a snitch or as a person who is difficult to deal with as well?
    I kind of feel stuck, damned if you do, damned if you don't.
    I'd like to hear of any experiences or advice you guys may have.

  • #2
    sounds like a typical situation same as elsewhere,where the bosses are too whimpy to deal with the problem.

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    • #3
      Come in after hours and wire up a relay so you can't turn on the grinder without the collector coming on, and don't tell anyone you did it.

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      • #4
        I suppose you could spend time trying to explain the hazards of the dust to the health of the employees, machines, and the consequent impact it would have on the company bottom line. Or just wire the dust collector so that it comes on when the surface grinder is turned on.
        I cut it twice, and it's still too short!
        Scott

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        • #5
          Why does he not like to use the dust collector?

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          • #6
            Explain how someone could sue the company for lung damage. That sometimes interests whimpy,lazy bosses.

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            • #7


              These come in various lengths and weights. There aren't many attitudes they won't re-adjust.
              - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
              Thank you to our families of soldiers, many of whom have given so much more then the rest of us for the Freedom we enjoy.

              It is true, there is nothing free about freedom, don't be so quick to give it away.

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              • #8
                Phil,
                Your in Ontario, Does your province have "Right to refuse" legislation the same as B.C. does? If so, Simply walk out the door everytime it happens. But I'm thinking you might not. Y.O.D.s solution would be funny & effective, And from what I've read, Well deserved. This isn't the 1900s where the health effects wern't understood. I'd mention to the "boss" that if the problem isn't dealt with then your going to be forced to move up the ladder in the company and thru various government workplace safety boards. Document all conversations. The safety system is there and one guy won't use it? That pretty well explains what he thinks of his fellow workers. Your right in your point of view, I sure wouldn't be worried about what he thinks. Your fellow workers should be backing you up 100% also.

                Pete

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                • #9
                  Time to be blunt and direct with your boss to the point he understands it isn't a personal preference of yours but an Occupational Health and Safety issue that if not addressed as required by workplace rules will result in your going to them directly. Let him know that he can be held personally responsible for not following OHSA rules...something he may not know or believe. There is also the issue of workplace harassment and bullying which I believe the other worker is subjecting you to by deliberately not using the ventilation system and saying he don't care and with his personal criticisms directed at you. The boss's refusal to do anything about it makes him complicit with it. At one time that was tolerated but today, it's one of the things that really seems to be taken very seriously. It's commonly called a Toxic Workplace.
                  Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Arcane
                    Time to be blunt and direct with your boss to the point he understands it isn't a personal preference of yours but an Occupational Health and Safety issue that if not addressed as required by workplace rules will result in your going to them directly. Let him know that he can be held personally responsible for not following OHSA rules...something he may not know or believe. There is also the issue of workplace harassment and bullying which I believe the other worker is subjecting you to by deliberately not using the ventilation system and saying he don't care and with his personal criticisms directed at you. The boss's refusal to do anything about it makes him complicit with it. At one time that was tolerated but today, it's one of the things that really seems to be taken very seriously. It's commonly called a Toxic Workplace.
                    This is well stated.

                    Documentation, Documentation, Documentation be sure to document EVERY instance in detail. When you go to the employer with a stack of papers documenting health hazards, management tends to listen. If they don’t then maybe someday they will be working for you. OSHA frowns upon this type of thing and can and will fine the company and the individual if necessary.

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                    • #11
                      issac338 and Scottike- I like your idea of wiring the dust collector to the grinders. That will certainly be dummy proof.

                      Tony- I think he doesn't like the dust collector because it makes noise. Earplugs are provided, and it is tolerable.

                      gwilson: That would concern them for sure.

                      Y.O.D.-Thanks, that gave me a good laugh.

                      Pete- We do have the right to refuse unsafe work in Ontario. That is a good point that we're no longer in the 1900's. We should be able to learn from our history and make corrections, unfortunately some choose ignorance. I will document my conversations.

                      Arcane and Theiskell, very good points and advice I can use.

                      Thanks guys

                      My employers are decent people to work for, hopefully they listen this time, I do like my job.

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                      • #12
                        I would not get too anal about it with the bosses -- and trying to go through all the "proper protocol" will do just that and might just earn you a "reputation" and make life really really tough on you --- here's what you could do - you could do the wiring thing but why not just let it be? take pleasure in whatever dust particulates your smelling he's inhaling 50 times the amount ---- karma will get real ugly for him down the road - feel free to bring in a light duty particulate mask and where it when he fires the grinder up ---- everyone will think your a nerd and but that's ok cuz u know what the score is

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                        • #13
                          Isn't the dust getting onto the machinery,too? Aren't the bosses concerned about AT LEAST not needlessly wearing out their machinery? Sounds like they haven't thought about that,or it wasn't their money that bought them.

                          Check the parking lot for cameras and slash his tires,put nails under them,etc.. Report to the IRS anonymously that the guy is making unreported extra income,selling stuff for cash. A million ways to make his life unbearable. He's an ass for not turning on the collector and he's pooping in your face.

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                          • #14
                            Next time he turns on the grinder and not the dust collector just go over and turn off the grinder. Point to the dust collector. When he turns the grinder on again you turn it off again. When he touches you then lay him out. Point made. Of course I am a barbarian and a big well trained one at that!!
                            Location: The Black Forest in Germany

                            How to become a millionaire: Start out with 10 million and take up machining as a hobby!

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                            • #15
                              or if it "smells a bit like smoke" hit the fire alarms....thought something was on fire.

                              Guess I am fortunate that the only time I had to deal with an idiot like this I had the authority to tell him next time he was dismissed immediately for breach of safety requirements....never happened again.

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