The HR Forum

Hi all,

I'm quite new to the HR side of things coming from a H&S background and I'm looking for some advice regarding how everyone deals with a health & safety investigation that recommends that disciplinary action is taken against an employee.

Our current process is a follows

1. Health & Safety team investigate an event in full and finds that H&S policy has been breached.

2. The Health & Safety Manager agrees that there should be a disciplinary based upon the evidence which has been found by the team.

3. A supervisor then reviews the same findings and decides if the disciplinary should go ahead.(the HR Investigation for the disciplinary)

4. If it is decided that it should then a different supervisor is brought abreast of the findings and holds the disciplinary meeting with the individual.

This has been raised as a query by the health & safety team as to why a Supervisor is allowed to potentially override a Manager's decision, and why does a second investigation need to be done when they have already completed one, especially as they are the competent specialists in Health & Safety within the company, so should surely know if H&S policy has been breached

Our current HR Manager has stated that this is because the disciplinary process must be separate from the H&S investigation and must be completed in full, including a separate investigation, and that it's not up the Health & Safety team to decide if an investigation should be a disciplinary.

I can see both side of things and was wondering how these sorts of events are managed within your workplaces? It sort of feels like step 3 is just a duplicate and is a potential waste of both time and money however it does create a perception of separation between the two investigations

I welcome your thoughts and comments

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Replies

  • Hi Zylene,

    We have a similar process at my workplace and often the disciplinary investigation uses or builds on the work done by the health and safety department (or other department, such as loss prevention). The purpose of this is so that we can look at the specifics of what has happened in relation to our disciplinary policy and identify if there have been breaches of process/procedure or if in fact the learnings of the incident may in fact be something along the lines of more training for the affected employee(s).

    The way we tend to put it to health and safety is that their investigations are helpful in us ascertaining the best course of action and we may then need to add additional information to this in order to either progress this to disciplinary or to recommend further appropriate action. This seems to work for us so far...

    I hope this helps,

    Mary

    • Hi Mary,

      Thank you very much for your reply. it is very interesting to understand how other companies are managing this situation.

      Seems like at least a variation of our process is working well in yours and other companies

  • Hi Zylene

    Yes I can see what you mean, as the logic would go that if the H&S team decided that there had been an infringement of H&S policy that this then would be considered under the disciplinary, although (and not to confuse matters) sometimes we used to deal with H&S matters as capability, e.g. if it was a lack of training issue.

    I can however see your HR Manager's point and I guess all the supervisor is doing would be to review the investigation report which the H&S team have produced to decide if there is a case to answer under the Company's disciplinary procedure. 

    However as with all these things it generally boils down to is the employer acting reasonably and sometimes there is no right or worng answer you could argue it both ways.  But my view is that I think the above sounds sensible and would agree with the current process which you have in place.

    I hope this helps

    Sarah

    • Hi Sarah,

      Thanks for your thoughts, It is reassuring to see that other people are having the same double sided view points as me regarding this matter. Both Mary and yourself have given me good angles for me to expand on with the H&S team.

      Zylene

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