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-   -   Was there any disciplinary procedures in British R & TV factories? (https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/showthread.php?t=166289)

Chris55000 1st May 2020 4:26 pm

Was there any disciplinary procedures in British R & TV factories?
 
Hi!

Sorry if this one is a bit off–putting to other members, but as a soldering–iron mishap at work has resulted in me being sent home, with a potentially severe disciplinary sanction from my employer to follow, it set me thinking!

We tend to look at the old Radio and TV servicing days with rose–tinted glasses, and I'm as guilty as anyone here in that respect, but I honestly can't resist asking, did the old Radio and TV Assembly Plants and service workshops have disciplinary procedures as we know them today, or was it an age when employees truly were treated so well that such things hardly ever cropped up?

Whenever I look at the relatively friendly looking British Lettering in the circuit diagrams of our manuals (available elsewhere on this forum) it gives me a wistful feeling of friendly employers where you were hardly ever "called upstairs" that I don't get from today's Chinese–Puzzle style diagrams!

Chris Williams

Bazz4CQJ 1st May 2020 4:32 pm

Re: Was there any disciplinary procedures in British R & TV factories?
 
As the current Health and Safety Act came in in 1974, whatever went on before that date has very little relevance. Do you have written procedures at work and did you go through a formal training?

B

Chris55000 1st May 2020 4:49 pm

Re: Was there any disciplinary procedures in British R & TV factories?
 
Hi!

There are no written procedures and the only training was a brief chapter on Electrical Shocks from one of the public domain electronics theory books.

We have to provide all our hand tools except a soldering iron and a meter – the accident occured on Tuesday after the bench power had been switched off, and whilst packing away my tools to go (we had been warned that late departure would incur disciplinary proceedings due to c.v. precautions) I must have accidentally knocked my iron out if it's stand and it melted a hole in the lid of the isolated 110V socket at the back of the bench.

The damaged socket was immediately replaced by the shift manager and an electrically safety certified colleague and a replacement soldering iron issued to me. Nothing was said about the incident at the time it was noticed next morning.

I didn't realize this mishap had happened until next morning when I was shown it by the shift manager. He did acknowledge the power had been correctly turned off, so the mishap happened whilst the iron was cooling anyway.

No official guidance on how many or what tools we are to use is provided, each engineer uses their own personal ones!

(My previous employer had standard tool–kits with all tools laid in foam which were issued and returned for each shift, and soldering iron stands fixed to a safe place near the left hand bench edges, my current place has neither!).

Chris Williams

Oldtestgear 1st May 2020 5:13 pm

Re: Was there any disciplinary procedures in British R & TV factories?
 
I suspect that the disciplinary procedures back in the day were "moderated" by the strength, or otherwise, of the local trade union. A strong trade union would have ensured this sort of mishap would have been dealt with quietly & reasonably. Sadly accidents happen & these days the blame culture demands that someone is held accountable. Especially harsh as you were being threatened with disciplinary proceedings for not getting out fast enough. Glad that I am no longer working as these antics seem common.

Hope it works out.

Phil

Bazz4CQJ 1st May 2020 5:14 pm

Re: Was there any disciplinary procedures in British R & TV factories?
 
Ok, so you did not break any rules, but there was an accident with the iron falling from its stand, which they might argue was negligence?

My impression is that sending you home was very harsh. I'm struggling to recall any instance in my working life when someone was sent home. You have to ask, are they just looking for opportunities to get rid of people?

B

Cobaltblue 1st May 2020 5:41 pm

Re: Was there any disciplinary procedures in British R & TV factories?
 
Where I work such an indecent would be marked down as a near miss, I would speak to the workshop health and safety rep who would see if there were any procedures that could prevent danger to me or my colleagues in the future.
It would be all about preventing harm not apportioning blame, if you do something stupid the only negative side is likely to be the leg pulling of your colleagues.

The Labs and the Office space is Audited regularly for safety as well as security you can find a little post it note on your screens if you leave your desk without locking your laptop or leaving you boots in the walkway, just a friendly reminder although some repeat offenders have come back to find they have emailed a resignation letter to their line manager if they leave their PC unlocked :dunce: Not a real one but as a reminder what can happen on an unlocked machine.

We receive training on everything and if you feel uncomfortable using a piece of equipment you are unfamiliar with you can ask for a tool box talk or formal training depending on the requirements for it's safe use. All PPE and tools are provided and you are audited periodically to ensure it's all up to date and safe to use.

Whenever I am working with someone else we can audit each other and check our risk assessments.

We have lone working alarms and a very defined process for disciplinary procedures and you are entitled to a mentor or union representative if you find yourself in that position.

You have to be pretty damn irresponsible though to go down that route.

I often hear Elf and Safety gone mad and it can feel that way a little sometimes. But 2 years ago a friend died falling off a ladder, he was only 2M off the ground and he broke the cardinal rules we wasn't wearing his harness and he didn't maintain 3 points of contact. Quite a price to pay for the 2 minutes it takes to put your harness on.

I don't think I would like working where you are Chris.

Cheers

Mike T

robinshack 1st May 2020 6:03 pm

Re: Was there any disciplinary procedures in British R & TV factories?
 
My opinion is your treatment was completely unreasonable. It was not a deliberate act but an accident. I would have expected an investigation as to what went wrong and a procedure then discussed and printed copy given as to how to avoid it happening in the future. If you did it again, only then expect trouble.
Mind you, I was once told that using an additional different phase on an adjoining bench to power my covers off live repair equipment was perfectly ok. ( I didn't have enough 13A sockets). The reasoning from our H&S officer was that as I had raised the issue, I was fully aware and therefore there was no risk!
Rob

merlinmaxwell 1st May 2020 6:22 pm

Re: Was there any disciplinary procedures in British R & TV factories?
 
I agree with the "learn from mistakes" sentiment in this thread. The very worst should be your "line manager" calling you a twit (as an acknowledgement of your own feelings, not a rebuke), and no paperwork for that either. The safety system worked, bench power off, hence no additional damage/fire etc.. I assume the safety system is there to prevent this type of thing getting worse and I also assume that the company thought this sort of thing may happen and introduced the system.

Accidents happen, they should be lessons as many people have said in the past. Unfortunately some people get a kick out of telling people off.

Electronpusher0 1st May 2020 6:43 pm

Re: Was there any disciplinary procedures in British R & TV factories?
 
Speaking as a Health and Safety professional (NEBOSH diploma, Grad IOSH until I retired) I would say that in the absence of any written procedures, risk assessments or training your employers are on very dodgy ground disciplining you.
Quite the opposite, had you injured yourself on the soldering iron you would have grounds to sue your employer because of the lack of the said documents and training.


Peter

Hartley118 1st May 2020 7:28 pm

Re: Was there any disciplinary procedures in British R & TV factories?
 
A quiet word would have been the appropriate response from your boss.

Martin

Radio Wrangler 1st May 2020 7:35 pm

Re: Was there any disciplinary procedures in British R & TV factories?
 
Flip the problem over and look at it the other way. If they treat people like that and have so many disciplinary offences, is it a place you want to remain working at?

Obviously you don't want to leave under a cloud while this threat is being dangled over you, but you may want to look at other options once things are cleared. It seems that one threat of disciplinary action drives people out of the place before the irons have cooled. Would another one be pressure to keep working right up to the finishing time, leaving zero time for making things fully safe?

The lack of written procedures is a big no-no nowadays. Are they making things up as they go along?

Where I've worked, I'd have got a comment like "Good job you turned things off properly."

David

avocollector 1st May 2020 7:54 pm

Re: Was there any disciplinary procedures in British R & TV factories?
 
Totally unlike my (early 70's) days in factories - typically the foreman one day came out, gave one of the lads a light punch in the guts and said 'there you go! something early for Xmas from me!'. One beginner made the usual mistake and picked up a soldering iron by the wrong end - all the foreman said in reply to his yell, was 'Well!! you won't be doing that again, will you sunshine!'.

chriswood1900 1st May 2020 8:09 pm

Re: Was there any disciplinary procedures in British R & TV factories?
 
Chris
I have never seen or heard anything like that where I have worked in 40+ years, the most would be a verbal warning with the potential for a written warning and possible follow up sanctions if it was done again. If it was dangerous or life threatening and in breach of legislation or guidance you could expect an immediate reaction or suspension.
I have been a manager in much more dangerous environments than you described and have never treated anyone like that.
Looks to me like an excuse for other reasons as suggested by others.

Bazz4CQJ 1st May 2020 8:09 pm

Re: Was there any disciplinary procedures in British R & TV factories?
 
The next step could be that they give you a written warning and ask you to sign copy to confirm you have received it. I'm going to guess that there is no staff representation where you work, but ideally, you'd show that letter to someone knowledgeable of such matters who could offer guidance before you sign it.

I once received such a letter from our HR manager, which I totally ignored, and the subject was never mentioned again :shrug:! I'm not recommending that as a course of action.

B

Philips210 1st May 2020 8:21 pm

Re: Was there any disciplinary procedures in British R & TV factories?
 
Hi

We all know the soldering iron could have resulted in a fire but accidents can happen at any time and especially if put under pressure to leave the premises in a hurry. This alone could be grounds for dispute.

I know it might sound daft but could the soldering iron have been dislodged from its stand by someone else, also forced to leave in a rush?

It seems the company is being overly harsh and appear not to enjoy a good working relationship with their employees. A fair representation from a trade union would in the past have cleared the air.

I am not sure I'd like to work for such a business, not very pleasant by the look of things.

Regards,
Symon

Kentode 1st May 2020 9:07 pm

Re: Was there any disciplinary procedures in British R & TV factories?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris55000 (Post 1241287)
Hi!

There are no written procedures

Chris Williams

"The defence rests, m'lud...

Chris55000 1st May 2020 9:23 pm

Re: Was there any disciplinary procedures in British R & TV factories?
 
Hi!

I am truly grateful for the support and kindness of all the Members who have supported me in this incident.

As I said, the purpose of the question was just out of curiosity, since I have long suspected that the "blame culture" and "elf and safety" have been allowed to supervene over impartial and fair decisions!

I think Phil (oldtestgear) has answered the question on the head, as my workplace is not unionised (I suspect most of the other engineers are very reluctant to join one out of fear for their jobs), and unfortunately I didn't get round to joining Unite before this mishap occurred.

Obviously, a unionised workplace won't save your job if you commit an act of gross misconduct, etc., fighting, theft, etc., or any of the other most serious offences where dismissal would be customarily expected, but they would certainly have reined in the nonsense I've had imposed on me, I'm sure!

Chris Williams

kalee20 1st May 2020 11:09 pm

Re: Was there any disciplinary procedures in British R & TV factories?
 
There's two sides to the story - but it does seem unreasonable and totally over-reacting.

My company would investigate and ask for your help and suggestions as to how to prevent it, on the basis that next time, for someone else, it might be a live soldering iron as staff left their benches for coffee break.

McMurdo 1st May 2020 11:25 pm

Re: Was there any disciplinary procedures in British R & TV factories?
 
this is the sort of treatment I wouldn't even expect to give a naughty schoolboy, let alone a grown-up employee. 'Sent home'. Are they serious? I would move on. Life's too short.

broadgage 1st May 2020 11:27 pm

Re: Was there any disciplinary procedures in British R & TV factories?
 
I asked my then employer if I could order at the company expense, an RCD 13 amp socket outlet. To fit to my workbench.
The answer was "company policy specifically prohibits working on live equipment, therefore you cannot get a shock, therefore you have no need of an RCD."

Things have improved a bit since then.


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