Stop Work Authority

Stop Work Authority (SWA) has become widely recognized as one of the most important safety tools in our possession. Many companies in our industry advocate and even reward its use.  As we move forward on our path toward zero incidents we need explore the factors which may make our employees reluctant to exercise SWA.

Our individual personalities have a strong effect on our safety behaviors, including our willingness to exercise SWA.  There are a number of things which can make implementing SWA difficult. Below is a short list to consider:

  • I don’t want to slow down the work
  • I don’t want to be wrong
  • I need to complete my job before I worry about others
  • I don’t have enough information
  • I don’t want to upset anyone
  • I don’t’ want to look stupid
  • I don’t want to lose a co-workers trust
  • I fear retribution from my management
  • I don’t understand the process
  • I don’t like to speak in public
  • The task is not my responsibility

When speaking with our employees we need to discuss these and other impediments to exercising SWA. By understanding on a personal level why we might be uncomfortable with SWA we can work to overcome these difficulties. Open and frank discussions can be held in either team or individual forums to coach our employees on overcoming their natural tendencies and understand the critical importance of SWA.