Discipline employee who refuses to abide by safety rules

Q. One of our shop employees was not wearing his safety glasses during a Michigan OSHA (MIOSHA) inspection, for which the company was cited. Our company has a rule requiring employees to wear safety glasses in the plant. Were we wrongly cited? — T.B.

A. It is not always enough to have a rule requiring safety glasses if you do not enforce it. If you can demonstrate that you enforce the rule, and that no employer representative was aware of this employee’s violation of the rule when cited, then you have a defense.

It is important to discipline employees for safety rule violations, both to increase workplace safety and to protect yourself against MIOSHA citations.