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CROSS Safety Report

Resources in a recession

Report ID: 161 Published: 1 October 2009 Region: CROSS-UK

This report is over 2 years old

Please be aware that it might contain information that is no longer up to date. We keep all reports available for historic reference and as learning aids.

Overview

A reporter raises concerns with a company’s decision to transfer an incomplete design of a large complicated project from one department to another due to budget overspend and lack of work to latter department.

Key Learning Outcomes

For all built environment professionals:

  • If you are aware or concerned of a live or urgent safety issue:

    1. Your first step should be to raise this with the organisations concerned if possible
    2. If applicable, you should speak to your line manager
    3. If this does not resolve the issue, or if the response you receive is inadequate, then you should inform the appropriate regulator

Full Report

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Our secure and confidential safety reporting system gives professionals the opportunity to share their experiences to help others. If you would like to know more, please visit the reporting to CROSS-UK page.

I am very concerned (says a reporter) with a company’s decision to transfer an incomplete design of a large complicated project from one department to another due to budget overspend and lack of work to latter department. The work is now being carried out by less competent/ experienced persons with little or no knowledge of the project.

I am also concerned about the competency of the main contractor, due to poor quality of workmanship as witnessed through photographs and ill thought out programmed dates. I consider that a serious incident may happen on site.

Other former colleagues whose services are no longer required have expressed similar concerns. Please advise course of action as I feel these concerns conveyed to the company’s management are (considered to be) secondary to financial reasons.

Expert Panel Comments

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Expert Panels comment on the reports we receive. They use their experience to help you understand what can be learned from the reports. If you would like to know more, please visit the CROSS-UK Expert Panels page.

This type of switching can happen at any time, for a variety of reasons, and although the reporter may consider the new designers less competent, they do not say they are incompetent. However, the fact that the report was sent is a cause for concern and it is an ethical question rather than a technical question.

Duty of care

Chartered Engineers are bound by the rules of their professional Institutions and generally have a ‘duty of care’ to their fellow engineers and to the public. CROSS is unable to become directly involved as such action is contrary to its method of operation and beyond its own resource capacity.

However, it would suggest that those mentioned in the report, and who are concerned, express their views in writing through the line management of the company. Management needs to be aware of the legal consequences to their company and to themselves individually should a serious event occur as a result. More likely is the realisation of professional indemnity (PI) claims resulting from poorly executed design or controls. 

Management needs to be aware of the legal consequences to their company and to themselves individually should a serious event occur as a result

Raising concerns

The way in which a concern is raised is important and can have a major impact on the outcome. On flight decks there are three levels of increasing emphasis when one pilot is worried about the actions of another, particularly when the comments are being made from a junior to a senior.

  • I am concerned about…..

  • I am uncomfortable with……

  • I believe the situation is unsafe……

This method could be adopted when an engineer is raising a concern with superiors. The ethical issue becomes more difficult if the advice is ignored and the individual with the concern has to consider where else to go. If there is a real danger of a failure that could endanger lives then a local authority or the Health and Safety Executive could be approached.

Share your knowledge

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Our secure and confidential safety reporting system gives professionals the opportunity to share their experiences to help others.