The Stop-Work Authority Process
SWA programs generally involve a six-step process.
Stop the unsafe work. Under SWA, employees are obligated to initiate a stop-work intervention with colleagues who are potentially at risk. “Just tell them, ‘I’m using stop-work authority to pause this job, and let’s talk about it. ”. The stop-work action should be clearly identified and initiated in a noncombative manner, “Don’t panic, but come across in a helpful way.”
Notify affected personnel and supervision of the stop-work action. “Don’t take it upon yourself to correct it all. Get other people involved.”
Investigate the cause for intervention. Affected personnel should discuss the situation and come to an agreement on the behavior or action in question. If all parties agree that it is safe to proceed without modifications, “the affected persons should show appreciation to the SWA initiator for their concern and then resume work.” But if it’s determined that the SWA concern is valid, a stop-work issuance form will have to be completed. Work should be suspended until a proper resolution is achieved.
Correct the hazard. Make modifications according to the corrections outlined in the stop-work issuance form, and have qualified experts verify that all safety issues have been properly resolved.
Resume work. A designated person restarts the work operation. All affected employees and contractors should be notified of what corrective actions were taken. “Educate people that this happened, that you’re using SWA and what the process is.”
If the SWA initiator still believes the work is unsafe, he said, he or she “should be assigned to another job with absolutely no retribution. That will remove a lot of the hesitation around using SWA.”