We’ve all been there — we’ve all witnessed a co-worker doing something that violates the company’s rules. We resist any thought of reporting the violation because we value our relationship with our co-worker, because it’s just “not that big of a deal,” because we’ve been taught to mind our own business, or because we do not want a negative reputation as the office “snitch.” But when a co-worker’s violation of a company rule creates an unsafe condition, reporting that conduct to management can literally mean the difference between life and death. Therefore, it is critical that employers confront any “code of silence” and create a workplace culture where employees are encouraged to and feel comfortable that they can confide in management about behavior that violates a workplace safety rule or otherwise results in an unsafe condition without fear of retaliation.

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