GSK worker reinstated after OHS breach

by 13 Apr 2010

A GlaxoSmithKline worker has recently won his job back, but not lost pay, after being sacked last year for allegedly breaching the company’s safety procedures.

In October 2009 GSK fired warehouse crane operator Colin Makin after he entered the warehouse through the wrong entry to fix a problem he claimed could only be fixed via that particular entry.

“Entering the warehouse in this way, while technically not the correct way to enter the warehouse, was the only way to fix the problem of a trapped pallet on the shuttle,” said Makin, according to FWA documents.

Makin was attempting to fix an unbalanced pallet on GSK’s shuttle. The way he had done it, according to GSK, was in clear breach of its standard operating procedures (SOP).

Makin also said he was never given “under no circumstances” instructions not to enter via the centre gateway, which GSK disputed and argued was the sackable offence.

FWA Commissioner Bissett found that GSK had not given Makin practical training, only classroom training, and that it failed to assess whether Makin understood that it meant “under no circumstances”.

“The indication from Mr Tucci [the author of GSK’s SOP] that Mr Makin would only be given additional training ‘if he requested it’ is not, to me a satisfactory approach by those providing the training or management to what can only be seen as a substantial misunderstanding of procedure such that it should lead to dismissal,” said Bissett.

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