Ever have a supervisor break safety rules? You know the negative effect that has on workers’ safety compliance. Well, here’s an extreme example of that problem, and how one organization dealt with it: The manager is leaving her job.
Sheila Burgess is director of the Massachusetts Highway Safety Division. Her mission is to reduce crashes by promoting safe driving practices, such as not using cell phones behind the wheel.
There’s just one problem — or several, depending on how you look at it. Burgess’ own driving record is far from exemplary.
According to the Boston Globe, her driving record includes:
- seven crashes
- four speeding violations
- two failures to stop for a police officer
- one failure to stay in her lane
- one driving without registration or license
- one driving without wearing a seat belt, and
- one failure to show up for a hearing for a speeding ticket.
Being appointed to a position responsible for auto safety may have had a good influence on her. From the time she was appointed to the position in 2007 until this August, she didn’t have any marks on her driving record or crashes.
But on Aug. 24, Burgess’ state-provided car veered off a road and slammed into a rock outcropping. She wasn’t cited for any driving violations. She suffered a head injury in the crash and hasn’t returned to work; she’s been on approved leave.
Not long after the Globe made the situation public, word came that Burgess would be leaving her job.
She resigned effective Dec. 31, citing her health, saying she needed to concentrate on recovering from her most recent crash.
It seems, however, she wouldn’t have had much choice in the matter if she wanted to stay.
“She could not expect the public’s trust if she were to continue in the position,” said her boss, Massachusetts Public Safety Secretary Mary Beth Heffernan.
Governor Deval Patrick (D) also issued a statement, which said, in part, “Given her driving background, it was a mistake to hire her for this position.”
Have you ever had a supervisor who didn’t stick by safety rules — or even worse, a chief executive who didn’t wear required PPE while walking through a safety-sensitive area? What did you do? Let us know about it in the comments below.