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  • Difficulty sleeping...on duty

    It's 1 am and you are sleeping. You have to get up in about 4 hours to go into work at an industrial mill where you work in the shipping department. Your phone rings. Who the heck could be calling at 1 o'clock in the frelling AM? You answer, "Hello?" It's a friend of yours, a neighbor who works the night shift doing security at the mill where you work. "I can't get to sleep," she tells you as you struggle comprehend. WTF?
    This actually happened to someone I work with at the plant, which is a 24/7 operation, this week. She works in the shipping department and got called at 1am by one of our SOs, a friend of hers, who was working the night shift. The SO was calling to complain that she was unable to get comfortable enough to sleep on duty.
    This SO is on of our "problem children" who for some reason hasn't been fired by the Security Supervisor or our company. While most us make an effort to follow the rules and stay alert on shift, she comes to work ready to sleep. There is no attempt to be subtle about it either. She puts her feet up in the guard shack, puts a pillow under her back and pulls a jacket over her as she sits at the desk at the front gate. Due to her rank/pay she's the shift supervisor for that site when she's on duty. So what she does her SOs under her do? Same as her, sit in a corner and nod off. She's actually told the plant saftey manager, the guy who decides whether we keep our contract there or if they bring in another WBS company, "Sure I sleep on duty sometimes."
    For some reason they keep her on the payroll. Meanwhile the rest of us who work security there get to deal with her problems. Since she's not shy about crashing out and refuses to even do security patrols the rest of us have to deal with the morale busting attitude of,- "if she doesn't have to do this and can sleep on duty why are the rest of us required to do our rounds and stay awake".
    It isn't restricted to just the SOs being aware of this. Most of the plant assumes that since she's so blatently sleeping that we all are and that it's accepted. I've had plant employees ask me about why they always see the SO making rounds in the patrol vehicle or even me in the EMT van making rounds on my shift when the other shift never leaves the guard shack. I've been called to the medical clinic to treat a sick employee who apologized for "disturbing my rest". He was suprised that not only was I not "resting" but that when he called I was on patrol in the plant as I often am.
    On my shift I'm shift supervisor and for our 12 hours we don't sleep. We make rounds, do our chores and make a few more rounds just to keep busy somethimes. We don't sit in the guard shack all evening watching DVD movies or TV. We are allowed to bring a book to read as long as we are able to keep answering the phones, watch the monitors and check in visitors without being distracted. No problem there. I read some when it's slow and everything is caught up.
    Just because it's dark outside doesn't mean the plant sleeps and neither should the Security staff.
    Anyone else have to deal with this sort of thing?

    rant off
    Hospital Security Officer

  • #2
    No problem. Very simple. Write a detailed, very polite letter of facts to the Insurance Companys insuring the security company and the plant. A letter of general complaint won't get the results you desire, so use dates, times, names, complete facts.

    Now, if you choose not to do something, then you choose to live with conditions 'as is'.

    Comment


    • #3
      Well, I can't offer much advice for you, other than to report her and make it very clear that her behaviour is bringing the entire guard platoon into disrepute, which could be dangerous (if nobody trusts the security dept in an emergency, who can they trust?).

      If you were the boss you could just fire her breaching-her-fiduciary-duty butt. Just like I did when I got a call from a client very early one morning, cursing his head off, about a guard asleep at the site.

      The guard was found by a client's employee, who had to climb the fence to get in (the guard normally unlocked the gate). And, while the client's crew worked around the guard's car without waking him, the guard was sleeping in a sleeping bag in his car, with a pillow.
      When he finally woke up he opened the door, somehow tearing his pillow, and sent feathers flying all over the client's site.

      Yeah, some major damage control that day...


      wjohnc
      Rule #1: Go home at the end of the day in an upright position, with everything attached, and with peace of mind for having done the job well.
      "I won't be wronged. I won't be insulted. I won't be laid a-hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them." - John Wayne (in his last movie 'The Shootist')

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      • #4
        Keep in mind that while this problem is happening the reason I got my job is because another guard was caught sleeping by the client, told to wake up then promply went back to sleep. When the client found that guard sleeping again just minutes after waking her he got a video camera and video taped her crashed out at the gate and then called out Security company to demand she be replaced. I fear the only way to solve the problem that we are having now is for something similar to happen again.
        Hospital Security Officer

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        • #5
          There are many times security officers have difficulty staying awake, particularly on night shift. very little is going on, it's dark, boredom slips in and the mind tries to shut down and do what biology says it should. Nappy time.

          While many security companies get upset, and rightfully so when you sleep on the job, they also need to realize it is natural. what they need to do is find a way to keep the officer engaged. Thats why I had no problem with the officers who have TV's or computers as long as they do not get to involved. Unfortunately, my supervisor does not allow TV's on the site.

          So what do you do when you have nothing to do but sit in a chair for 8 hours?

          WE switch off every two hours between sitting in the shack and driving around, but some of my officers do not drive, so they have to spend the night in the shack. And sitting in the car for 8 hours isn't good either. So we get out and walk around. Listen tot he radio. read a book. play a hand held game.

          What do you do?

          Comment


          • #6
            If I was confined to a guard shack, it was a post where you did absolutely nothing for 12 hours. Sit in the shack. If someone was in the building, you had no patrol requirement. Basically, we used to do stuff out there - but they removed the requirement for us to do anything out there when they moved all the employees to a new building.

            Then, I would work on stuff on a laptop. That post was basically my "catch up with the week's worth of reports" post.

            But, 99% of the accounts I worked at had a constant patrol requirement. Residential housing, hotels, etc. The only time you were to be in the client's office was to eat, to write entries in the log book, and to write reports.

            Many times, I was assigned to a multiple property / same client patrol account. We worked out of the patrol vehicle.

            On accounts like these, with the constant patrol requirement, televisions and books and other materials were not acceptable. This was because you were to constantly moving about and looking for problems on the property. In other words: There was enough happening that you shouldn't be bored.
            Some Kind of Commando Leader

            "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

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            • #7
              Originally posted by kingsman
              but some of my officers do not drive, so they have to spend the night in the shack.
              Why would they not drive?
              Hospital Security Officer

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              • #8
                Unfortunately there's not much you can do about this situation. You didn't witness this person sleeping, you gleaned the information second-hand.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by EMTGuard
                  Why would they not drive?
                  Too many DWIs?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Jackhole
                    Too many DWIs?
                    Please say it ain't so.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I hardly drive. I live a 2 minute walk from the metro & a 15 minute metro ride to work so I don't need a car. I almost let my driver's license laspe.
                      I enforce rules and regulations, not laws.
                      Security Officers. The 1st First Responders.

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                      • #12
                        You mention this supervisor is one of the problem children. Have you spoken with the next level of management over this person? Are they aware of what she may be doing, and apparently encouraging her people to be doing? Do they know that potentially the client is fully aware of what is happening? Is any paperwork (logs, records, reports) being falsified - showing these officers and supervisor completing any site security requirements (that would not only be a chance to lose the contract, but possible for the company to potentially lose its license)?

                        Whether you have first hand knowledge, or are only aware of what you are being told, then you have a responsibility to notify higher authority within your company. They can, at their discretion, then conduct their own investigation to verify what is happening.

                        If you feel uncomfortable passing on what may be 2nd or 3rd hand information then get your first hand knowledge - observe it happening or video tape it, then report up the chain of command.

                        Besides just being wrong for so many reasons, you have to wonder if the client is going to want to keep the company when contract renewal time rolls around. Or worse, something bad happens and the client is screaming because they know what happens when the officers are working (and believe me it'll suddenly be ALL of you doing it, not just this one shift).

                        I am a lead officer in my department and I have operational supervision duties, therefore if I am made aware of alleged misconduct, or have first hand knowledge of misconduct, I have a duty to investigate, correct, and report the misconduct. This behavior, as you have shown in your post, reflects on all of you.
                        "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." -Aristotle

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by aka Bull
                          Have you spoken with the next level of management over this person? Are they aware of what she may be doing, and apparently encouraging her people to be doing?
                          The next level is well aware.
                          Do they know that potentially the client is fully aware of what is happening?
                          The client is aware.
                          Is any paperwork (logs, records, reports) being falsified - showing these officers and supervisor completing any site security requirements (that would not only be a chance to lose the contract, but possible for the company to potentially lose its license)?
                          Probably but I have no first hand knowledge of this.

                          Whether you have first hand knowledge, or are only aware of what you are being told, then you have a responsibility to notify higher authority within your company. They can, at their discretion, then conduct their own investigation to verify what is happening.
                          This has been an on going issue. The company is aware but up to now has done nothing to stop this.

                          If you feel uncomfortable passing on what may be 2nd or 3rd hand information then get your first hand knowledge - observe it happening or video tape it, then report up the chain of command.
                          Difficult when we work opposite shifts. Besides, the home office is already up to date on things. Keep in mind that during Client/Security company meetings this person has STATED TO THE CLIENT IN THE PRESENCE OF OUR COMPANY REP THAT SHE SLEEPS. <-caps meant to highlight not scream.

                          Besides just being wrong for so many reasons, you have to wonder if the client is going to want to keep the company when contract renewal time rolls around.
                          IT's a major concern. It's not easy to deal with someone who isn't worried about lossing her job because her hubby works at an oil refinery making enough to live without her needing to work. Meanwhile, the rest of us are just about living for the next paycheck and don't need anyone screwing up and getting us all sent to the unemployment line.
                          Or worse, something bad happens and the client is screaming because they know what happens when the officers are working (and believe me it'll suddenly be ALL of you doing it, not just this one shift).
                          The perception is already that we are ALL doing it. See my example of the employee who was sorry for "Disturbing your rest".

                          I am a lead officer in my department and I have operational supervision duties, therefore if I am made aware of alleged misconduct, or have first hand knowledge of misconduct, I have a duty to investigate, correct, and report the misconduct. This behavior, as you have shown in your post, reflects on all of you.
                          Thanks for your support.
                          Last edited by EMTGuard; 06-15-2006, 04:47 PM.
                          Hospital Security Officer

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by EMTGuard
                            The next level is well aware. The client is aware. Probably but I have no first hand knowledge of this.

                            This has been an on going issue. The company is aware but up to now has done nothing to stop this.

                            Difficult when we work opposite shifts. Besides, the home office is already up to date on things. Keep in mind that during Client/Security company meetings this person has STATED TO THE CLIENT IN THE PRESENCE OF OUR COMPANY REP THAT SHE SLEEPS. <-caps meant to highlight not scream.

                            IT's a major concern. It's not easy to deal with someone who isn't worried about lossing her job because her hubby works at an oil refinery making enough to live without her needing to work. Meanwhile, the rest of us are just about living for the next paycheck and don't need anyone screwing up and getting us all sent to the unemployment line. The perception is already that we are ALL doing it. See my example of the employee who was sorry for "Disturbing your rest".

                            Thanks for your support.
                            With so much already known by both your company and the client I can imagine the difficulty for you and all the officers who are doing the job as it should be done. I can also understand how much this can damage the morale of everyone who is being associated with this behavior.

                            It is to your credit that all of you who are working to accomplish the mission properly that you haven't allowed the image being attached to you, with the concurrent damage to morale, to sway you from carrying on with your assignments. It shows the strong and positive moral and ethical character each of you are bringing to your work. You and those with you should be commended.

                            I say this because in looking over your reply I feel that the last couple of sentences I wrote may have been misconstrued - the blame for which rests with me for not making clear what I meant by carrying out the responsibility to deal with these issues. What I should have made clear was that I meant the responsibility rested with the higher levels of management above this supervisor to deal with such obvious lack of performance by her and those she allows to behave in the way she does. Not only for the sake of the contract they have with the client, but more importantly to highlight the positive standards which you and those working with you are bringing to the company.

                            My apologies to you if I gave the mistaken impression that you were not carrying out your work in an ehtical and professional manner.
                            Last edited by aka Bull; 06-15-2006, 07:49 PM.
                            "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." -Aristotle

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by aka Bull
                              My apologies to you if I gave the mistaken impression that you were not carrying out your work in an ehtical and professional manner.
                              No apopogy necessary. I didn't take it that way. I guess my whole point of this thread was to blow off some steam to those who would understand the problems of working with such a situation. Thanks to everyone for the advice or just for taking the time to read and send mesages of support. It keeps me from slipping into the self destructing frame of minds where I start saying, "Why am I doing rounds if the other shift gets away with not doing it?" or "Why am I sitting here bored to death when the other shift brings DVD palyers to watch on shift?" With years of Army training, where sleeping on guard duty is a court martial offence, and years of working as a Corrections Officer, where sleeping is automatic termination, have convinced me that I need to take at least a little responsibility and stay awake regardless of what others are doing.
                              Hospital Security Officer

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