Is There A Backup Coworker, Too?

, , , , , | Working | June 16, 2021

I work in a clean room in a high-accuracy lab. We do work for all sorts of companies — automation, aviation, military, etc. Mistakes are not acceptable, so we have strict rules and procedures to follow. When things do go wrong, it’s normally minor and picked up by one of the overchecks we do.

I’m checking some parts on a machine and notice it clearly isn’t right. I check it on the backup equipment, and yes, there is a problem. I shut down the machine, lock it off, and finish the work on the backup.

It takes me a while but I finish and put it in the collection area. I notice another set of parts my coworker set down.

Me: “Did you check these today?”

Coworker: “Yeah, and?”

Me: “I have the backup. How did you check them?”

Coworker: “On the [main machine], duh!”

Me: “But I have the key. How… how is that possible?”

Coworker: “Ugh, I don’t have to explain the obvious to you.”

He snatched the key out of my hand.

I debated what to do, but in the end, I had to raise it to my boss. Turns out [Coworker] had never checked them at all and just copied the last report he did. All his work had to be rechecked, including some of the stuff already given back to the customer. It was incredibly embarrassing for the company and department. Officially, he quit, but I don’t think he had a choice.

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