To be immediately concrete with a possible question: I've been wondering what the best thing to do is when you're operating heavy machinery, in say a warehouse, a factory or a construction site, and something collapses, explodes or otherwise turns dangerous. examples:

  • You're driving a forklift and you snag a large rack causing it to come crashing down.
  • You're working with an industrial robot and a technical malfunction causes it to start swinging around dangerously.
  • You're lifting something in a flatbed-mounted crane and the crane becomes unbalanced and starts to topple.

This question doesn't pertain to the office, but it does pertain to a workplace, naming a warehouse, a factory floor or a construction site. Would these questions be on-topic?

  • 1
    this seems like a reasonable question to me Sep 20, 2016 at 16:08
  • 3
    As others have answered below a construction site is a workplace so the environment isn't a criteria. But the examples you give here all seem to have more to do with health and safety or technical support which isn't what we deal with here. To borrow Richard's example, "How do I argue for better maintenance of our forklifts?" is fine, "What do I do when my forklift breaks down?" isn't. The answer to the latter is invariable "follow company policy" or "do what you've been trained/taught to do".
    – Lilienthal Mod
    Sep 22, 2016 at 7:37

4 Answers 4


So long as you keep the questions general, and not company specific, or asking on specific advice unique to your position, you should be fine.

Example of a bad questions

My boss is letting the forklifts go too long without maintenance, but it's still within the company guidelines, what do I do?


My boss is making me work without goggles or a hard hat, is that legal?

Example of better question:

I am concerned about the maintenance record of the forklifts. We are a union shop, I already reported this to my shop steward. Are there any other actions I could take, as I am concerned about safety?


As far as I know unless company specific they would be on topic. I would be more than happy to try and answer questions of that sort. I have worked in several industries. The only reason we mostly get office questions, is office workers are our main demographic I would think.

But I have seen a question from a lady who was working as some sort of forest ranger, and another to do with safety gear by an apprentice mechanic.

Personally I'd like to see those sorts of questions, because half my work history is working with my hands jobs, and I possibly emphasize more with their mindset and problem resolution strategies.

  • 2
    I agree. I started as a laborer and truck driver, I'd like to see more questions like that as well. Sep 21, 2016 at 14:24

As enderland said, we do answer plenty of questions that aren't about a typical office environment, so your question wouldn't be off-topic for that reason.

However, I think your specific question would still be off-topic because it is asking about specific company policy. This safety procedure is something that should be defined by your employer, and all of our answers would tell you to ask your manager.

One way this could be on topic would be if you were trying to write such a safety procedure. We can't tell you specifically what would go in the document, because most of us are not qualified to do so, but we can tell you how to approach finding the information and professional advice you need.


While many questions here tend to the office environment (given the audience of Stack Exchange), questions like what you are saying probably are on topic.

I would add that in my experience the majority of people here have no experience in working in that sort of environment, so I suspect answers you get may be... less than beneficial. Though in my experience having worked for a factory myself, most companies have explicit safety training and policies about such things and most answers will be to know what your safety procedures are in advance.

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