Companies Behaving Badly – September

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In honor of Labor Day, I am giving away a GREEN Safety Pin to the first 35 new subscribers who sign up to receive this blog by email and LIKE my facebook page, warehouseflow consulting.  That’s the first 35 who do this on Labor Day, September 2nd only.  By wearing this pin you show everyone you’ve made a commitment to a safe workplace.  When you see someone wearing one, shake their hand & say thanks!

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Happy Labor Day!  This is a holiday celebrated in the U.S. on the first Monday of September and was a creation by the labor movement dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers of all types and backgrounds.  So as we prepare to picnic, party or be a couch potato on this yearly national tribute honoring the sacrifices and contributions workers have made for the success of our country, remember the 4,383 workers who were killed in the workplace in 2012.  Some from their own doing like horseplay and most from bad company policies and greed.  So as long as workers are still put into positions of danger so the company can make a few extra bucks, there will always be another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.

Concrete Block Manufacturer Cited by OSHA After Worker Loses ArmPREVENTABLE – A worker lost his arm because none of the conveyors in the production area were guarded to prevent this from happening.  On top of that they didn’t have a hazardous energy control program, written procedures nor any lockout hardware on the premises in addition to no training for workers who inspected and maintained the conveyors and other machinery.  Wouldn’t you go to a Doctor who didn’t have medical training or biohazard training?  NO you wouldn’t.  The money they think they would save by cutting corners on safety will be lost in the lawsuits to follow along with their reputation.

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OSHA fines local cabinet companyPREVENTABLE – OSHA found hazardous levels of combustible dust in the workplace as well as unsanitary working conditions.  The company responded with the usual denial of reality by stating, “Employee safety has always been, and will continue to be, our top priority.” Not all unsafe conditions result in immediate injury to a worker, but over time it will take it’s ugly toll and that of course depends if you don’t die in an explosion first from the dust igniting.  Either way you should not be put in this jeopardy by an employer.

OSHA: Violation To Discipline Employee Who Reports InjuryPREVENTABLE – This is unbelievable.  If you are injured on the job, the first thing to do beside seeking medical attention is report the incident to your supervisor.  It protects you the worker. As OSHA said, you can’t discipline an employee for that especially when the investigation found that the employee had been directed by the mechanical supervisor to change the defective tires in a manner which violated company safety protocols.  The company should have fired the supervisor for putting an employee in that situation.

OSHA cites East Peoria plant where man diedPREVENTABLE It’s very sad when ever someone is killed in an accident and more so when a 23 year old young man beginning his working career dies due to the lack of the most basic safety precautions at the plant.  Someone thought it was a great idea to by pass the safeguards that would have prevented this accident.  Fines are not enough in my opinion and the owner/president of this company should be jailed and put on trial for murder as well as the person who actually did the bypassing of the safeguards.  If anyone, especially in management tells you to do something that is contrary to the rules of the road, don’t do it!

TSA cited by OSHA for worker hazards at LoganPREVENTABLEYes, even the organization charged with protecting us in the skies exposed their own employees to finger crushing and amputation due to lack of guards at pinch points.  I guess when you’re so busy checking luggage all day long you loose sight of the hazards around you.  Big shame on any federal agency that puts it’s employees at risk for NO reason.

US Department of Labor and US Postal Service agree to terms on improving worker safety at postal facilitiesPREVENTABLE – Speaking of shameful federal/semi federal agencies the USPS had no problem exposing their workers to all kinds of electrical hazards.  But unlike other companies that get fined big dollars the USPS is being allowed to upgrade procedures and policies with the help of OSHA with no monetary penalties.  I would almost bet on the fact, since the USPS is so horrible at internal communication that in a year this issue will come up again.

Poor Supervision Cited At NY-Run Steam Plant – PREVENTABLE – When the cat’s away or in this case, doesn’t care, the mice will play.  According to a NY State I.G. report, in 2010 the plant manager acknowledged knowing about bedrolls and beer cans on plant premises and did nothing about it.  An unscheduled inspector general’s tour in 2011 showed several rooms used for unauthorized breaks including cigarette butts and inappropriate photographs of women.  There is no excuse for this. As the manager you SET the TONE of the operation.  You need to be out on the floor and walking around the facility while checking in with people and making sure all rules are followed.  Vary your walk routine by the route you take and when, it’ll keep people on their toes.  Remember you were hired to be the responsible leader, if someone is injured due to your neglect you can be prosecuted and go to jail!

FYI Be prepared for an OSHA inspection before it happens “A memorandum sent to the agency’s regional administrators directs field inspectors, when conducting inspections, to be mindful of whether employers have provided and maintained adequate means of egress from work areas”.  Please make sure your emergency evacuation plans are current and adequate to get everyone out.

That concludes this edition of Companies Behaving Badly.  Remember, safety at the workplace is not just the employers responsibility but YOURS as well.  Don’t let anyone talk you in to doing an unsafe act just to save a few minutes on the job.  it’s just not worth your life or a life time of guilt.  Become a safety advocate and keep your fellow workers thinking safety.

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