This is one of my favorite times of the year. The baseball playoffs are in full swing (and I don’t care who wins this year), Football is going gangbusters, hockey has started, basketball regular season is around the corner. Days are growing shorter and more time is spent with family on the couch watching the cool blue fire of the television. However there are 4,383 people who will not be on the couch for they fell to fatal workplace accidents in 2012. So unfortunately this must be another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.
18 safety citations issued at west Georgia Kia plant since 2009 – PREVENTABLE – Setting a new record is an admirable goal, but when it’s setting the record for most Federal safety violations in the State of Georgia, not so good. Apparently they didn’t give enough training on PPE and allowed employees to work without it. If you require employees to wear PPE when doing their assigned job, you as a supervisor are obligated to protect your employees and protect the company. If an employee doesn’t have the correct PPE and you still let them do the job and gets injured, the company lawyers will throw you under the bus and the employees lawyer will take what ever’s left.
Man sues Peerless Block & Brick, alleges forklift step was dangerous – PREVENTABLE – This is a great teaching moment for new supervisors as well. When an employee reports to you any hazard, take immediate steps to fix it or remove from service. If you don’t have the authority to order the repairs, document the issue in an email to your boss and whom ever else necessary including copying to yourself. Then print that email and put in a safe place to protect yourself. Be sure to tag the hazard or take it out of service. Making believe the problem doesn’t exist will NOT make it go away and will get you in the spot light of a court room.
Queens Supermarkets Fined For Various Safety Violations – PREVENTABLE – The markets graciously allowed their butchers to operate band saws without guards and no training of staff in use of PPE and the use of cleaning products. Brings new meaning to the term, two fingers worth. Not satisfied with just these violations some stores decided to over achieve by making evacuations engaging with locked and blocked emergency exits as well as unlit or missing exit signs. Nothing says “I care” from an employer more than being held captive during a crisis.
OSHA cites Pittsburgh firm for lead hazards – PREVENTABLE – NEJ Abatement Group, Inc., was nice enough to give back to their employees. Unfortunately what they gave was exposing workers to lead above the permissible limit and also failed to monitor workers exposed to lead and didn’t bother to conduct required lead sampling. NEJ also failed to provide adequate PPE , shower facilities, and changing areas and didn’t think it necessary to conduct fit testing of respirators. OSHA also cited the company for lack of a lead compliance program and failure to post lead warning signs. As I said earlier, acting like there is no problem doesn’t make it go away.
Man Crushed to Death by Grapes in Spain – PREVENTABLE – This only goes to show how fast an accident can occur and why you need to be alert and focused at all times while on the job. People get into a routine and over time become complacent. When it comes to safety complacency can kill you. Taking a few seconds to check a bin or check wheels are chocked before unloading or checking the compactor before operation or looking behind you before backing up a forklift are all good habits to have.
SOX Whistleblower Awarded $1.9 Million – INFO –Clean Diesel Technologies Inc. has been ordered to pay $1.9 million to its former chief financial officer who was fired for reporting conduct he believed was detrimental to the company’s shareholders. I think this is great, and it sends an even better message to Companies who Behave Badly and think they can put workers a risk. In my opinion whistle-blowing should be a last resort used after you have received no responses or changes for improved safety from your H.R. and/or safety department heads.
OSHA Plans to Target NY Dairy Farms with Random, Unannounced Inspections in 2014 – HEADS UP – Read to find out if you are subject to inspection under the guidelines and if you are, start getting prepared for that inspections.
OSHA Unveils Top 10 Safety Violations – INFO – Wonder how Letterman would present this list. Fall protection leads pack as #1. Suggest you read over the list and then prepare your safety meetings and tailgates accordingly. This list is a great place to find your topics.
Fertilizer Plant That Exploded In West, Texas Faces $118,300 In Fines – PREVENTABLE – This story has been covered by this blog before. It’s here again because it is so sad and disappointing that human life has been determined to be worth only $7, 886.67 a person. When people are murdered by companies who willingly ignore the law, the 15 here in Texas and the 8 by PGE in San Bruno, California we shouldn’t be talking about the price of fines or human life, but company leaders going to jail and the length of their sentences.
That brings this episode of people behaving badly to a close. Remember, when an employee tells you there’s a safety hazard listen to them and don’t blow them off. If it’s important to the employee it should be damn important to you. You want them engaged and care about the company, return the favor and make sure they stay safe. You can keep them in the loop as well by posting and updating a list of safety issues, when reported and work order number if applicable and the expected completion date. Be a safety advocate and participate in safety meetings and other safety related activities. Remember, the life you save may be your own.