(Apologize for the lateness of this issue) Not to long ago, Mother Nature had a much nicer reputation and didn’t need publicists or agents to protect her image. She did have her groupies as storm chasers followed her everywhere but they soon judged her by her barometric pressure, temperature and precipitation and then along came doppler radar and other electronic means to predict her moods. The paparazzi of Meteorologist hounded Mother Nature wherever she went as they questioned her on the global warming rumors, the droughts in California and lastly her poor judgement on the snowmageddon winter. She has been on everyone’s mind lately and reminds me of that time as a kid in elementary school we learned about the months and the four seasons, their traits and effects throughout the year and they were so consistent we sang their praise, “April showers bring the flowers that bloom in May”. One saying that used to make me laugh back then was for the month of March, that it comes in like a LION and out like a lamb! At the time it just meant making drawings of lions becoming lambs surrounded by wind and sprouting flowers and that hung on the fridge until the next seasonal project came along but later it made sense as the last vestiges of winter were shrugged off, and Mother Nature awoke from her nap along with the tilt in the earth it faded away as spring sprung. Unfortunately as much as things change in life they still remain the same as one thing that hasn’t changed is the number of workers being injured or killed on the job, and as you guessed it, unfortunately this is another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.
OSHA fines candy maker Wrigley Manufacturing $8,000 after worker dies on the job – PREVENTABLE – Mandie Creel Chitwood had no idea when she kissed her young son goodbye before leaving for work that Sunday of October 20th it would be for the last time. The young married mom was clearing a jam on a conveyor belt, that was a continuous problem at the plant that management never bothered to address. They didn’t bother to have any procedures in place to protect Mandie either as she had to set up a ladder in the forklift traffic lane to get to the jam. She was knocked off the ladder by a forklift, smashing her body against an 8″ pipe and she died the next day. No cones, no lights, no signals or flagging by anyone, not even a supervisor. Just take the odds! Several lives were changed that day due to the stupidity and laziness of Wrigley, Mandie, her child, her husband and the forklift driver who now lives with this guilt for the rest of their life. Don’t wait till someone gets killed to find your exposure, fix the problem NOW. The fine amount is ridiculously low for a human life, 800,000 works for me.
Republic worker killed in accident had expressed safety concerns – PREVENTABLE – Frank Johnson Sr. was an experienced worker and could see that safety was deteriorating at the company he worked at and it concerned him greatly and with good cause. Republic had a poor track record with being placed on OSHA’s Severe Violators Enforcement Program due to worker injuries and deaths in 2011 along with a proposed $563,000 fine. In 2012 they were fined $235,000 for more violations including protection from falls and unsafe procedures but they learned nothing from these fines as demonstrated on September 12 when employee John Evanish miraculously survived, but was injured, a 47 foot fall through a roof. Then on November 30, there was a fire that caused millions of dollars in damage to the plant. Frank had expressed to his family his fears about the buildup of ice and snow on the tracks and the lack of maintenance on the old train cars he worked on as a brakeman. One can only imagine the safety issues Frank dealt with as he tried to do his job and stay alive until his luck ran out on February 14th as he was crushed to death. Republic seems to demonstrate total lack of respect for it’s workers or human life in general as they are probably too busy worrying about profits.
OSHA cites Homerville post plant for 22 violations, proposes $279,400 fine – PREVENTABLE – Dupont Yard Inc, has been very busy exposing their employees to hazards as they’ve been cited by OSHA 39 times in 6 years during 4 previous inspections. This time they found 3 willful violations which are committed intentionally or voluntarily and with plain indifference to the health and safety of workers, which means Dupont couldn’t care less if their workers were maimed or killed as they failed to implement procedures that would prevent machinery from starting up during maintenance, exposing workers to amputation as well as fatal injuries and also exposed to being crushed by rotating chains that had no guards. The total fines sound deep but facilities with this kind of disregard for human life should be shut down. You do not have to work under these kinds of conditions and by going along with this you are condoning their bad behavior while helping them save money that won’t go into your pocket. Don’t operate machinery without proper guards in place.
OSHA proposes fines against manufacturer for 24 violations – PREVENTABLE – An employee complaint sparked an OSHA inspection at Globus Printing & Packaging Co. Inc in Ohio. Apparently the employee didn’t like being exposed to dangerous hazards like no PPE for doing electrical work, having to drive damaged forklifts and the lack of exit lighting or alarm system. The employee was smart enough to see the company lacked any worker training on dealing with those hazards which included combustible dust buildup and not using eye and face protection. For their lack of attention they were fined $91,800 for 24 violations. If you’re going to operate and continue to put your valuable staff at risk you might as well just play a game of russian roulette. Your odds may be better.
OSHA cites Shippensburg foundry for repeat safety violations; Fines total $163,240 – PREVENTABLE – Again, another case where the inspection was spurred by an employee complaint this time at Domestic Casting Co. LLC. and who could blame the employee since they were tired of the lack of respect by Domestic Casting as OSHA found 7 repeat violations in the 26 total alleged violations. As Kevin Kilp of OSHA put it, “Domestic Casting continues to put its workers at risk of serious injury or possible death by not addressing and correcting these hazards. Employers that fail to uphold their responsibility to protect workers and provide a safe and healthful workplace will be held accountable.” Here, they kept exposing workers to all kinds of hazards from open-sided floors and platforms that were not guarded to amputation and fixed ladders that were not installed with appropriate clearance space in the path of travel. (That one sound familiar? Read lead story above). If it looks unsafe and sounds unsafe and feels unsafe, IT’S UNSAFE!
Ohio Bottler Fined Nearly $87K for Repeat Safety Violations – PREVENTABLE – G&J Pepsi-Cola Bottlers Inc. in Franklin Furnace, Ohio was cited for 7 workplace violations, 2 of them REPEAT violations for a total of $86,900. The company didn’t think it was important to make sure employees used proper PPE on the job or bother following LOTO procedures during maintenance. The same violations were cited in 2009 at the company’s Hamilton facility. If a company doesn’t bother to give you safe working conditions, they don’t care about you as a human being.
OSHA – MEMCO Alliance Signed in Houston – HELPING TEMPS – OSHA has signed an agreement with a staffing agency that focuses on supplying the construction industry. New workers will go through a training course on workplace safety so they’re ready for the job and aware of what hazards may come their way. This program should help reduce constructions accidents which have been on the rise nationally of late.
Q&A: Making Compressed Air OSHA-Compliant – INFO – Compressed air is not handled correctly can cause severe injuries. Very good article on how to make sure you are OSHA compliant.
Insulated Curtain Wall Provides Enhanced Fire Resistance – PRODUCTS – Rite-Hite is introducing the Zoneworks TZF Insulated Curtain Wall that gives you enhanced flame resistance in your facility. Check out the article.
Safety Hat Manufacturing – INFO – Ever wonder how or where Safety hats come from? Check out the attached video, hope you find it interesting.
That brings another episode of Companies Behaving Badly to a close. Thank you for stopping by and taking time to read the stories. Safety does not work unless you are part of the solution. If you have machinery that is missing guards and exposes you to amputations hazards DON’T operate the machine. Do not fall for the line, “Oh they’re on the way, it’s O.K. to run it this time like that”. That’s an excuse and most probably an outright lie. If your company has safety rules, make them follow them you can’t pick and choose which safety rules you want to follow. FOLLOW THEM ALL. Be a safety advocate, remember the life you save may be your own. Until next time.