Companies Behaving Badly – March Green Madness


Four leaf clovers, rainbows, pots of gold and Leprechauns, that’s what St. Patricks Day consisted of for a young boy back in NYC a half century ago.  Good thing there were 8 shades of green in the 64 crayon box.  St. Patricks Day took on a whole new meaning when I drove a cab while attending college.  It was full on entertainment!  One thing you learn fast is that a tipsy passenger can be either a curse or a blessing and luckily they were most often a blessing which meant they were usually happy, very happy.  One St. Patricks evening I was waiting for fares outside P.J. Clarke’s on 3rd Avenue when a very happy fellow indeed p0ured himself into the cab.  He sat totally motionless for a second and then suddenly announced, “DRIVER!  Take me to P.J. Clarke’s.”  I turned to him and said, We’re here.  He smiled, thanked me, handed me a five and went right back into the bar.  Even more fun was shuttling St Patricks Day celebrants from bar to bar.  Anywhere from 4-5 very happy people would pile into the back of my Checker who then generated an amazing amount of noise as they were driven the short distance to their next destination.  However it was worth all my troubles as waiting for me there in the back seat, sat my pot of gold, all the loose change and money that fell out of their pockets unnoticed by them.  One thing not falling fast enough is the amount of Companies Behaving Badly.  Trips and falls are a serious safety concern as they’re always in the top 5 and yet one of the easiest to prevent, as long as it doesn’t hurt the company profits.  With that said, unfortunately this is yet another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.


Death fall company admits failings – PREVENTABLE Unfortunate to see that being stupid about safety extends over “the pond” as well as Halsall Toys in Fleetwood,UK allowed Craig Gray a 39 year old father of 5 clean their roof without wearing a harness or using any safety equipment.  The company has admitted breaking the health and safety law as Mr. Gray fell more than 20 feet onto a concrete floor and died the next day.  Earlier his 17 year old son who had been brought in to help on the project was called names by personnel for asking about the use of safety equipment.  It is so sad that if the few minutes were taken to use the proper safety equipment Mr. Gray would be home enjoying his family.  Do NOT allow anyone to bully you into performing an unsafe act, not a fellow worker, your supervisor or the company CEO.  Your bravery is not the question, but their stupidity is.


OSHA fines Neb. construction firm $14,000 for safety violations related to worker’s death – PREVENTABLE – Werner Construction of Hastings, Nebraska was fined for 3 violations found during the investigation of the death of a 35 year old worker who was struck by a front end loader.  They had failed to maintain safety features of the front end loader, failed to train someone on first aid (both serious violations) and failed to assess hazards related to PPE.  No matter the environment when you are working around moving equipment make sure the driver knows where you are at all times and you watch for him.  Don’t assume the driver is keeping track of your position as you can be seriously injured or worse in the blink of an eye.

Warehouse worker killed by falling tubes – PREVENTABLE – Ronald Meese a 58 year old production supervisor who worked at Roberts-Gordon Europe Ltd for 34 years and an experienced forklift driver was crushed to death when the stacks of metal tubes he was putting away collapsed and fell on him.  In all the years he worked there Mr. Meese was never given any specific training on how to stack the tube bundles.  There was also no risk assessment or hazard analysis ever completed on the task either.  Sometimes another pair of eyes is all you need to help avoid your next disaster whether it’s a paid advisor like me or your insurance company, take advantage of their talents to look and see if you missed any hazards.  This error in judgement cost them over $249,000 (150,000 pounds) and Mr. Meese’s life, a lesson learned here.


OSHA fines Cleveland business for multiple serious hazards – PREVENTABLE – New Wave Plastics of Cleveland, Ohio didn’t think it was worth the time and trouble to train workers on wearing PPE, hazards associated with chemicals, forklift safety, fire extinguishers nor provide fire retardant clothing.  Apparently an employee didn’t agree and filed a complaint with OSHA sparking the inspection which found 13 violations including no hearing conservation program and the presence of combustible dust which totalled in fines of $51,800.  Your employees are your most valuable resource, why wouldn’t you protect them from hazards and give the necessary training.  It doesn’t take long to do and then there is no life time of sorrys.

Company Cited for Repeat Fall Hazards – PREVENTABLE Coastal Building Systems of Amelia Inc. has no problem exposing their workers to falls as they were hit with repeat violations for a total of $55,000 in proposed fines.  Coastal Building tempted fate by allowing employees work on roofs without fall protection in place and as you know all it takes one little slip or trip and BAM, you’re dead.  That’s why they are called accidents folks and not planned.  Minimize that “oops” moment from being a lifetime of disability or guilt by using proper fall protection.
OSHA fines Schwan’s for alleged violations in Atlanta – PREVENTABLE – Schwan’s Global Supply Chain Inc was hit with a $264,360 fine for 32 alleged serious violations at their facility in Atlanta.  Cimco Refrigeration Inc. and Adecco USA, Inc. provided maintenance and staffing services for Schwan’s, were cited as well for 18 alleged violations.  Sort of the blind leading the blind. Employees were not properly trained to safely handle ammonia, a hazardous and corrosive chemical needed in refrigeration that can kill in seconds if released.  In addition to this issue, workers were also exposed to unguarded machinery and damaging noise levels.  Whenever you are told to handle any kind of chemical, find out what PPE is needed and the effects of exposure.  If your company doesn’t have that information available, leave and call OSHA cause you are as good as dead staying there.
Albertsons cleans warehouse after KATU uncovers mold growing inside – PREVENTABLE – Albertsons seems to have their own science experiment growing in their Portland distribution center that supplies 104 stores.  For months a hairy, white patches of mold have been growing on the racks where refrigerated packaged meat and dairy products are stored.  It appears the company had no plans to clean up the place until an employee(s) called a local television station. What a great example to set for the employees you want to keep the warehouse clean.  Pick up that trash but don’t touch my mold.  If you’re operating in a food storage environment you need to have a sanitation schedule in place to avoid these issues.
Wear Your Green Safety Pin
Wear Your Green Safety Pin

Well my friends, that brings this issue of Companies Behaving Badly to a close.  Feel free to share these stories at your next safety tailgate/toolbox meeting.  Learn from the mistakes of others so you don’t have to go through these experiences yourself.  If you see a safety hazard notify your supervisor immediately, don’t assume someone else with take care of it and never let anyone ever bully you into performing an unsafe act.  Remember the life you save may be your own.

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