Companies Behaving Badly – May Sweeps In


May is a very important month to the television and entertainment industry.  Depending on how many of us they sucker into watching their extravaganza filled spectacles of entertainment, many people will live and die by the numbers generated during this month of sweeps.  Just about daily the numbers will be scrutinized, analyzed, probed and interrupted, looking for the cash cow trends and to see if enough of the desired demographic goals have been met.  Are the 25-54 demo watching but we also need 18-49 demo too.  Not measuring to see if we enjoyed the show, we’re just guilty by association.  The sweeps are also important because they help determine the new advertising rates that the most watched Network can charge for ad time next season as well as determines how many heads will roll, which production companies will cheer with glee and how many will go dark.  So you can see that May is an important month for some.  Do you like to live and die by the numbers?  It’s exciting isn’t it?  Let me share some adrenaline filled numbers of interest for you to mull over. The average cost incurred from a forklift injury is $4,862.  The number of workers seriously injured in forklift related accidents each year is 20,000.  In the first 7 months of FY 2013-14, 721 people have died in industrial accidents.  That’s 103 a month folks!!  These numbers are also telling me, that unfortunately, this is another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.



Company cited for ‘entirely preventable’ death at Pulaski construction sitePREVENTABLE – Kyle Brown a 23 year old just beginning his journey through life was working on installing a roof during a beautiful Monday on a windy November day.  The winds were gusting to over 30 mph and one of them caught Kyle by surprise and blew him off the building falling 24 feet to the ground.  He died later that day at Upstate University Hospital from his injuries.  If only one person had taken the time to point out to Kyle that the harness he bothered to wear was not anchored to any thing, he’d still be here, but then since their company MTL Design Inc., a construction company based in Watertown failed to train employees to recognize fall hazards, ensure adequate anchorage for lifelines and secure the decking to prevent it from blowing in the wind NO ONE KNEW TOO.  For skipping these critical steps MTL was hit with a $88,900 fine which is way to little in my opinion.  Young workers, please listen, when you are given a safety harness to wear, it does not possess any magical powers.  You will not hover in the air and float safely to the ground.  When you are given a safety harness to wear, even if not trained, your first thought should be,where does it get attached to prevent me from falling to my death.

OSHA investigates after man falls 40 feet while working on billboardPREVENTABLEYet another young man, Brian Keith Bramblett, 29 was also killed in a fall after he plummeted 40 feet.  He was part of a construction crew installing a billboard, when the large metal pole that would hold up the billboard shifted, hitting the bucket Keith was in and he fell. He was not wearing any fall protection gear.  When Sherif’s Deputies arrived at the scene they found workers moving equipment, machines and possibly evidence around the work site.  Let’s hope a thorough investigation will still be possible and the cause of this tragic accident is found.  Wear Fall Protection.

Tangerine Confectionery fined after worker speared by forklift – PREVENTABLE – Keith Lowe was a forklift driver for Tangerine Confectionery Company in Blackpool, U.K. until his forklift collided with another forklift.  The plastic curtains the company used to keep insects and birds out of the warehouse hindered the view of drivers entering.  Unfortunately the workers were expressing their concerns of the curtains and lack of traffic management to the deaf ears of dull-witted management and nothing was done even though there had been three previous collisions in 3 months in the same spot.  To make driving even more challenging in the warehouse, management thought it was a great idea to over crowd it with pallets while having maintenance work done.  Really have to wonder about the quality of the leadership that has left Mr. Lowe disabled for life and Tangerine paying out $202,000 in fines.  Too bad you can’t fine for stupidity.  The worst thing you could ever do is ignore employee concerns, have someone become injured or killed and then have to life with that forever.  Can you?

ND tops list of deadly states for workers; MT still high on charts – PREVENTABLE – North Dakota, the 39th state of the union has a new distinction to add to it’s list of accomplishments.  It is now the deadliest state in the United States to work in with a fatality rate of 18 deaths per 100,000 workers which is 5 times higher than the national average.  A crack down on oil and gas companies operating in North Dakota is in order to stop this.  If you were wondering, Wyoming is second followed by Alaska, Montana and West Virginia.


Company Where Warehouse Fire Occurred Had Previous OSHA Violations – PREVENTABLE – An employee of American Packing and Crating in West Savannah suffered minor burns to one arm from a fire that erupted at the propane tanks while he was performing a propane refill.  The fire quickly spread from the tanks to nearby wood pallets and then to several tractor trailers.  Unfortunately the company has a history.  In May 2010 – 5 serious violations including no fire extinguishers.  July 2011 – 3 serious violations.  May 2012 – 1 violation.  January 2013 – 2 violations including an issue with the propane storage tank. Propane needs an ignition source to burn, when fueling, make sure your forklift is off, and it’s not a time for a quick smoke break since it only takes a split second.  Employees need to be properly trained how to refill propane tanks and it should be part of their forklift certification.

SanCasT fined for repeated safety violations  – PREVENTABLE – You would think that after Davis Rhoades an employee of SanCasT Inc. suffered a leg amputation in June 2013 after it became trapped in a machine, the company would review their safety program but not SanCasT Inc. as they were fined for a total of 17 violations in a November 2013 inspection.  The violations ranged from repeat for unguarded nip points and fall hazards to 11 serious violations such as NO LOTO, struck by hazards and no inspections of cranes and hoists.  In fact one crane used was found to have broken wires.  Previously to this, SanCasT hadn’t had a loss time injury accident in over 9 years.  So what changed?  They were bought out more than 5 years ago by Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies Corp, also known as Wabtec and it’s very clear that Wabtec is not interested in the safety culture SanCasT had for it’s employees.  If you want evidence that a safety culture is created and maintained by the company management here it is.

Safety violation charge filed in Michigan workplace death – ABOUT TIME – Brian Tarachanowicz a 38 year old fell to his death on July 2, 2012 while removing a roof deck at a commercial building.  Brian, an employee of Black River Builders was not wearing any protective equipment and no inspections were performed by the company to detect hazards. The State Attorney Generals office has charged Black River Builders owner Joe Novak with a safety violation causing death, which is a felony.  It’s about time that company owners who purposely put employees in harms way for the sake of profits are put on trial.  The threat of sitting in a jail cell should be more powerful than monetary fines.


Effort underway to prosecute more OSHA crimes – ABOUT TIME – OSHA is stepping up its efforts to refer some fatality cases for criminal prosecution and now Los Angeles County is joining in the effort.  Owners of companies and executives of companies that place their employees in to dangerous, life threatening situations can keep their wallets in their back pocket as they’ll be looking at jail time.  About time!!

State hiring beginners for critical refinery-inspector jobs – BUREAUCRATIC FAIL – California used to pride itself on CAL OSHA.  It was always one step better than the U.S. OSHA regulations and always seemed on top of it.  But lately California is not so golden any more as the good ole boy network of placing termed out politicians and cronies into key state positions is finally catching up with California and enforcement becomes a joke.  

Deering Lumber recognized for safety and health precautions – BRAVO – The SafetyWorks program of the Maine Department of Labor has recognized Deering Lumber for its efforts in providing a safe and healthy work environment at all three of its facilities, in Springvale, Biddeford and Kennebunk. IT CAN BE DONE!!!

Four Fox Cities firms among Corporate Safety Award winners – BRAVO – Thirteen Wisconsin companies will be honored this month for their health innovations and safety efforts in the workplace.  READ THE ARTICLE TO SEE IT CAN BE DONE.

Floor Waste Recycling Boxes NEW PRODUCT – Check it out.


That my friends brings another episode of Companies Behaving Badly to a close.  Please feel free as always to us any of these stories for your next safety meeting or safety tailgate/toolbox meeting.  Workplace safety is not just the responsibility of one person.  It’s not just the responsibility of company management, the safety manager, the union, your supervisor, the employees.  It’s up to ALL of you together, communicating, watching out for each other and doing the job correctly with all the proper PPE needed.  Safety is also using common sense and you young people in the 20 something crowd, listen!  If someone hands you a fall protection harness to wear the first thought that should enter you head before, “the color doesn’t suit me or you don’t like the fashion”, is where and what do I attach the tether too so if I slip and fall I won’t die.  If someone tells you to change out a gear or make adjustments on a piece of equipment the first thought that should enter you head is where do I shut off the power and LOTO the box.  Whether you’re a millennium or a baby boomer you have the right to go home the same way you arrived at work, in one piece.  Don’t let anyone put you in an unsafe situation.  Be a safety advocate and participate on the Company Safety Committee.  Don’t have one and need help starting one, contact me.  Until next month, stay safe.

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