Stocks fall, stars fall, space debris falls, Governments fall and you may fall apart, fallout, fall asleep, fall behind, fall flat, fall for, fall ill or fall head over heels, as you avoid the pit falls while your voice falls on deaf ears. However you DO NOT ever want to fall to your death as what tragically happened to 2 construction workers in the San Francisco Bay in two separate incidents, within a day of each other. Falls are the number #1 cause of injuries and deaths in all industries and what is so frustrating is this is all preventable but YOU need to be part of the solution. Support National Safety Stand-Down For Fall Protection June 2 – 6 Use this week to focus your team on how to detect, prepare and prevent this hazard.
Why all the falls? My theory, when you are young you believe you are invincible, indestructible and find that thrill in bending the rules a little. These bad habits we developed in our youth carry on into our career and since we still have all our body parts, why change! “It’ll never happen to me.” Over the years no one bothers to intervene and teach you the correct way or if they have, you blow them off. I’m not saying that is the case in either of these incidents but neither man was wearing fall protection gear. My guess is, it’s not enforced since safety costs time and time is money to a company and when recovering from a bad economy, everything goes, even factoring in the cost of human life on the bottom line as part of doing business as usual, because the mis-informed still believe safety costs too much. Hey, that sounds to me like this is, unfortunately, another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.
San Mateo: Worker dies in fall at residential construction site – PREVENTABLE – Elias Vera a 54 year old of Fairfield, California fell to his death on a beautiful sunny day. He fell 9 feet from a wall while working on a townhouse and was employed by a subcontractor, Conco concrete company. Records indicate the company has been investigated by CalOSHA 8 times in the last 6 years for accidents at various sites and were cited 15 times.
Second Bay Area construction worker death – PREVENTABLE – On another beautiful bay area day Victorino Campos-Tovar a 48 year old worker was killed when he fell three stories to his death while unloading sheet rock at a construction site in San Jose, California and worked for FBM Construction.
Tucson framing contractor fined $113,500 – PREVENTABLE – U.S. Carpentry-Tucson was hit with a $113,500 fine by the Industrial Commission of Arizona for willfully violating safety rules after receiving an anonymous complaint. Two workers were found working on the roof of a 2 story house without fall protection gear in addition to no guardrails around windows and open stairwells. Their excuse was there wasn’t enough gear to go around. The company didn’t even bother to have a site specific fall protection plan or complete employee training records. NEVER use the excuse “there wasn’t safety equipment available”. It only shows you are not someone I want to employ. No safety equipment, no job done.
OSHA Fines Lovell’s Western Sugar in Worker Death – PREVENTABLE – Anfesa Galaktionoff a 28 year old worker had discovered a new passion in her life to own and breed horses but it was shattered when she fell through a missing section of floor grating into a closed water system where she was sucked through 600 feet of pipe. Western Sugar Cooperative refinery was only hit with $71,000 in fines for the 12 violations found after Anfesa’s death. She never saw the missing section because of the debris built up that was allowed to accumulate. Why didn’t Western Sugar bother to rope off or properly tag the area as unsafe with signage? It would have only taken very little time to do and that’s why I believe the fine is not enough as someone should be sitting in a jail cell for their total disregard for hard working people.
Worker Struck By Forklift, Nicholson Terminal & Dock Co. Cited By OSHA – PREVENTABLE – After an employee of Nicholson Terminal & Dock Company was hit and killed by a 62,000 pound capacity forklift carrying a 40,000 pound steel coil, the OSHA investigation of this incident that followed found 2 Willful and 7 serious violations. In case you don’t know, a willful violation means the company intentionally, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirement, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health. The willful violations were due to a forklift being modified without manufacturer approval and the second for failing to establish vehicle routes, traffic rules and signs warning of pedestrian traffic. Sounds like it was every man and woman for themselves out there which is just an accident waiting to happen. The company also didn’t train employees on operating instructions, warnings and precautions listed in the operator’s manual, maintain vehicles in a safe working order nor direct employees to sound the horn when visibility was obstructed. For this they were hit with a $168,700 fine but the law needs to be changed. When it’s a willful violation there should be jail time included as well. Larry Johnson, OSHA’s area director in Lansing said it best, “A workers life should never be the cost of doing business.”
OSHA Fines Company for Amputation Hazards – PREVENTABLE – An employee of Kobelco Stewart Bolling Inc. in Hudson, Ohio had enough and rather than keep quiet and possibly lose a body part or death filled a complaint with OSHA. Or maybe the employee was motivated by the 3 repeat violations that were found during the inspection of inadequate LOTO procedures, exposing workers to unguarded equipment or the non labeling of chemical containers. A total of 13 violations were found including exposing workers to caught-in and amputation hazards for a proposed fine of $139,000. If the machine guarding is not in place don’t use the machine. Once you do it, the guards will never be put back and if you get injured who’s to say they won’t throw you to the wolves as an unsafe worker.
OSHA fines Salisbury business – PREVENTABLE – Ironic that a maker of coated fabrics and adhesives for the health care industry would expose it’s workers to being caught in or crushed by machinery. Andover Healthcare was cited for a repeat violation for inadequately training employees to implement LOTO procedures protecting workers who serviced the dangerous machines, well after all, lost time in production is lost money and who cares about lost limbs. The inspection was prompted as Andover is under the Site-Specific Targeting Program which focuses on facilities with a higher than average illness and injury rate and now have $93,200 in pending fines. Apparently no one in management has gotten a clue.
OSHA Fines Omaha Comp – PREVENTABLE – Baltazar’s Stone Inc. was hit with 15 violations by OSHA for exposing workers to dangerous silica dust levels after receiving an employee complaint. Workers were found exposed up to 3 times over the allowed limits as well as didn’t bother to train workers on silica hazards which can cause irreversible lung disease and other health issues over time like exposure to asbestos. For their effort in trying to shorten their workers life expectancy they were fined only $40,921. Remember any job you do, if there is dust created as a by-product you need to wear some kind of PPE to prevent that dust from getting into your lungs. You may not become ill today or tomorrow but 20 years from now it’s very possible.
I-Team: State Hiring Contractors With Extensive Safety Violations – OUTRAGE – Would you hire a child molester who told you they changed their ways as your child’s teacher? Would you hire someone with a history of violence and abuse who told you they changed their ways as your nanny? NO? Well the state of Massachusetts is more forgiving than we are as they have no problem hiring companies that are placed on OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program. This should be a public outrage and these companies should be placed on NO business with us list. If they were hired because they put in the lowest bid then alarms should be sounded as you know safety was not built into that price. Shame on Massachusetts!!
OSHA’s Eye and Face Protection Revisions Move Forward – UPDATE – OSHA is proceeding with proposed updating of the agency’s construction standard on eye and face protection bringing it in line with the latest consensus standards and making it consistent with the general industry standard. Suggest you read the article to keep up.
Best Practices for Bearing Protection – MAINTENANCE – The less time you have to spend on the repair or replacement of motors you should reduce the opportunities for accidents so making sure you get the most out of your machinery is critical. Wear and tear on bearings will reduce any machine’s operational life. This article addresses those issues with some great information.
Hard Hat Light Increases Visibility – NEW ITEM – This is a great new hard hat that makes you more visible. Check it out.
That my friends brings this episode of Companies Behaving Badly to a close. Thank you and grateful you stopped by, spending part of your hectic day here. Please feel free to share these articles with your employees and co-workers at your next safety tailgate/toolbox meeting. Remember to Support National Safety Stand-Down For Fall Protection June 2 – 6. No one, not a supervisor, manager, president, CEO or chairperson can force you to commit an unsafe act. When you give yourself that false sense of security because you got away with not doing it properly a few times, that’s when you’ll have an accident and hopefully it won’t be a permanent termination. Wear the proper PPE, make sure all machine guarding is in place otherwise don’t use it until it’s ready and always use LOTO for clearing jams, resetting, cleaning, maintenance and repairs. You may think you’re faster than the machine. The life you save may be your own. Treat each other with respect and see you here next episode, June 15th.