Men, we begin simply as “snips and snails and puppy dog’s tails” until we morph into Men and June happens to be men’s health month and it’s to remind men that your health is in your hands as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer are all preventable and/or treatable when detected. I understand, you’d rather stop and ask for directions than see your doctor but you can improve on the 77.4 year average life expectancy in the U.S. by eating right, (more fruits and vegetables and less steak and potatoes) exercise, (reaching for the remote control doesn’t count) and don’t put off discussing any issues you may experience with your doctor.
In fact, did you know that four of the top 5 man killers are, #1 Heart disease, #2 Cancer, #4 Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and #5 Stroke! I’ve saved the number 3 killer for last, Accidents! Men, seriously! We go through all of these life style changes, exercise routines and medical tests to avoid killers 1,2,4 and 5 from doing us in only to go climb out on a three story building roof without any fall protection gear! Instead of taking the time to do a proper LOTO because you’re in a rush you’d rather just climb into the belly of a piece of machinery to make an adjustment, “don’t worry it’ll only take a minute”! You give up smoking so you can instead fill your lungs inhaling silica dust because you don’t look cool in a dust mask! Do you see the problem here? A little hypocritical? Or should we just say men’s health is an oxymoron? Tell you what, let’s ALL work together to eliminate Men’s killer #3. We don’t need donations, we don’t need hundreds of scientist researching for hours, we just need YOU to work safe, wear the proper PPE, wear fall protection, always perform LOTO and question any potential hazards you see and then you can spend more time with your loved ones. I guess since we’re talking about accidents, this unfortunately must be another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY
OSHA levels $130,700 in penalties on two Kyle Field contractors over death of worker – PREVENTABLE – Angel Garcia a 25 year old worker, trusted the fact that his employer, Lindamood Demolition wouldn’t let him use a skid-steer loader that wasn’t approved for the task he was performing. That is until the 3,340 pound concrete stub an employee of Texas Cutting & Coring was cutting, tipped over the loader due to the excessive weight and fell 70 feet, ejecting Angel from the loader. He died later that day at the hospital. Both companies failed to provide employees with safe demolition procedures despite concerns from workers and for this both companies were hit with Willful violations and Lindamood placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program. Casey Perkins, OSHA’s area director said, “This disregard for worker safety is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.” As I’ve said before fines are nice, but some management people should be in a jail cell. Always check the weight capacity any piece of equipment can handle safely before operating it. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s o.k. to exceed that limit.
OSHA cites company in workers’ deaths – PREVENTABLE – Timothy Lang, a 53 year old construction worker who loved his vegetable garden and decorating for the holidays died on site while his coworker Scott Winkler, a 50 years old family man with 5 children and who enjoyed the outdoors died several days later in the hospital after a concrete wall that was not properly braced fell on them. A third worker Rafael Zakota, 37 sustained injuries that will heal but the memory of this accident will be with him for the rest of his life. Halmar International their employer was hit with 2 serious violations one of which occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have know. Since this was a mock up site to get ready for the actually project my guess is the company tried to save money by omitting the needed supports. Again, this is a time where the person in charge should be facing murder charges.
OSHA investigating fatal grain mill accident – PREVENTABLE – On a cool, beautiful early Tuesday morning at Great Falls Montana Specialty Mills, Barry Ladd died as he bled out after having lost his leg when he stepped in an auger. The accident is currently under investigation but records show that Specialty Mills was found to have 7 safety violations in a 2012 routine inspection by OSHA that resulted in a $24,000 fine. Two of the violations involved protective coverings of floor holes and revolving parts. The others involved floor cleanliness, electrical equipment and protocol for working in confined spaces. All sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. You shouldn’t have to remember where all the holes in the floor are. They must be properly marked and made safe enough for you to get the job done without falling or an amputation.
MA Steel fabrication shop cited after worker crushed – PREVENTABLE – A 46 year old worker at Boston Bridge & Steel Company had trusted that his employer had properly secured the 12,000 pound steel arch beam he was assigned to paint. As he worked, probably thinking about the upcoming holidays, the 6 ton arch fell on him and crushed him to death. OSHA found that his trust was misplaced as Boston Bridge failed to make sure the beam and 3 others like it, were not properly braced to prevent falling. Have you ever seen how a pilot does a walk around his jet as part of a pre-check? He knows that his company has some of the best talented mechanics in the world taking care of that jet, but he knows that “stuff” can happen. So as an added safety measure, he walks and looks. Before you work on any project you should take the few minutes to do the same.
OSHA Cites Chicago Company for Repeat Violations – PREVENTABLE – Pan-Oceanic Engineering Company in Chicago is either very arrogant or just very stupid as they were cited for a second time this year for failing to protect workers in trenches from cave-in hazards. They were given a willful violation which in plain english means they knew they were putting workers in danger and couldn’t care less. Think about what it’s must be like to work for a company that doesn’t care if you are buried alive and suffocate. Warming isn’t it? They were also cited for a serious violation after someone found evidence of a potential cave-in and did nothing about it. For all this they were only fined $147,000 and placed under the Severe Violator Enforcement Program. In fact, according to OSHA since 2003 they have been cited multiple times for violations of trenching standards and why they’re allowed to continue one wonders.
Lincolnshire firm ECO Plastics Ltd fined £12,500 after employee hit by reversing forklift truck – PREVENTABLE – Robin Eddom, a 63 year old engineer who worked at ECO Plastics Ltd. was just trying to get through the waste processing building but couldn’t use the pedestrian walkway as he was trained to because it was blocked with building materials and equipment while construction work was going on. He had trusted that the company had warned their forklift drivers to watch for pedestrians due to the blocked walkway, but he was hit by a reversing forklift and suffered severe injuries. The company had no problem allowing employees and moving forklifts share the same route and for what ever reason never thought to redirect traffic or detour pedestrians to another route. No warning, no signage or anything. As they say, just an accident waiting to happen. When ever any change occurs in the workplace, whether installation of a new piece of equipment, production lines or even a temporary change, look around and see if there are any newly created safety issues and don’t assume all the employees will no what to do on their own. Communicate!
OSHA Cites Contractor for Exposing Workers to Fall Hazards – PREVENTABLE – It’s even happening in my home town, the Bronx, as Kay Waterproofing Corporation was cited by OSHA for 13 serious violations at their worksite of a residential building in Edgewater, New Jersey. Not only were they cited for exposing workers to fall and scaffolding hazards but failed to provide eye protection and hard hats for falling debris and cutting of masonry. They also didn’t ensure equipment had electrical grounding pins and not properly guarded. Isn’t is great when companies show the love? They are now facing a proposed fine of $66,600.
Missoula store facing OSHA fines – PREVENTABLE – You can’t always judge a book by it’s name, but in this case Dollar Tree Stores seems to spend only that much on safety as several of their stores throughout the country have been found to be willfully exposing workers to safety hazards, which means customers are at risk as well. At this location in Missoula, Mt. an employee filed a complaint with OSHA because they were rightfully concerned with the blocked emergency exit routes, the storage of materials in unstable and unsecured means and the use of space around electrical equipment for storage. Usually an employee calls OSHA as a last resort since their expressed concerns fall on management’s deaf ears. For their lack of effort, Dollar was hit with a fine of $217,000 for putting their valuable assets at risk.
OSHA cites Flambeau River Papers for failing to protect workers from toxic sulfur dioxide vapors – PREVENTABLE – According to OSHA, Flambeau River Papers routinely exposed workers to sulfur dioxide vapors which can cause numerous adverse effects to the respiratory tract and led to 8 violations, including failing to document safe operating limits and to comply with good engineering practices for equipment as well as failing to conduct an annual audit of the LOTO procedures for a total of $42,300. You can breath deeper now.
Turkeyâ€™s Building Boom Takes Toll on Worker Safety – PREVENTABLE – Sad, but falls at construction sites is not just a problem in the United States as 3 workers in Turkey were killed as the scaffolding they were depending on collapsed. You can read about the issues their construction workers are facing.
Games teach Missoula teens importance of workplace safety – TRAINING – Teaching teens about workplace safety before they become part of the workforce is a great idea and hopefully will pay off with fewer accidents down the road.
After working in a warehouse, thrice-suspended Redskins S Jackson thankful for another chance – UPDATE – Who said working in a warehouse was easy? Ask Redskins Safety Tanard Jackson who wouldn’t go into detail about his warehouse job, but it was enough to jar him into making what he called a “lifestyle change” to keep from reverting to old habits.
Clearwater Paper’s North Las Vegas Tissue Facility Achieves OSHA VPP Star Status – HURRAY – Clearwater Paper Corporation received the Nevada OSHA’s highest level of recognition offered by the agency’s Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) as Star status. Clearwater Paper now becomes one of only nine such VPP sites in the state of Nevada. Congratulations!
On that last note, that my friends, brings this episode of Companies Behaving Badly to a close. As always, thank you for taking time out of your busy day to stop by and feel free to use any of these topics for your next safety tailgate/toolbox meeting. Before operating any forklift, tugger, excavator always check the manufacturers plate on the equipment to see what the weight capacity it can safely handle is. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s o.k. to exceed the limit on the plate, there is no fudge room built in. Don’t operate any machinery that has been modified from normal use without the consent, approval and assistance of the manufacturer. If the manufacturers weight plate is missing or unreadable report it immediately to management. Always do a walk around the equipment for any signs of leaks or distress before starting. Never operate any machinery you are not trained or checked out on. Above all, report any issues that affect safe operation of any equipment immediately! Remember, we’ve working to eliminate Man Killer #3 and together we can do this. Hope to see you all here Next month.