Companies Behaving Badly – Falling Down

Falls continue to be the number one killer at construction sites and pretty high on the list in overall industrial accidents.  Why are we falling down on the job of ending this absolutely preventable accident?  Because to many companies don’t care.  They have already built into the cost of doing business OSHA fines if caught and the value of your life in dollars based on the calculations of some bean counter and as long as the job gets done and it doesn’t hurt the profits much, they can live with it. That’s why holes in floors go unrepaired, loose or missing railings are left in disrepair and machine guards are left off equipment, because their notion that the time used to take care of these repairs would somehow hurt the bottom line by redirecting resources.  What kind of message is that sending to you as an employee?  It says that all you are is a number and you remain nameless and faceless to upper management because all they are focused on is how much money they made, how much more effort can you give them and PPE, LOTO and all other forms of safety are money wasters.  Wow, this unfortunately sounds like it’s going to be another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.

Death of Alberta teen under investigation by Occupational Health and Safety – PREVENTABLE – These are the worst kind of accident when someone so young dies on the job.  Chris Lawrence was about to turn 16 when something he was wearing became entangled in the machine he was operating and was pulled under and died.  Even though it is legal in Alberta Provence for someone this young to work a dangerous job maybe we need to look at extra safety training for the younger ones. He had been on the job for a short period of time but didn’t enjoy where he was and wanted to quit and move closer to home.  The lesson here is if you hate your job you tend to tune out and little things like dangling straps from a vest or a loose sleeve are not noticed and before you know it, you are dead.  Always be aware of your surroundings no matter your mood.  Focus.

OSHA to investigate death of Sioux Falls worker – PREVENTABLE – David Lee VanVoorst a 59 year old married, Iowan native, who enjoyed his hot wheels collection and family vacations had trusted that the 3,200 pound concrete culvert he was working under at Josten Concrete Products of Sioux Falls was properly secured in the hoist.  Unfortunately he took his last breath at 8:15 a.m. when it slipped out and fell on him.  Josten Concrete was found to have 6 violations in 2008 when they were inspected by OSHA as part of a national movement to inspect companies exposing workers to amputation hazards.  The cause of the accident is currently under investigation.

OSHA Cites Tecumseh Facility After Trucker’s Death – PREVENTABLE – Midwest Farmers Cooperative was cited for 12 serious violations OSHA found during an inspection at their facility in Tecumseh, NE after a 63 year old truck driver died from inhalation of anhydrous ammonia.  Some of the serious violations revolved around storage and handling  of ammonia including no training for an emergency response, no PPE and didn’t bother to inspect the equipment for detection of leaks. A serious OSHA violation is, if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.  Safety doesn’t cost that much and saves you from all this unwanted attention.


Western Sugar Cooperative Issued 39 Citations – PREVENTABLE – To me, Western Sugar Cooperative is just a accident waiting to happen as Wyoming OSHA proposed $194,000 in fines for the 39 violations they found at both their 2 locations in Wyoming.  At one site it was numerous fall hazards, inadequate signage and not replacing safety guards.  Their other facility in Lovell was found to have unmaintained PPE, no hazard assessment conducted and workers allowed to drink beverages near chemicals.  This facility was also cited earlier this year with 12 violations after a worker was killed.

Investigators: Overloaded Bins Caused Collapse – PREVENTABLE – Keith Everett a 47 year old recognized by his hearty laugh and David Ball, 53 years old and avid outdoorsman probably had no idea that their employer, International Nutrition had overloaded the roof storage bins causing a collapse that killed both of them and injured several others per a report released by OSHA. In addition they were also cited for 13 alleged violations for a total of $120,560 in fines.  Of course International Nutrition denies these findings but records show OSHA fined them in 2002 for $13,000 in relation to another worker’s death when he fell into a moving mixer that he was cleaning.  In 2012 that were hit with 6 violations.  If this report is correct, the person who ordered the overfilling of the bins should be put on trial.

OSHA fines Auburn company $816K over work hazards – PREVENTABLE – Formed Fiber Technologies an automotive fabrics and fibers manufacturer cares so little about their employees that they actually lied to OSHA that they had eliminated the hazards from the 11 violations found in October of last year.  The provided FALSE documentation to the Government agency which to me is a crime.  They have been hit with a whopping $816,500 fine for 9 willful and 4 repeat safety violations. As Dr David Michaels, OSHA’s assistant secretary of labor said, “Formed Fiber apparently decided that production was more important than ensuring it’s worker’s safety.”  A willful violation is when a company knows about the hazards but couldn’t care less if employees wound up with amputated body parts. Someone should be on trial for lying and willful violations.

Cal/OSHA Cites Warehouse Company over $300,000 for Failing to Correct Serious Hazards at its Mira Loma Facility – PREVENTABLE – National Distribution Center LP (doing business as NFI) is another company who refuses to do the right thing and lied this time to CAL/OSHA they had taken care of the issue.  Since they were told to provide foot protection to workers back in 2012 and found again this year they’ve been hit with a $308,435 fine.  Monetary fines are nice but we need to start putting these people responsible on trial for knowingly putting human’s at risk.


United Airlines cited for workplace safety violations – PREVENTABLE – They may have friendly skies but it’s ugly on the ground as United Airlines Newark Liberty International Airport repeatedly put workers at risk of injury from falls, falling objects and other assorted hazards.  A total of 16 violations were sited some repeat violations from a 2011 inspection for a total of $101,300. You can’t concentrate on doing a good job for your employer if you are to busy dodging hazards.  You deserve a safe work environment.

OSHA cites Forever 21 over Wayne violations – PREVENTABLE – Not going to be forever 21 or older if these serious safety hazards at its Wayne location aren’t cleared up as the retailer Forever 21 was inspected based on a employee complaint and found 3 repeat violations and this was the third time the chain has been cited in the last 7 months.  Apparently corporate headquarters is not getting the message, maybe OSHA needs to text them and for their lack of effort, Forever 21 was hit with a $158,000 fine which I’m sure will be passed on to the consumers.


Engineer, firm face most serious charges yet under Australia’s toughest workplace safety laws – AUSTRALIA – This is a country who understands how to get companies to pay attention to safety as a NSW maintenance engineer faces up to 5 years in prison and his bosses could be fined $3 million for the death of a young building worker 2 years ago. New Zealand to Bring Strict Law to Ensure Safety in Work Place – NEW ZEALAND – They will be passing new legislation shortly to make health and safety a top priority in the workplace.  It will be mandatory for any person conducting a business to eliminate all the risks posing a threat to workers health and safety.  They’ve also included penalties of imprisonment and/or fines ranging from $600,000 to $ 3 million dollars. Saskatchewan Introduces Ticketing System for Certain Workplace Safety Violations – CANADA – Saskatchewan province is trying a unique way to handle work and safety violations that may have merit. Inspectors will hand out tickets like a traffic cop for up to 12 different published offenses.  Should be interesting to see how this goes. Workplace accidents killed 246 in 6 months – Bangladesh – Then on the other hand the Bangladesh Occupational Safety of Health and Environment Foundation (OSHE) has reported 246 deaths in the workplace in the first six months of the year.

Sundyne Receives OSHA VPP Star Certification; Recognizing Safety Leadership – SAFETY AWARD WINNER – Congratulations to Sundyne of Arvada, Colorado for achieving recertification of Star Status.

La-Z-Boy Dayton receives state safety award – SAFETY AWARD WINNER – Congratulations to La-Z-Boy Inc. of Dayton for being chosen to receive the Commissioner’s Award of Excellence for Workplace Safety.

Steel-Toe Socks – SAFETY ITEMS – Check them out.

Explosion Proof Portable LED Lights – GADGETS – Added safety in your facility.

That my friends, brings another episode of Companies Behaving Badly to a close.  Thank you for stopping by and feel free to use any of these stories at your next tailgate/toolbox safety meeting and one day, I hope to run out of companies behaving badly to write about. Each and everyone one of us is a unique individual with different points of view, talents, knowledge, wisdom and ethics. You get one opportunity to make your mark in life and determine how you’ll be remembered by your actions and I want to be remembered as someone who placed another unique personality in the highest regard and out of harms way.  Don’t except an unsafe workplace.  Be a voice for safety, be an advocate, be loud.  Join your companies safety committee and if they don’t have one START one.  Remember the life you save may be your own.

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