Companies Behaving Badly – Willful a Few Dollars More

Nothing says “I care about you” more than a willful safety violation.  OSHA’s definition of a WILLFUL violation is ” a violation in which the employer either knowingly failed to comply with a legal requirement (purposeful disregard) or acted with plain indifference to employee safety.” I put that into these terms: Company management knew of the safety hazard but couldn’t care less if anyone got injured or killed let alone fix it.  Not our problem, you need to be careful that’s what we said in our last safety meeting.  Didn’t you pay attention?  You do not have to work in an unsafe environment and NO ONE can force you to commit an unsafe act.  Report safety issues to your supervisor and if nothing happens report it to your union representative and if nothing still happens call OSHA. The company will feed you lots of bull about we’re working on it, or that parts are backordered, but in the meantime, it’s o.k. to use.  Just break sooner.  Because if you do use it and get hurt, the company will throw you under the bus in a minute, their lawyers will insist on it.  You have only one life on this planet, why would you risk it for some company that couldn’t care less about you.  As of September 13, 2014 – 1,315 people have died on the job.  After those remarks I know this has unfortunately got to be another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.

Somerville cabinet company exposed workers to carcinogens, OSHA says – PREVENTABLE OSHA as part of their Site-Specific Targeting Program for industries with high injury and illness rates couldn’t have come to Choice Cabinetry of Somerville, New Jersey soon enough as they found15 violations including 3 WILLFUL and 7 serious.  They use methylene chloride at this plant, a chemical that when a worker is exposed, has an increased risk of developing cancer and skin and eye irritation as well as possible adverse effects on the heart, central nervous system and liver.  So of course the willful violations were lack of a hazard communication program, hazard communication training and methylene chloride training.  They also didn’t have proper P.P.E. or eyewash facilities. For all this love they have been hit with a proposed fine of only $136,290.

Florida Roofing Contractor Faces $340K in OSHA Fines for Fall, PPE Hazards – PREVENTABLEMore Willful choices as GP Roofing & Construction LLC seemed to have no problem at all exposing their workers to falls or injuries at their two residential work sites.  You know safety costs time and money and just cuts into that profit margin.  So GP Roofing was found to have at total of 12 safety violations including 3 WILLFUL and 4 REPEAT violations.  They willfully failed to provide workers with fall protection systems as well as repeatedly allowed workers to use powered nail guns without eye and face protection and for failing to extend ladders three feet above the landing surface for roof access.  Yes, I know, another company that shares the love.

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Man dies in Valley forklift accident – PREVENTABLE – George Young a 54 year old employee of Midwest Manufacturing wasn’t expecting to be killed by his forklift that Monday evening.  He had been employed there for 2 years before the standup forklift he was using backed into some shelving and he became pinned.  Don’t know if his forklift didn’t stop in time or how he became dislodged from his standup to get pinned but this should remind everyone that forklifts are secret killers in your warehouse if not properly maintained and your drivers trained.

Pedestrian killed in forklift accident in Lancaster County, police say + Postal employee taken to hospital after forklift accident – PREVENTABLE – Two forklift accidents that were both avoidable if only the drivers were paying attention.  The driver in Lancaster county wasn’t paying attention or watching the road when he struck Debroahlee Pinot who was walking towards him on the road shoulder.  The postal worker was not paying attention or he would have seen the support beam before he hit it. A forklift like any other motorized vehicle is only as safe as it’s operator drives it and driving distracted will almost always end with an accident.  The notion that you’re the only one on the road or warehouse is ridiculous and you should always operate under the guise there are folks around.  LOOK before you drive!!!  In fact if you see any of your forklift drivers back up without first looking, pull them off, suspend their forklift license and have them go through the training course again.

Supervisor Fatally Injured at Ohio Plant – PREVENTABLE – Imagine the thoughts that went through the mind of the 48 year old supervisor as a heavy metal door struck him and slowly squeezed the last breath out of his body.  He had worked for Certified Heat Treating Inc. of Miamisburg, OH for 25 years and obviously worked his way up to supervisor, but also obvious, safety wasn’t a priority in his training or to the company itself.  Bill Wilkerson, OSHA’s area director put it best, “No worker should lose their life because an employer decided to cut corners on safety.”  Think about it, he started there at about the age of 23 and for years was told it’s o.k. to do it this way and for 25 years nothing happened, that is until March 31st. 2014 when he gave his life trying to save the company money by cutting corners. When OSHA inspected the facility they found 10 serious violations mostly related to confined space and L.O.T.O standards for the control of machinery and moving parts.  Workers were also inadequately trained on specific procedures to prevent such incidents, and periodic inspections of equipment were NOT conducted.  The proposed fine is only $64,000.  Yes after 25 years of service that’s what it amounts too.  DO NOT work on any piece of machinery or equipment unless you know it is properly locked out and tagged out.

Rockville Construction LLC Cited By OSHA – PREVENTABLE – Yet another construction company, this time in Manchester, Conn. was found to have over 24 health and safety violations after an OSHA inspection.  During a renovation project the workers weren’t given adequate safeguards to prevent exposure to lead, falls and electrical hazards.  There was also inadequate training to workers about the hazards of lead exposure and the company lacked a hazard communication program.  In other words, the company figured the less said the better, and we can save some money as well.  Don’t ever be afraid to ask about the conditions in a work site.

OSHA Cites Haverhill Chemicals in Fatality – PREVENTABLE – Nick Walters, OSHA’s regional director in Chicago said it best, “A long term employee, preparing to retire and spend more time with his loved ones, lost his life in a preventable tragedy.  A worker who dedicated his life to a job should never lose that life to that job.” The OSHA investigation into his death found 21 serious and 2 other than serious safety violations. The 61 year old worker suffered fatal injuries as an expansion joint failed while he was clearing a blockage and a thermally heated chemical mixture spewed on him.  That was Haverhill Chemicals send off for their long time employee. They had failed him and other workers by not ensuring misaligned pipes and expansion joints were repaired properly and adequate safety shields were installed.  Proposed fine is only $134,000.

Newington Business Fined After Worker Loses Parts Of Fingers – PREVENTABLE – Nothing like a little accident to get all that unwanted attention from OSHA and then having them find all kinds of things.  That’s what happened at West Hartford Stairs & Cabinets when an employee cut off parts of two of his fingers and OSHA found 16 serious violations to a tune of a $60,200 proposed fine.  In addition to the inadequate guarded machine where the employee amputated his fingers, they also found no spark detector in the dust collection system, improper disposal of flammable rags and buildup of flammable chemicals, failed to have employees wear safety glasses and protective gloves when using chemicals and NO emergency eyewash station and were only some of the issues.  The good thing here is yes the worker suffered an injury but that caused OSHA to come by before this company had a chance to blow itself up and hurt more employees.

CT Roofing Contractor Cited After Fatal Worker Fall PREVENTABLE – A young worker, 28 years old fell 18 feet off a roof he was working on and died 4 days later from his injuries.  The saddest thing about this death is that he was wearing a safety harness but it wasn’t tied to an independent anchorage.  Where the hell was his foreman and why didn’t they make him tie off?  Ah, but it turns out M&M Roofing has been cited 3 times before by OSHA for similar hazards so they have a history of NOT caring for their employees.  In addition to the fall hazard, they were cited for 2 serious violations, an unguarded skylight and allowing workers to work close to power lines.  Only $40,600 for their indifference to their employees safety. In my opinion repeat violators in construction should have their licenses pulled and suspended for a period of time.  We need to stop these senseless deaths.

(Photo courtesy of the          Collins family)

(Photo courtesy of the Collins family)

Lawmaker: Time to consider stiffer OSHA penalties – OPINION/FOOD FOR THOUGHT –  As you regular readers know I am a big proponent of greatly increasing the fines and penalties for violating companies, but for willful and serious violations which also should have an added penalty if the violation results in a death.  To me the lesser violations should be more of a teaching moment.  However this article is more about Brett Samuel Collins, a 20 year old college student who was happy to have a summer job so he could have some money when he returned to school.  Unfortunately, Brett never made it back to classes. We need to do a better job of teaching safety to our younger workers.

Cargill’s Illinois Pork Plant Reaches 6 Million Work Hours With No Injuries – SAFETY WINNER – Cargill’s pork processing facility in Beardstown, Ill. who employs more than 2,000 workers and processes 1 billion pounds of pork in a year.  Congratulations, It can be done!!

Maine Businesses Recognized for Workplace Safety – SAFETY WINNERCommissioner of Labor Jeanne Paquette announced that Maine Oxy of Brewer and Davis Brothers of Chester have each earned the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program Award (SHARP) in recognition of each business’ rigorous safety achievement program.

The days are getting shorter. Make sure your workplace is properly lit in all seasons. – SAFETY TIP – Great information on lighting the workplace and tips from Safety.BLR.com  Remember your workers are not mushrooms and studies show people work better and safer in well lit work areas.

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Well, that brings another episode of Companies Behaving Badly to a close. Thank you for stopping by and please share these stories at your next safety tailgate/toolbox safety meeting.  You should never fell guilty about speaking up about safety.  You have every right to do so.  Even if most of the plant doesn’t observe the rules, make sure your team does.  You’ll take some flack for it but you’ll be able to look at yourself in the mirror and the great feeling of sending all your staff home in one piece. Insist on a safe workplace.  Until next month my friends, have a happy Halloween.

    warehouseflow.com

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