Companies Behaving Badly – It’s a Wonderful Life

As you prepare to celebrate the holidays and entertain friends and family please take a moment and think about the 1,400 workers who died on the job and the family members who’ll be spending their first holiday without that loved one; fathers, mothers, sons, daughters and grandparents.  Thank you.   Most of these accidents were the result of company owners who said Bah, humbug to spending money on safety whether to replace machine guards to prevent amputations or take the time to do a proper Lockout/tagout before servicing equipment to prevent a death. Time is money and production must never stop!  The successful companies understand that people are their biggest asset and make sure they work with them to keep them safe as workplace safety is a two way street.  You are just as responsible for your safety as your employer by doing it the correct way with no short cuts.  You don’t have to die at work.  Well, this unfortunately sounds like another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.


OSHA Cites Environmental Remediation and Recovery Inc. after Worker Dies – PREVENTABLE – Environmental Remediation and Recovery Inc. was found by OSHA to have 7 Willful and 14 serious violations during their investigation into the death of an employee.  A willful violation means that the company knew there was a dangerous hazard but couldn’t care less about employee’s safety to do something about it.  When this 27 year old worker climbed into the rail car he trusted his employer had made sure it was safe for him to enter.  When he passed out from the fumes they couldn’t get him out immediately because he was not attached to a retrieval system or was given any respiratory protection gear but that may have not made a difference since the company failed to remove defective respirators.  That all costs money and nothing like playing the odds when it comes to workers safety.  A proposed fine of $188,400 has been issued but I still believe when a death is caused by willful intent the people in charge should be in jail.

OSHA Cites Belvidere Company for Safety Violations After Worker is Crushed – PREVENTABLE – Jacob Frisella was a 21 year old just beginning his adventure in life and had no idea that he would die at work that day when he was crushed to death while trying to make adjustments to his machine.  His employer Ventra Belvidere was issued 1 Willful and 4 serious safety violations because they thought it would be o.k. not to make sure the sensing device to detect someone’s presence was improperly set.  For this they were given a proposed fine of $93,400 which is not nearly enough for this.  Tampering with the function of any safety mechanism should have a prison sentence attached.


OSHA: Holes in JBS safety practices at fault in June death – PREVENTABLE – Ralph Horner a 54 year old maintenance technician didn’t think he would die at work this day as he worked near an unguarded and vulnerable area on the conveyor belt.  He’s done it before and thought he was lucky, that is until his hair got caught in it and dragged him into the conveyor and killing him.  This was not the first time JBS exposed workers to unguarded hazards and pinch points as they were cited for this in 2010.  For this repeat violation plus one serious one they were fined $45,500 for the death of a human being because they JBS couldn’t be bothered to replace the guards on the conveyor belts.  You have every right to refuse to operate any piece of equipment if all the proper guards are not in place.  I’ve done it when maintenance had earlier in the day removed the guards protecting workers from rotating chains but didn’t replace them for graveyard shift.  When I saw that during my rounds, I shut down the machine. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s fine to operate.

Nuvo Construction Co, Sonag Ready Mix cited by OSHA following fatal industrial accident – PREVENTABLE – 3 children are without a father as their 39 year old Dad was crushed to death at work because NO ONE thought it important enough to make sure power was off to the mixer he was doing maintenance on.  What’s even more amazing is the stupidity continued the next day as an employee from another company finished those repairs on the bin where the death occurred also with NO L.O.T.O.  Both companies, Nuvo Construction Co. and Sonag Ready Mix LLC were handed Willful violations for the amount of $84,000 each.  If you are told to make repairs on a piece of equipment and won’t let you LOTO for your safety or try to tell you it’s not necessary, they couldn’t care less about your well being.  Don’t do it.

OSHA fines roofing contractor $140,000 – PREVENTABLE – With all the publicity and national stand downs you’d think the message of fall prevention and safety would get through to everyone, well everyone who cares I guess. Affordable Exteriors of Omaha must be affordable as they save money by abandoning safety for their workers as they were hit with 2 Willful violations by OSHA for not providing fall protection or the associated training at one of their work sites.  Even with the proposed fine of $140,000 there is no guarantee that these idiots will get the message as they have been cited 5 times in the last 10 years for exposing workers to fall hazards.  This is a case where fines are not working and the company should be suspended from doing business.

OSHA cites metal plate company in East El Paso for alleged health and safety violations – PREVENTABLE – Nothing screams more of a company that it’s an accident waiting to happen than a dirty, sloppy, disgusting operation.  It tells you that leadership is non-existent and that they don’t care about the presentation of the facility or it’s workers.  D&D Manufacturing in East El Paso fits that description as they were found to have 41 health and safety violations, 36 serious, that ran the gamut from restroom sinks clogged to risk of falls, cutting injuries and electrical shock to mention a few. OSHA also found compressed gas cylinder missing a valve protection cap, no machine guarding, and employee contact with arc, weld flash and flying sparks. What’s even sadder, the company president doesn’t have a clue what’s going on in his own house and I strongly suggest he get up from his big desk and start walking around his facility.  What would be even sadder is if this company is taking advantage of immigrant workers and purposely putting them in harms way.

Seinfeld television show
Seinfeld television show

Mail handler fired following work-related injury at Postal Service facility – PREVENTABLE – The United States Postal Service continues to demonstrate how incompetent they are as an organization and highlight their tremendous lack of leadership. (Read more articles on USPS).  A postal worker was terminated after being treated at a medical facility for a workplace related injury. The brain trust at the USPS did this even though statements by co-workers and witnesses contradicted that the employee was at fault for the injury as he performed his usual duty of emptying containers onto a conveyor belt when the door on one container unexpectedly opened and hit him in the head. OSHA is suing the USPS on the employees behalf to get back wages and benefits under the whistleblower provisions.  The USPS needs to take a long hard look at itself.  They have been cited numerous times across the country by OSHA for putting their employees at risk.  The USPS could streamline operations and save money by terminating employment of quite a few management folks including the Post Master General.

OSHA cites JSW Steel (USA) Inc. for 12 violations; $126,000 in fines proposed PREVENTABLE – It speaks volumes about the quality of the leadership team of a company when the employees they charge with maintaining and upkeep of equipment are not trained on L.O.T.O. or bother to conduct audits on their own procedures to see if there’s room for improvement.  That was part of the 12 violations including one repeat violation OSHA found at JSW Steel, Inc. that earned them a proposed fine of $126,000.  The repeat violation was for failure to conduct periodic inspections and develop L.O.T.O. procedures to power off the shear safely, a large metal cutting machine, during machine maintenance and servicing.  This had been brought to their attention back in a March 2012 inspection but then that would only slow down production.

Napoleon dry cleaner is fined $39,900 by OSHA – PREVENTABLE – Whether you’re a large corporation or a corner dry cleaner when it comes to the use of chemicals you have to know what you are doing or people can get very sick.  Buckeye Launderers & Cleaners failed to provide a eye wash station or shower even though their workers were handling corrosive chemicals nor did they do any training about the hazards of what the employees were handling.  It is hoped that this $39,900 lesson will get the point across.

OSHA shelves rule on explosive dust – NEWS – Unfortunately the Obama administration has basically shelved a regulatory proposal on explosive dust. This will continue to put quite a few people at risk.  What are your thoughts?

RasGas warehouse celebrates ‘incident-free 7 years’ – SAFETY WINNER – Nice job, over a million man hours without any lost time.  Congratulations.

Group Lock: The World’s First Multi-Person Single Lock for OSHA’s LockOut/TagOut – NEW TOOL – A brand new wireless lock for L.O.T.O. that can be used by a group and overseen by a supervisor or manager.  This could help make L.O.T.O. even more error free and used more often.

That brings another episode of Companies Behaving to a close, the last one of 2014.  Happy Hanukkah!  Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!  To each and everyone of you and thank you for taking the time out of your day to stop by and read this blog.  In fact I greatly appreciate your continued support of Witzshared through out the year and look forward to one day, maybe 2015, not having any companies behaving badly to write about.  If your company doesn’t do any safety or general training that’s an indication that they have no interest in your growth and development as an employee let alone your safety.  If your company doesn’t have a safety committee start one.  Be part of the solution, you’ll feel some much better and the life you save may be your own. Until next year, take care.

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