Happy New Year and welcome to the first issue of 2015. Unfortunately it’s beginning to look like other years, as of November 22, 2014 (FY 2014) 246 workers have already died while doing nothing more than their job. This is 23 more deaths then this time last year, that’s a 10 percent jump! The numbers are going in the wrong direction folks and that’s all our fault. We’re not doing a good enough job of watching out for each other. Yes the company is responsible for safety too but it also requires your participation. Watch out for each other and challenge others to make sure they’re using PPE, doing LOTO or wearing Fall protection gear. We need to stop the dying NOW. That unfortunately sounds like the first episode of Companies Behaving Badly for this year.
OSHA cites Ohio-based tree company following worker’s death – PREVENTABLE – A young person is killed because he trusted that his employer, The Davey Tree Expert Company wouldn’t willfully put him in danger and use equipment beyond manufacturers posted limitations. The 21 year old tree trimmer, just beginning his journey in life was run over by a utility task vehicle that was operating on a 20 degree slop when the max the manufacturer allows is 15 degrees. OSHA’s investigation found that this caused the vehicle to roll over, killing him and issued a Willful violation which as you all remember means the company knew of the danger but couldn’t care less if someone got hurt or killed. What is so sad is that Davey Tree had a previous rollover incident in July 2012 so they knew it can happen but didn’t bother to make it a safety rule or enforce it. For this violation a proposed fine of only $70,000 for loss of a human life. Manufacturer limitations are posted on machinery and equipment so you know what to expect when operating. You should never exceed these limits unless the manufacturer has approved and posted that info on the equipment. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s o.k. to push the limits or that its been done before. Your life is too precious.
Missouri Company Cited in Death of Teen Worker – PREVENTABLE – The young keep dying as Tristin James Wood, a 16 year old employee of Robertson Incorporated Bridge and Grading was struck by a swinging cab and boom of a crane that was being disassembled. The OSHA inspection that followed this tragic accident turned up 13 serious safety violations and a proposed fine of only 44,730. We need to do a better job of keeping teenagers safe on the job with better training and mentoring.
OSHA fines Surelan Foods after worker’s death – PREVENTABLE – Raul Saucedo a 68 year old 10 year employee was busy picking up trash outside a company warehouse when he was struck by a van and died at the scene. His employer, Surlean Foods was cited for 9 safety violations found in the investigation following the accident which included the company’s failure to provide high-visibility clothing. They also found workers were exposed to amputation hazards, an inadequate written process safety management system for chemical exposure, followed improper procedures for chlorine and anhydrous ammonia, no equipment inspections and no proper plan and development of an emergency action plan. For not even thinking about dealing with hazards and the effects on fellow human beings the proposed fine is only $52,000.
OSHA fines Pilgrim’s Pride $59,500 in connection to Nacogdoches worker’s electrocution – PREVENTABLE – Bobby Joe Beall, a 50 year old employee at Pilgrim’s Pride was working on machinery like any other day when he was electrocuted and died. Apparently at this facility in Nacogdoches, Texas,based on OSHA’s findings, just hitting the off button or off switch constituted as the L.O.T.O. program instead of killing the power at the source. The investigation of the accident also found 3 serious and 1 repeat violation with a proposed fine of only $59,500.
Sidney auto parts maker cited by OSHA – PREVENTABLE – When some companies make a mistake, they apologize and fix it right away, then move on but then some companies don’t bother fixing mistakes because they just don’t care about their workers. Formed Fiber Technologies LLC, just doesn’t care as they have been cited for the 3rd time in 2 years and placed into the Severe Violator Enforcement Program for 2 Willful violations exposing workers to the risk of amputation and other injuries by moving machine parts. The proposed fine is $140,000. It would have been great if their customers like Toyota and GM took a look at vendors safety records instead of cheapest price before working with them. OSHA had also found 11 violations back in 2013. Profits over people.
PA Manufacturer Fined by OSHA After Multiple Finger Amputations – PREVENTABLE – Speaking of companies that don’t get it, it seems that Olympia Chimney Supply Inc. of Scranton, Pa. kept operating business as usual even after knowing workers were having fingers amputated, but an employee had seen enough and filed a complaint with OSHA. Their inspection found 14 safety violations that come with a proposed fine of $49,000 as over the last two years workers suffered more than 20 injuries including lacerations, crushed and pinched fingers, multiple fingertip amputations and the amputation of several fingers. As OSHA saw it, Olympia failed to safeguard machines and had flaws in a system designed to prevent machines from starting up inadvertently during maintenance.
Anheuser-Busch fined $162K for safety violations at Jersey City warehouse – PREVENTABLE – Why are warehouses allowed to become depressing dungeons of danger? Lack of leadership and no pride in the job. A distribution warehouse in Jersey City for Anheuser-Busch, (this bruise is for you) was hit with 2 Willful and 8 serious violations to a tune of $162,500 as they allowed untrained drivers to operate defective forklifts but couldn’t care less to fix the problem. That is one of the best recipes I’ve seen for a disaster. As if that wasn’t enough the Anheuser-Busch warehouse also had obstructed exit routes and damaged storage racks. I would show this warehouse manager and his staff to the door but they might find it blocked. Horrible and disappointing conditions for such a manufacturing giant but when you put the wrong leadership in place what can one expect.
Packaging firm gets £14.6k fork lift injury bill – PREVENTABLE – Meanwhile in the U.K. Platt Packaging Ltd. was prosecuted for the injury of a driver waiting to pick up a load. While standing by his vehicle he was knocked down by a reversing forklift in which he suffered double ankle fracture and damage to his leg. You should never back up a forklift especially on the dock where people are without first looking. A dock also needs to be controlled which means all visitors must wait in a safe place and not wondering around. Make it so your people can succeed not struggle.
New Reports Outline TX Plant Chaos, Deaths – PREVENTABLE – Some things can be done by the seat of your pants but when it comes to workplace emergencies everyone needs to know what to do in order to save as many lives as possible. Take a moment and read this chilling report on the events of November 15th when a chemical leak at the Dupont plant killed 4 employees. You can never under estimate the importance of training. If you work for a company that deals with dangerous and/or toxic chemicals and you never receive any training on emergency response or evacuation demand to know why. Your life may depend on it.
Infographic: OSHA’s New Injury Reporting Rule Explained – Are you ready for the new OSHA reporting rules? Safety.BLR.com explains it.
That brings this episode of companies behaving badly to a close. Thank you for stopping by and checking out the stories. Please feel free to share them at your next safety tailgate/toolbox meeting. It’s always a good time to have a refresher on workplace emergencies. What is the signal, the escape route, the assembly area or how to shelter in place and then throw in a drill once in awhile. In fact training throughout the year makes your team more efficient, responsive and interested and will improve communication and moral. Give it a try, you’ll be surprised. Don’t have a safety committee in the company, why not start one. Get the conversation going. It is my biggest hope that one day I will have no companies behaving badly to write about. Take care and see you soon.