Manufacturing has rebounded, the Dakota’s are full of activity, the number of worker deaths has grown and even the grim reaper is having problems keeping up with the demand. We can’t always wait for OSHA to show up to stop companies from putting workers in harms way. It’s your job too and here’s one way you can help. Be a safety mentor to a young worker, old worker any new worker. Share your experiences and practices in safety. I know you’re good at it, heck you’ve worked 20 years without one accident and you tell some great stories. Look I’m not asking you to train them, just guide them so they don’t fall prey to some idiot manager trying to make quota on the bodies of his workers. Oh man, that sure does sound like another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.
Landscaping firm fined $199K in young man’s death – PREVENTABLE – Bradley Hogue an energetic and outdoorsy 19 year old who’s personality made people smile was killed on the job before he could even really begin his journey. He had trusted that his employer Pacific Topsoils wouldn’t willfully have him do something unsafe on his second day on the job. However the OSHA investigation that followed turned up 2 Willful and 12 serious violations. Bradley was clearing a jam in the hopper of a bark blower truck when he fell into the rotating auger where his body was crushed because no one in the company had to sense to tell workers to shut it off while clearing jams. The proposed fine for this loss of a young life is $199,000 and earned themselves a spot on the “severe violator” list. Never clear a jam on any piece of machinery while it’s still operating, you never know when it’ll suddenly start back up. Don’t use dangerous tasks to make young workers pay their dues or as some stupid initiation, instead, mentor them in safety.
After 2 Workers Injured, 1 Fatally, OSHA Cites MFG Chemical Inc. – PREVENTABLE – Some companies just don’t want to be bothered with respecting people and life. MFG Chemical Inc. couldn’t make it any plainer that they couldn’t care less about safety when one worker was hospitalized and another one died from respiratory system burns, (a horrible way to die), after the release of chemical vapors. OSHA launched an investigation and found 17 safety and health violations at their Georgia plant and a proposed fine of $87,780. MFG had failed to ensure the reactor system alarm provided early warning for worker evacuation, did NOT train workers on the hazards of permit required confined spaces and failed to ensure the equipment used had adequate pressure relief design. As Christi Griffin, director of OSHA’s Atlanta -West Area saw it, “Allowing repeated violations demonstrates the company’s lack of commitment to worker safety and health.” Lack of commitment? How about couldn’t care less? Guess what? This isn’t the first time OSHA has had to step in. In 2012 they were fined $77,000 for 19 violations after an explosion sent 40 employees to the hospital!
OSHA cites Springfield-based company after 2 worker deaths in Pekin – PREVENTABLE – Agridyne LLC has been cited for 3 Willful and 8 serious violations along with proposed maximum fines of $266,000 in relation to the deaths of 2 workers. As I’ve said before a willful violation means that Agridyne knew that Frank Rosebur and Dean Stone were at great risk to clean the railcar but couldn’t care less what happened to them. Frank climbed into the railcar to help a friend whose lungs were burning with the hydrogen sulfide remnants that was left in the tanker and both died. That’s because the company didn’t bother testing the air before workers went in or provide a retrieval line. That all costs money and cuts into profits. The fines need to be greatly increased to deter companies from doing stupid things like this and when an employee dies under a willful violation there needs to be jail time included as well.
Lansing company exposed workers to dangers, OSHA said – PREVENTABLE – Another company who doesn’t care about it’s workers safety is Dedicated TCS as they were found to have 9 violations and face a proposed fine of $79,464. They had no problem exposing workers who were cleaning portable tank wagons to dangerous confined space hazards nor did they bother to train workers on how to use PPE or check that all safety requirements were met before allowing workers into the tank wagons. Surprise, surprise they had been cited before for the same violations at its Lansing and Channahon facilities in 2012.
Alabama-based Hyundai and Kia parts supplier cited for labor violations – PREVENTABLE – Saehaesung Alabama Inc. a supplier of auto parts for Hyundai and Kia just doesn’t get it or they don’t want to get it. After being cited for lack of machine guarding, industrial trucks and failure to protect employees from moving parts during servicing in 2010 and 2011 by OSHA they were cited again in 2014 for a total of 10 violations, 3 of them repeat violations for continuing to expose workers to amputation hazards and for not developing a LOTO policy and procedure. Nice guys, huh? This time the fine proposed is $102,000 but for such disregard for human life the fines should be tripled for repeat offenders.
Temp worker disabled after being crushed in packaging machine – PREVENTABLE – A 50 year old temporary employee working at Ice River Springs, on the job for less than 2 weeks was trying to clear a jam in a palletizing machine when it started up and crushed him leaving him with a permanent disability. The OSHA inspection that followed found 3 violations,1 of them Willful and a proposed fine of $84,000. The willful violation was for not protecting workers by using L.O.T.O. I am amazed how many companies don’t preach L.O.T.O. but continue to allow workers to get injured when so easily preventable but then temps are a sustainable resource. In my opinion the fine is too low.
Lorry driver dies unloading rice – PREVENTABLE – Even though OSHA has set the standard at 6 feet for fall protection the actuality is you can die from any fall at any height. A man in his 60’s delivering for Sin Heng Chan was unloading sacks of rice from the back of his truck when other workers heard a thud and found the man lying on the ground. He died the next day in hospital. No matter what you are doing, always pay attention, wear proper footwear, watch for slick, oily, wet areas on the truck bed and park on level ground. An investigation is still underway.
Worker taken to hospital after industrial accident on Hartnell Avenue – PREVENTABLE – It was one of those days in Redding, California as a man had his leg trapped under a forklift and luckily his injury is minor. The forklift driver an employee of G&M Design was moving materials when he got off his forklift to check a load but forgot to put his lift in park. It rolled back and pinned his leg. A refresher course looks to be in order here and failure to pay attention is no excuse when operating equipment. Earlier that day a man at Kuebler’s Furniture fell off a ladder trying to retrieve something. He fell 10 feet. Again folks, if you can’t concentrate on what you are doing either take a break or go home and when on a ladder don’t over reach to get something. Move the damn ladder closer.
Workplace death toll for 2014 was the worst since 2010 – FIXABLE – The death toll of workers in Washington state for 2014 was at 64. Let’s hope 2015 will be a safer year.
BWC dubbs 2014 as the year of workplace safety – BETTER – On the other hand, it was good news in Ohio as workplace safety has greatly improved.
Company directors jailed for safety violations that led to worker’s death – RIGHT ON CANADA – Baldev Pura and Rajider Saini, both directors of New Mex.Canada Inc. an importer and retailer of furniture and accessories were sentenced to 25 days in jail after pleading guilty to safety violations that led to the death of a warehouse worker. An order picker used in the warehouse had been modified and had an additional platform supported by the forks which did not have a guard rail around it. The employee using the order picker wasn’t wearing fall protection or safety shoes and was found dead on the floor.
That brings another episode of Companies Behaving Badly to a close. Thanks for stopping by and please feel free to use these stories at your next safety/tailgate/toolbox meeting. If you remember nothing else, please remember Lock Out Tag Out. Commit it to memory, those 4 words, heck, make it your MANTRA! LOTO LOTO. Preach it! Teach it! Tell the young workers coming up the ranks. L.O.T.O. Don’t let anyone tell you that it is O.K. to clear a jam or service a piece of equipment or machinery without properly Lock Out Tag Out. You are a human being and you are not faster or quicker or stronger then that machine. Don’t let anyone bully you into not doing LOTO or tell you that you are not a team player. That’s all B.S. Be a mentor of safety to the younger workers, participate on the safety committee, be a safety advocate. If your company doesn’t have a safety committee, start one. Remember, the life you save may be your own. Until next time.