Companies Behaving Badly – Falling For You


Falling for you is not an expression of endearment in a love song but a call for help as it seems the falling off roofs, buildings and forklifts just won’t stop as you’ll see in the stories below. Some how we are not getting the message out there so I guess we need to get a little LOUDER!  What ever your job is at what ever company you work, you do not have to work under unsafe conditions. You are entitled to say NO, that is not the way it’s done. The latest OSHA numbers indicate a disturbing trend! As of Jan 3rd 2015 for fiscal year 2014 – 376 workers have died on the job so far.  That is a 9% increase over the same time period from last year.  Here are some other numbers to mull over.  In 2012, 269 of the 775 construction deaths in the U.S. were the result of falls34.7%  In 2013, 294 of the 796 construction deaths in the U.S. were the result of falls36.9%.  If you believe that your company puts your safety in jeopardy and you have brought it to managements attention and nothing changes or you have questions on safety compliance call the OSHA’s national hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).  Si usted cree que su compañía pone su seguridad en peligro y que ha traído a las gerencias de atención y nada cambia o si tiene preguntas sobre el cumplimiento de seguridad llame a la línea nacional de la OSHA al 800-321-OSHA (6742)  Well, in any language, that sounds like this is unfortunately another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.

Cal/OSHA Cites Two Companies for Electrocution Fatalities Resulting from Lack of Precautions – PREVENTABLE – We continue to kill our young as employers throw them into the grinder without proper training and then are surprised at the results. Take Five Star Plastering of Laguna Hills for example who was recently hit with 1 Willful and 5 other safety violations when they had two 23 year old workers as part of a three man team erecting a multi-stage metal scaffolding at the high school. Daniel Pohl was on the top level when he suddenly fell unconscious. His partner Joshua Shetley saw this and climbed up the help Daniel but was thrown from the 20 foot scaffold when he came in contact with 12,000 volts.  Daniel was pronounced dead at the scene and Joshua was hospitalized for 2 weeks with severe injuries. CalOSHA found that Five Star failed to properly train these kids on safety or bother to point out the power line hazard. The CalOSHA proposed fine is only $164,275.  Meanwhile Erick Ceron-Alegria a 26 year old employee of Winlup Painting was electrocuted when the boom he was in came in contact with high power lines. Again lack of training was the issue but this time the fine for loss of human life is only $30,410.

Fatal fall from Sparboe Farms roof prompts OSHA to fine subcontractor PREVENTABLE Ruben R. Esquivel Solis, another 23 year old just beginning his journey in life was installing tin on top of a chicken barn on a beautiful summer day when a board under him broke and he fell 30 feet to a concrete floor and died.  His employer Pro-X Builders Inc. of Sioux Falls, S.D. didn’t think it was important enough for their workers to have any kind of fall protection while working on that roof. The Minnesota OSHA issued a whopping fine of $25,000 for the violation that led to the death of the employee. This in my opinion is a Willful violation, should be a million dollar fine since it resulted in a death and the company officials sitting in a jail cell. Don’t work heights without fall protection.

OSHA Slaps Canyon County Steel Manufacturer With Fines After Death of Worker – PREVENTABLE – Ernesto Bemal a 30 year old employee had no idea he would become another statistic that day in August as nearly one in four (25%) workplace fatalities in Idaho resulted from improper forklift use. Ernesto was simply welding when he fell off a forklift and landed on his head, dying later at the hospital.  His employer Superior Steel was cited for not protecting it’s workers from forklift hazards including training and modifications and operation. For this they are only fined $38,780 for the alleged violations and death of a human being.  When ever any piece of equipment is modified you need to do additional training as to the modifications and how they affect the operation of the equipment. Also modifications should only be made with the approval of the manufacturer.


OSHA fines 4 companies after fatal fish plant explosion – PREVENTABLEYou’d think four companies involved on a project together there would be some kind of meaningful communication going on more then just good morning but in Moss Point, Miss. at Omega Protein no one bothered to think of warning the 2 temporary workers hired to cut and weld pipes that they were working above a storage tank with explosive methane and hydrogen sulfide gases. The resulting explosion killed one and injured the other and the resulting investigation by OSHA turned up 1 Willful violation for Omega Protein along with repeat and serious for a total of 13 violations.  1 Willful issued to Accu-Fab and 1 serious for Global Employment Services both for failing to communicate and training on hazards.  JP Williams was issued 1 serious.  All four have a total of pending fines of $187,620, which including the 2 Willful violations, you know I feel is way too low. Companies need to be up front and truthful about hazards and stop this hiding their heads in the sand and using luck as a safety policy.

OSHA fines company more than $76,000 for willfully putting employees at risk – PREVENTABLE – MCM Precision Castings may be precise when making forging castings but totally off the mark when it comes to keeping their employees safe.  In fact they couldn’t care less about the safety of their workers as they were exposed to constant loud noise levels for their entire 8 hour shift.  MCM was given 1 Willful citation for failing to provide audiometric testing for employees, which helps to identify if there is premature hearing loss.  The 17 other serious violations covered many areas including not conducting noise testing, not providing PPE, exposed workers to silica dust, didn’t provide guarding from moving parts or have a L.O.T.O. program.  All of this costs money and why waste it on something like Safety!  The proposed fine is $76,200.  Noise related damage is something that happens over time. It’s not immediate like an amputation but you slowly loose hearing and having it checked yearly can help determine severity of the loss of this precious sense.

Texas Company Cited for Fall Hazards, Unguarded Machinery – PREVENTABLE – Here’s a company that is over achieving in the wrong area. Transition of Superior Systems in Merkel, Texas was found to have 25 serious safety and health violations after an OSHA inspection.  They failed to provide safeguards for air compressor pulleys and belts, grinders and plate rollers. They allowed several fall hazards to exist including an open loft area that didn’t have a gate or chain to prevent falls and a missing stair rail leading to a cement mixer.  They also were found to store flammable liquids incorrectly and keeping forklift that needed repair in service and continued use of frayed electrical cords rather than replace them. What could possible go wrong here? I think Elizabeth Linda Routh, OSHA’s area director in Lubbock put it very well when she said, “Safety and health in the workplace is not a luxury, it’s the law. When an employer like Transition of Superior Systems fails to find and fix hazards, a worker’s livelihood and life are at risk.  OSHA will never tolerate such negligence.”

Florida company cited for OSHA violations at Albany work site – PREVENTABLE – Things at Atlas Steel Coatings Inc. had finally reached the point that an employee felt he needed to file a complaint with OSHA and it was a good thing as they found 13 violations. Atlas Steel didn’t want to be bothered training workers on lead hazards, provide PPE for those exposed to lead, develop a site specific compliance plan, provide showers for workers exposed to lead over safe levels, forklift training or give workers in writing the lead levels in their blood within five days.  The proposed fine is $58,800.  If you think your safety is being compromised at work and you are not getting answers from your boss then call the OSHA hotline – 800-321-6742

OSHA proposes $60,500 in penalties after workers were exposed to dangerous chemicals – PREVENTABLE – Another company that felt protecting workers from safety hazards wasn’t their problem is Georgia-Pacific Chemicals LLC as they exposed employees to dangerous chemicals and other potential health and safety hazards.  The OSHA inspection at the Columbus plant turned up 11 serious violations and a proposed fine of $60,500.  Their standard operating procedures did not contain accurate information on safety systems and how they worked. The company’s process hazard analysis failed to address many issues in the plant including training, inspections and equipment testing. Here again the cost of safety is just to much to bare as it cuts into bonuses and profits. The leadership here has demonstrated that in an emergency they don’t care who dies in the chaos.  Why are emergency procedures kept a secret.  If you have never been told what to do in an emergency or evacuation ask.  If no one gives an answer call OSHA.

OSHA fines Valdosta pallet maker $47,000 for safety violations – PREVENTABLE – Yet another company that doesn’t care about their own workers safety and continues to ignore violations.  Sam Wright Pallets is under continued oversight by OSHA because of their cavalier attitude towards worker safety as they were hit with 5 Repeat and 5 serious violations for a proposed fine of $47,000.  The repeat violations included exposing workers to amputation hazards, electrocution from improperly wired equipment and allowing forklifts to be used even with broken safety equipment. This company has demonstrated it’s cheaper to them to pay fines then have a safety program in place.  This tells me they have only contempt for their workers and should be closed down.

Kettle Falls cedar mill fined more than $150,000 for safety violations in connection with worker injury – PREVENTABLE – This brings us to Columbia Cedar mill of Kettle Falls as they were hit by the Washington State L&I with a $151,800 fine for 1 Willful and 28 serious violations.  Really! Think how much money they’re saving on not having a safety program.  If it wasn’t for the worker who was injured trying to clear bark from a hopper, which they also never reported who knows what else would have happened.  This is a owner doing it on the cheap and couldn’t care less about his employees.

Montana leaders addressing workplace injury rates – ACCIDENT RATES – The state of Montana has the 3rd highest workplace injury rates in the U.S. Not something to be proud of and this is an interesting editorial on how to address this problem.  It’s worth the read.

Committee Advances Bill To Increase Wyoming Workplace Safety Fines – ACCIDENT RATES – Wyoming also one of the states with very high workplace accident rates and they are looking at increasing the fines to help put a stop to the killing.


State Honors Albemarle’s South Haven Facility For Workplace Safety – SAFETY AWARD WINNER – Albermarle Corporation’s facility in South Haven was recognized by the state with the Michigan Voluntary Protection Program Star Award for safety.  Congratulations.

Local plant honored by Dept. of Labor – SAFETY AWARD WINNER – Siplast Liquid Resin Facility located in Arkadelphia has achieved status in the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program.  Congratulations.

CSB Urges OSHA for Combustible Dust Regulations in Wake of Ink Plant Fire Report – REGULATION REVIEW – All I’m going to say here is read the account of the fire.  We can’t put this off any longer and need to do a better job on combustible dust. What do you think?

That my friends brings another episode of Companies Behaving Badly to a close. Thank you for stopping by and please feel free to share these stories at your next safety tailgate/toolbox meeting.  Get the word out. Workplace safety can’t work without YOU, as You must be a safety advocate, Mentor young workers, share your experiences with peers and be active on the safety committee and all other related activities.  You can make a difference in someone’s life by mentoring safety.  If your company doesn’t have a safety committee, ask why and how can you start one.  Don’t let anyone tell you it is o.k. to bypass safety protocol.  It never is.  Remember, the life you save may be your own.

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