Companies Behaving Badly – Death Never Takes a Holiday

 

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Just image how many more lives would be saved if Companies bothered to train employees in dealing with emergencies.  To actually believe that nothing can go wrong in your plant or facility and that people would naturally know what to do in a crisis, then you must work for DuPont.  I’ve stood here before you many times my friends and have said to you, training is the most critical aspect of any safety program but even more important you need the culture to support it and that only comes from the top.  Without this support you wind up with no safety program or a cycling safety program, (A safety program that starts strong and slowly dwindles until someone is seriously injured or killed then safety becomes a priority again and again slowly dwindles into oblivion and over and over). Safety must also work from the bottom up but without the right culture to nurture, it only withers and dies and that’s when someone is killed and all your poor practices and ignored hazards are exposed along with your hypocrisy for the whole world to see.  Dupont the world leader in safety somehow missed the critical aspect that employees weren’t trained what to do if the ventilation system failed even though 5 years earlier, OSHA called them on it.  During those 5 years they did nothing.  Somehow after all those hours of behavioral based safety training, it slipped through all their layers of bureaucracy and by the plant manager and his staff and now 4 people are dead. Somewhere there was a serious breakdown in communication between management, the union and their employees and what would make most sense and demonstrate that leadership still exists at Dupont is for someone in Dupont headquarters to immediately resolve those safety issues rather then wasting time defending themselves.  Now some good news, you have reduced accidental deaths. As of June 13th.2015 – 872 people were killed in industrial accidents.  At this same time last year 905 were killed.  That’s almost a 4% drop.  Good job people.  That unfortunately sounds like another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.

OSHA fines furniture manufacturer, staffing provider PREVENTABLE – It looks like Sterling Seating Inc., a New Jersey furniture manufacturer must have been using the DuPont Safety Program as OSHA found 25 Repeat,15 Serious and 2 other than serious health and safety violations and were handed a proposed fine of $176,330.  Sterling routinely exposed their workers to amputation, chemical, electrical and exit and struck-by hazards as well as had multiple violations related to methylene chloride and fire hazards and these are repeat violations since they didn’t bother to fix any of these previous found violations.  The temporary agency, On Target Staffing that funneled workers into Sterlings house of horrors was also cited by OSHA because they didn’t bother to tell the workers that they were going to be working in a hazardous environment and offered no training. On Target didn’t even take the time to visit and check what kind of hazards may have been present at their client’s place of business and received 1 Repeat and 2 Serious violations for a total of $19,800.  I guess as long as you’re collecting money for the bodies you’re sending over who cares what happens to them.

Seattle employer fined more than $215,000 for serious safety and health violations – PREVENTABLE – Industrial Container Services of Seattle, Washington is another company that has no problem exposing their employees to hazards on a daily basis.  Washington State Department of Labor & Industries inspected the facility after a worker suffered an injury when he became caught in a rotating shaft while working inside a confined space.  What L&I found was that employees were allowed to routinely enter the confined space to do maintenance or repairs without L.O.T.O. and this is not the first time they were told to stop allowing this practice.  For their efforts, Industrial Container was issued 7 Failure to Abate, 4 repeat-serious and 4 serious for a total of $215,250 and identified as a severe violator in the state of Washington and now will be subject to increased inspections. Couldn’t happen to a better company.  Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s o.k. to climb into a confined space when there is the possibility of equipment starting up.  You have the right to take control of the situation and do the LOTO with your locks and then you can work safely and confidently until you and only you remove those LOTO locks.

Island Lake company faces $71,000 OSHA fine after worker’s injury – PREVENTABLE – Some of you may remember that a willful violation means that the company knew about the hazard and that it could seriously injure or kill someone but couldn’t care less and did nothing to fix it.  That is what Kemper Valve & Fittings Corp. did as they purposely bypassed safety devices on a computer controlled machine so it would continue to operate even with the guard door open.  How stupid is that?  I’m sure someone in management figured out it’d safe time and money by doing this and who cares if someone got hurt, it’s their fault for not paying attention anyway.  So when a 32 year old machinist was working on the unit his hand got caught and was pulled into the machine sustaining broken bones in his left arm and hand and had to endure several surgeries and rehab.  For their stupidity, Kemper was issued 1 Willful violation and 1 other than serious for not creating an annual injury and illness summary for a total proposed fine of $71,000.  As expected Kemper’s owners and management said they deeply regret the injury more like they deeply regret getting caught being stupid. In my opinion the fine is not enough and the owners should be on trial for attempted man slaughter.  If you see or know of anyone tampering with safety devices that are meant to shut down equipment in an emergency call OSHA immediately 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).  Don’t keep quiet about safety.

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OSHA fines Myron’s Precise Paint Systems $21,000 after painter’s death in March – PREVENTABLE – Yet another young person killed on the job as Colton Frisbee, a 23 year old painter had trusted that his employer, Myron’s Precise Paint Systems would only allow him to work on equipment that was safe.  The scissor lift they gave him to use to stain a building was in poor repair with inoperable controls and had no scheduled or routine maintenance or pre-operation function test.  The scaffolding he was operating on was assembled by employees, all of which had not been trained to put-up, disassemble, move, operate, prepare, maintain or inspect the scaffolding.  While he was on the scissor lift the poorly trained workers tried to re-position the scaffolding on a parking lot that was the wrong surface when it suddenly collapsed from under Colton and resulted in his death. The OSHA investigation found 3 violations for a total of a $21,000 proposed fine. If you don’t take the time to properly train workers to accomplish their assigned goals, you are only setting them up for failure.  Trying to save money by by-passing training will usually result in someone being killed.

2 amputations in 3 months: New OSHA reporting rules prompt $125K fine – PREVENTABLE – Thanks to the new OSHA reporting rule that began the first of the year, in which now amputations, worker hospitalizations and loss of an eye must be reported within 24 hours, it helped expose a hazardous workplace.  It seems that Elite Storage Solutions LLC. had two amputation incidents occur in a 3 month period and the inspection that it triggered, found 22 Serious violations and now have a proposed fine of $125,165.  The first amputation occurred when a worker operating a press without proper guarding lost his left ring finger.  Months later another worker was trying to stand up a 353 pound rack which pushed him to the floor an mangled his hand resulting in the amputation of left index finger. In addition to these incidents OSHA also found workers were exposed to amputation hazards by not checking welded metal beams were secured, no LOTO program, exposed workers to falls, obstructed exit routes, no training, no guarding on machinery, no respiratory protection training program and storing an oxygen cylinder without a valve protection cap.  Another company that cares about profit more than their workers which is a much more valuable asset.

25% of workers unsure of how to protect themselves in a workplace emergency, says survey – REALITY CHECK – This has to be a wake up call for some of you!  In light of what happened at DuPont everyone should be looking at their training records, reviewing emergency procedures and holding drills.  Make no mistake about it, it’s not just managements job either. If you live in California and you don’t know what the emergency procedure is for an earthquake, ASK!  Don’t wait until it’s too late.  Know what to do, your life may depend on it.

Suit Filed to Reinstate John Deere Employee after Reporting Unsafe Working Conditions – PREVENTABLE – I say this is preventable because if the company cared about the safety of it’s workers they would have listened instead of terminating the employee.  A worker doesn’t first go to OSHA. They try to work it out internally but then it gets to the point where you finally have to make that call.  I’ve seen it first hand how some companies have no interest in cultivating a safety culture and the main goal is to make product at any cost, while infractions are conveniently overlooked that is until someone does get hurt and that’s when and only then, the company throws the employee under the bus.

House subcommittee proposes funding cuts for OSHA and MSHA and How Politics Gutted Workplace Safety – MONEY & POLITICS – These are two articles about our leaders cutting funding to OSHA and MSHA. Two agencies that are already strapped and don’t have the resources to do a thorough job and may put workers at risk.  Which ever way you feel about this issue, you should contact your representatives in the House and Senate and open a dialogue.

I am finishing off this issue with sharing several recent articles about Dupont. The first article involves a whistleblower at the plant and how Dupont was caught in lies.  The rest are about the accident that killed four workers, Gilbert Tisnado, Bobby Tisnado, Crystle Wise and Wade Baker.  They weren’t even given the courtesy of a chance at survival.

Judge Tosses Verdict Favoring DuPont In Whistleblower Case

U.S. Agency: Deaths Show DuPont Has ‘Failed’ Safety Program

OSHA: DuPont’s ‘Failed’ Safety Program Responsible For Plant Deaths

OSHA cites DuPont over safety concerns

That brings this episode of Companies Behaving Badly to a close.  Thank you for taking time and stopping by.  As always please feel free to share these stories at your next tailgate/toolbox safety meeting.  Please remember you control your safety at work.  If you have to work on any piece of machinery, you personally do the L.O.T.O.  Place your locks on the panel, bleed the machine of air and begin your work.  It doesn’t add that much time. Report any employee who tampers with any emergency shut-off controls and if management is doing it, call OSHA.  1-800-321-OSHA (6742). Know what to do in an emergency and what back-up systems are available and how! Especially if you’re on the graveyard shift and you don’t have the resources available to respond.  Protect yourself. Never stay quiet about safety.  Until next month my friends, stay safe.

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