Companies Behaving Badly – Fall Season


Let’s get right to it, shall we?  Even though September 23 at 4:21 a.m. ET is the official time of the arrival of autumn, it appears that in the construction industry, it is Fall Season every day.  In fact ladies and gentlemen, of the top ten OSHA violations, FALLS is still by far the number 1 infraction.  When working above 6 feet it is required that you should be provided with some type of fall protection whether railings or fall protection gear.  Why would you work without any fall protection?  Who are you helping?  You think the money the company owner saves by not providing you with safety equipment is going to be shared?  NO!  It’s all going right into their pocket.  Yet there are those of you who think, I can’t lose my job or it won’t happen to me.  Really? You can predict the future or fly I guess.  In the lead story below I’m sure they thought the same thing, just before they fell and were injured.  Remember dead is forever so why would you want to be dead longer then you have too.  As of August 15th, the latest OSHA numbers available for this Fy2014, 1,125 husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, partners, boyfriends, girlfriends and teens died in industrial accidents. That’s 63 less than last year which is great.  Keep it up and watch out for each other.  If the money to operate the U.S. Government isn’t approved there will be a shut down of services and OSHA will be affected.  You know, that really, unfortunately, sounds like another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.

Eden: OSHA’s Two Lightning Strikes Hit Alabama Roofing Contractor – PREVENTABLE – Some people just have to learn things the hard way but what makes it worse is when other people get injured during their lesson. Marcus Borden, a steel and roofing contractor literally didn’t know when to come out of the rain when a severe thunderstorm hit while he had a crew of 5 working on a roof.  3 of the 5 men were seriously injured as one had his left arm amputated when thrown against the edge of a new metal roof, another suffered an injured shoulder and the third became wrapped in sheet metal, rolled off the roof and fell 30 feet breaking both wrists, tailbone, and pelvis. Not one worker was wearing fall protection equipment or had a way to exit the roof quickly!  During their investigation, OSHA found 1 willful, 4 serious and 1 other for not notifying OSHA about the hospitalized workers.  To make matters worse this slimeball of a company owner then lied to OSHA saying he had fall protection gear on site when he actually purchased it 5 days after his workers were injured and lied that they were properly tied off.  After paying OSHA $55,000 in fines, Marcus Borden then pleaded guilty to 1 count of making a false statement and sentenced to 3 years of supervised probation and 30 hours of community service.  Maybe he can teach workers how to properly wear fall protection gear and how to tie off.  Marcus Borden is another one of those greedy owners with no morals and couldn’t care less about the workers in his company.  He should be sitting in a jail cell.


OSHA: Norfolk firm tried to hide safety problems – PREVENTABLE – How low can one go?  At MP Global Products LLC the answer is, pretty low.  After a temporary worker caught his left hand in a machine, amputating 1 finger and mangling another, OSHA began an investigation.  Not only did they find 2 Willful and 22 Serious violations, (Yes that’s 22) along with a proposed fine of $244,000 but also allegedly attempted to conceal hazardous equipment by shutting down a production line when inspectors arrived and threatened workers with immediate termination if they brought safety issues to the OSHA inspectors.  Throughout the facility several machines lacked guards, there were exposed electrical wires and damaged electrical boxes.  No surprise the company was also placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

OSHA fines Austin library contractors $88K for violations – PREVENTABLE – More contractors who think very little of their workers and not bothering protecting them as they worked in an open trench but one worker knew this was wrong as they called OSHA and filed a complaint. Good move as both contractors on the job was fined after the investigation. Hansel Phelps Construction was cited 1 Willful for failing to protect workers in an excavation site while CVI Development was also cited 1 Willful and for failing to provide supports after excavating below a structure and not removing workers from the hazard.  The total proposed fines for both are $88,000 but this is just a drop in the bucket for these companies that only care about profit and very little for human life.  You do not have to work under these conditions or place your life put in danger.  In fact, if you feel in danger on the job and no one listens to your concerns call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742)

Housing authority fined $47,000 by OSHA – PREVENTABLE – You can always tell a business or government agency that is devoid of leadership in how it operates and deals with issues.  The Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority is an example as they were hit with a $47,000 fine for 1 Willful-serious and 5 serious safety violations found by the Nevada OSHA. Housing Authority employees along with a contractor were repairing a broken water main, dug a trench and of course had no cave-in protection when several areas of the excavation collapsed. A ladder that was being used by the contractor, Anytime Plumbing, was not secure and didn’t extend above the upper landing surface by 3 feet while water was accumulating in the trench.  Just one big accident waiting to happen since no one obviously had a clue as to what they were doing.  To make matters worse the Housing Authority didn’t bother to pay the fine or submit a corrective action plan as requested by the state. They also didn’t bother to notify local utilities before the work began or give any training to their workers.  They had so little training they didn’t even determine the water main’s location before they started digging.  It is only luck that no one died and why the head of the Housing Authority is still employed is beyond me.


Tallahatchie sawmill face fines up to $78,800 after inspectors find workplace safety hazards – PREVENTABLE – Tallahatchie Lumber and Mat Company is facing a $78,800 fine for 27 safety rule violations including 1 Willful.  It appears they didn’t believe in L.O.T.O. before doing maintenance on machinery and that numerous machines didn’t have protective guards or railings in place during operation and they lacked well-developed safety procedures, in other words, their safety program was based on LUCK.  Never work on any piece of machinery or equipment unless it has been properly Locked Out and Tagged Out.  You don’t want it starting up while any part of your body is in there.  You can not be forced or threatened not to do LOTO.

OSHA says Material Control Systems failed to follow machine safety procedures after man loses fingers – PREVENTABLE – A 45-year-old employee had to endure the pain and agony of having 3 fingers on his left hand amputated at work, surgery to reattach them only to have the tip of his left middle finger removed permanently because him employer, Control Systems Inc, doing business as MATCON couldn’t be bothered to make sure that guards were placed and working on machinery.  For this lapse in judgment, OSHA has fined them $63,000 and issued 1 Willful safety violation.  If a guard is removed from a machine for repairs and it is not replaced by maintenance, don’t operate the machine even if someone in management tells you that it’s o.k. this time.  It’s not!

Wegmans Facing Possible $188,000 OSHA Fine – PREVENTABLE – Don’t you wonder about a company that just doesn’t get it?  Wegmans is facing a proposed fine of $188,000 because of 3 Repeat and 2 Serious violations at their central bakery. The repeat violations are very similar hazards found in a 2011 inspection as recently a sanitation worker had a fingertip amputated by a conveyor and a mechanic suffered a burn from steam released while repairing a valve.  Sounds like plant management doesn’t understand the concept of LOTO.  Of course, Wegmans issued the usual propaganda saying how much they care about their employees.  They care so much that there were 3 Repeat violations and 2 more employees were injured.  Imagine if they didn’t care.


Man’s death at bowling alley deemed a ‘preventable workplace tragedy’PREVENTABLE – This is the second time this year an employee has been killed in a bowling alley accident which confirms that unguarded machinery is always dangerous and shouldn’t be tolerated.  Vidal Garcia, a 29-year-old U.S. Navy veteran trying to better his life by attending college while employed part-time at the bowling alley was working on a pinsetter when his shirt became caught in the moving gears.  Imagine his horror as he was slowly strangled to death by his shirt collar.  The resulting inspection by OSHA found 10 Serious safety violations and issued a proposed $50,400 fine.  The Bowling alley knew the pinsetter had issues and still sent this young man into danger and ultimately his death.  This fine is way to low but the price of human life gets cheaper and cheaper.

State report critical of Metro Public Works after sanitation worker’s death – PREVENTABLE – Here again, we have another government agency that has no leadership or direction and a 19-year-old is dead before his life really got started.  The Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration (TOSHA) investigation found that Metro Public Works failed to provide employees with safety training and failed to protect workers from the recognized hazards associated with mobile refuse collection equipment.  The young man was killed after being pinned between a building and the sanitation truck and if he had received the proper training he would have found out riding on the back step of the vehicle while it’s backing up is prohibited but because Metro didn’t believe safety training was necessary he’d dead.  The fact that co-workers didn’t stop him tells me this is an agency with breakdowns in safety, lapses in supervision and workers not following procedures, doing what they want.  Unfortunately, no one will be jailed but the whole damn management team should be terminated for their stupidity and having a blind eye to what’s going on.  If you don’t receive any training on your first day or a 5-minute training session that should be a clue the company doesn’t care about your safety.

OSHA list details how Georgians die on the job – Interesting article

Northern companies win safety awards – SAFETY AWARD – Companies recognized in Canada for their efforts in making a safe workplace.

Mohawk’s Ohio Facility Sets Safety Standard As Company Garners Awards – SAFETY AWARD WINNER – Mohawk’s Saybrook, Ohio, converting and distribution center located in Ashtabula, Ohio, has logged eleven years – the equivalent of 3 million work hours or over 4,000 days – without a lost time injury.  It can be done!

COMMENTARY – Workplace safety should not be a political issue, yet there are very small minded recycled career politicians who’re real concern is only themselves or what’s in it for them and not for the people they are supposed to serve. They rarely offer leadership as this is a trait that puts fear into them as that may cause them to actually have to work.  Two well-written articles related to this subject for your reading.  Don’t ever remain quiet about safety and that includes writing your representatives.

Editorial board: Missed opportunity on workplace safety

A Needed Step Toward Fair Pay and Workplace Safety | Commentary

Well that my friends bring another episode of Companies Behaving Badly to a close.  As always, thank you for taking time out of your busy day and spending it here.  Please feel free to share any or all of these stories at your next tailgate/toolbox safety meeting.  As we have seen time and time again, safety training is vital to any organization.  How well organized and thorough the training, speaks volumes of how much the company cares about you as an individual and employee.  Don’t keep quiet about safety.  If you are not receiving training, if machine guards are always missing, if you are not issued PPE or fall protection gear, or if anyone tampers with safety shutoffs and you feel your life is in danger and no one in management listens to your concerns, before you become another statistic call OSHA -1-800-321-OSHA (6742) and file an anonymous complaint.  The life you save may be your own. There will not be an October 1st issue of Companies Behaving Badly.  See you October 15th.  Take care.

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