Companies Behaving Badly – Dead In Review

Thankyouforfalls1THANK YOU!  We at Grim Reaper Inc. would like to thank you from the bottom of our scythes, as you have once again helped make, FALLS the #1 killer and we owe it all to YOU!  That’s right, without you workers who believe you can fly since you work at great heights without even the thought of wearing fall protection gear of any kind, without you contractors who take advantage of migrant workers who don’t understand english let alone understand their rights to a safe workplace, without you owners who won’t spend a penny on safety for workers to protect them because they’re lives aren’t as important as your profits, this all wouldn’t be possible.  Also without you this would be a merrier holiday season for 167 families.  As of November 28, 2015, the 56 day of the fiscal year, 167 human beings have died in industrial accidents which is averaging 3 a day.  Out of the 4,251 worker fatalities in private industry for calendar year 2014, 874 (20.5%) were in construction with the leading cause, FALLS accounted for 349 (39.9%). Also in 2014, 789 Hispanic or Latino workers were killed which is 2 Latino workers dying every single day of the year on the job!  You don’t have to work on roof tops without fall protection gear. If no safety equipment is offered and you think it is dangerous, it probably is, so don’t keep quiet about it.  Call the OSHA hotline.1 (800) 321-6742.  (Usted no tiene que trabajar en tejados sin equipo de protección contra caídas. Si no hay ningún equipo de seguridad se ofrece y usted piensa que es peligroso , probablemente lo es , así que no guardar silencio al respecto . Llame a la hotline.1 OSHA ( 800 ) 321-6742.)   Well, unfortunately that sounds like yet another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.

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OSHA opens investigation after Missouri contractor fails to report roofer’s death PREVENTABLE – Nathan Scott Hemmen, a 36 year old father of 2 and a roofer by trade fell 10 feet onto a concrete floor and languished for 15 days in hospital until he finally succumbed to his injuries.  His employer, JTR Construction didn’t think it was important enough to report the accident, in fact OSHA only found out when his family called.  Can you imagine?!  It’s not like this is a new company as they have been around for almost 20 years so they know the rules of the road.  So why didn’t they report the accident and what are they hiding?   We’ll keep an eye on this investigation but remember, you don’t have to work under dangerous conditions and when working over 6 feet from the ground insist on fall protection from your employer. Don’t let them bully you into putting yourself at risk when there is plenty of safety gear and devices out there to keep you from falling.

AK contractor fined $560K in worker’s trench collapse death – PREVENTABLESamuel Morgan, a 23 years old who was just beginning his journey in life, was married and dreamed of one day having his own construction business.  Samuel worked for Hartman Construction and was learning all he could but unfortunately he learned the hard way how to die on the job.  As he was laying sewer pipe in a trench, it collapsed around him and witnesses say David Hartman, a company owner and other workers used two excavators trying to rescue him when they instead killed him.  If Hartman Construction had provided adequate access and egress from the trench Samuel could still be alive and would have leaned from this experience. However they didn’t place ladders at the site and even after noticing a section of trench that had sloughed off they didn’t think it important to assemble the protective trench box they had there.  The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development did the right thing and hit Hartman Construction with a $560,000 fine for a Willful citation.  As the Commissioner of the Department of Labor, Heidi Drygas said, the high fine is meant to deter future safety violations in construction industry and criminal charges are still possible. The owner should be facing manslaughter charges.

AWS Roofing Cited for Fall Hazards – PREVENTABLE – Yet another contractor putting workers in jeopardy and using luck as their safety program. AWS Roofing Services was cited for 1 Willful violation for not providing fall protection gear to employees as they worked up to 30 feet off the ground. With FALLS being the number one citation and cause of death in the construction industry, how stupid are the owners of AWS Roofing?  Don’t keep quiet about safety.

Employee’s Legs Amputated: Lack of Machine Guarding Is Cause – PREVENTABLE – A worker was carrying out what he thought was a routine job of breaking ice, when he fell into an unguarded conveyor opening and watched in horror as both his legs were amputated below the knee because the protective guarding that would have stopped him was not in place.  The OSHA inspection found 1 Willful, 5 Serious and 3 other than serious violations and you know what willful means.  That Seaford Ice Inc. knew about the hazard and that it could kill or maim someone, but couldn’t care less.   The serious violations included electrical hazards, unguarded machines, hazard communication violations and no L.O.T.O. program.  All this and costs in fines is only $77,000. The sad thing is this is the second time in 3 years this has occurred at Seaford Ice Inc.  In 2012 a worker had a foot amputated after coming in contact with a conveyor with inadequate guarding.  You think they would have learned but then isn’t that what to expect when luck is your safety program.  If come across this situation and you’ve brought it to the attention of your supervisor and nothing has been done.  Don’t wait until you get injured, call the OSHA hotline.1 (800) 321-6742.

3 OSHA Citations Since April 2015 for Nation’s Largest Cookie, Cracker Manufacturer – PREVENTABLE – Sounds like things are getting sloppy at Hearthside Food Solutions LLC a bakery for national brands which is usually a sign of lacking leadership.  The latest injury is a 41 year old employee  who wound up with severe scalp injuries when a machine caught her hairnet while she was cleaning product waste from the factory floor.  Previously in April and again in September workers had fingertips amputated by machinery so you can see the pattern here.  The OSHA inspection found 1 Repeat, 3 Serious and 1 other than serious safety violations along with a proposed fine of $47,000

Norwalk company fined $44,000 by OSHA – PREVENTABLE – Based on an employee complaint about amputation hazards, OSHA inspected and cited Americraft Carton Inc. for 7 Serious safety violations and a proposed fine of $44,000.  They failed to use L.O.T.O., train employees on machine safety procedures, install safety guards on pulleys, belts and horizontal shafts and didn’t conduct daily inspections of powered industrial vehicles and left damaged vehicles in service.

Wyman-Gordon faces $145K in OSHA fines – PREVENTABLE – Based on an employee complaint about safety, OSHA inspected and cited Wyman-Gordan for 3 Repeat and 10 Serious violations and a proposed fine of $145,600.  OSHA found electrical panels damaged by forklifts, blocked access to electrical panels and band saws and a milling machine without adequate guarding which they were cited for in 2011 and 2013.  The serious violations included inadequate emergency exit signage, blocked fire extinguishers, slip and trip hazards, damaged insulation on electrical cords, exposed electrical conductors and no seat belt use while operating powered industrial trucks.

OSHA cites manufacturer for spray finishing, safety hazards – PREVENTABLE – Based on an employee complaint about spray booth hazards, OSHA inspected and cited Portersville Sales & Testing Inc. for 15 Serious safety violations and a proposed fine of $43,600.  OSHA found the use of flammable materials in its trailer spraying operation and use of a homemade jack stand to lift trailers which exposed workers to crush hazards.  Employees were also exposed to fall hazards and excessive dust levels.  The company was previously cited this year for 7 Serious and 3 other than serious safety violations and a proposed fine of $18,445.

OSHA cites painting company after worker falls into Baraboo water tower – PREVENTABLE – A worker of LC United Painting, who was contracted to do cleaning, repairs and painting of a water tower, was seriously injured when he fell inside the tower from one platform to another with a drop up to 70 feet because his employer didn’t think he needed fall protection gear. The following investigation found 40 Serious safety violations and a proposed fine of $178,000.

B.C. workplace safety agency doubles number of fines for infractions – CANADA – British Columbia is taking workplace safety very seriously as they have doubled the number of citations issued.

16% of three-year-olds need hospital care for injuries – IRELAND – Is this where it begins?  Research found injuries were higher for boys then girls, which makes sense since accidents is the #3 killer of men.  Can something be done?

Auburn firm earns two-year free pass from OSHA inspections – WINNERMaine Oxy’s Auburn plant has earned the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program Award in recognition of its rigorous safety achievement program.  It can be done.

That brings another episode of Companies Behaving Badly to a close. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule and stopping by, checking out the stories.  I appreciate you all as this has been the best year in readership from you, the people.  Wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy, Healthy and safe New Year.  Please feel free to use any or all of these stories at your next tailgate/toolbox safety meeting.  If you are not having weekly meetings, ask why?  Communication is a very important aspect of safety.  Please be aware of your rights to a safe workplace and don’t become statistics.  Ask questions especially if you are a young worker who is eagerly learning the ropes or a migrant worker who is having a language barrier, you don’t have to do dangerous work without the proper protection. You can say NO and can’t be fired.  You deserve a safe workplace just as much as anyone else. Remember, ALL CONSTRUCTION LIVES MATTER.  Until next year, take care and stay safe.

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