Companies Behaving Badly – A New Year of Dying

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What kind of resolutions have you made for the new year?  Are any of them related to safety at work?  Really!?  That’s great, but seriously, how long will that last before that next temptation to just reach in, comes along?  You know those days, you’re not in the mood and don’t want to have to stop the line and do LOTO just to clear that little jam.  I can clear it in no time!  You wait and time the machine’s movements as you ready to pounce on the jam like a lion on it’s prey and the moment comes and you go for it.  Or it’s not a bad day outside and no one is on the roof, working, except you.  You have one quick job to do that should take no time!  There’s a slight angle on the roof but you know you can manage it and you’re not in the mood to stop and have to put on that fall protection gear and hey, no one’s watching.  So you bravely go out on to the roof and you go for it.  It could have gone either way, like gambling.  You’re gambling with your life when decide to ignore safety.  In stead of placing down a chip or cash you placing your life, your essence, your being, your existence on a bet that you won’t die working unsafe this one time or as it really turns out over the course of a life, many times.  If you lose your bet it’s not over, because you have now cheated your family.  Cheated them from knowing you, being with you, learning from you, talking to you.  You’re gone.  As of December 5th. 2015, according to the latest numbers from OSHA, 185 have died in industrial accidents at work.  Why are you betting your life?  Well, that unfortunately sounds like yet another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.

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Feds cite Leavittsburg company for fall risk to workers – PREVENTABLE – WHY do falls continue to be the leading cause of industrial accident death?  Because of companies like B&B Plastering who exposed workers to falls at 2 different work sites.  At one site employees were working on scaffolds without railings or fall protection gear and exposed to falls of up to 24 feet and the other site up to 16 foot falls.  They also failed to provide a ladder or other safe means to access the work platforms of the scaffold or hard hats or other PPE.  For this stupidity, they were cited for 4 Willful and 3 Serious and a proposed fine of $131,440. They were also cited for similar hazards in 2010.  It is not required or a part of the job to put yourself at risk.  If you feel you are being taken advantage of or put into unnecessary danger you don’t have to do it. Don’t keep quiet about safety. Call the OSHA hotline1 (800) 321-6742.

3 Workers Suffer Amputation Injuries at OH Envelope Printing Facility – PREVENTABLE – Most of us learn after putting a hand in a fire that it burns,hurts and not to do it again.  Most companies can figure out on their own after one worker suffers an amputation they need to fix it.  However that was not the case with Envelope1 as 3 workers experienced amputations of fingers within a 4 month period. OSHA has cited them for 3 Willful and 4 Serious violations with a proposed fine of $88,200. As you know a willful violations means that the company knew the hazard(s) existed but couldn’t care less if anyone was injured or killed by it. Which explains why only 1 of the 27 production lines had proper guarding in place.

OSHA fines Cicero plant for multiple worker safety violations – PREVENTABLE – Another company that had no problem exposing workers to hazards is Electronic Plating Company who not only exposed it’s employees to machinery and live electrical hazards but also exposed them to cadmium. After an inspection, based on an employee complaint, they were cited for 1 Willful, 8 Repeat, 8 Serious and 1 other safety violations along with a proposed fine of $157,000.  The 8 repeat violations tell you how much they don’t care about their workers and how much profits means to them.  If you work in a noisy environment you should be given hearing protection at no cost to you and you hearing tested annually.  When working with chemicals and metals you should also receive training on the chemicals you’re working with, their dangers, how to handle and how to respond to a spill as well as the proper Personal Protective Equipment at no cost to you.  If this is not happening, don’t put your life in danger. Don’t keep quiet about safety and call the OSHA hotline -1 (800) 321-6742

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OSHA Cites Cement Plant for Repeated Hazards – PREVENTABLE – Yet another company that couldn’t care less if their workers are injured or not even though there are solutions to prevent it.  Quality Ready Mix Inc., St. Mary’s, Ohio was cited by OSHA for 1 Willful, 3 Repeat and 2 Serious safety violations and a proposed fine of $51,920.  The company couldn’t be bothered with developing permit required confined space procedures and train employees on those procedures, it sounds so expensive.  There was also no fall protection, protection from moving parts of machinery and electrical hazards. It helps keeps you on your toes at work when you’re trying to avoid more than one way to get hurt or die while working and it’s a little difficult to concentrate on the job at hand.

Roofing firm cited by OSHA for ignoring fall hazards – PREVENTABLE – This time Force Corp. is the company that knew of a danger to it’s workers and looked deep into their conscience and then did nothing about it.  Now they’ve received 1 Willful and 4 Serious safety violations that can cost them $91,000 in proposed fines. Working at least 18 feet off the ground, 3 employees there on the roof had no fall protection at all, but can you totally blame them? The safety harnesses on site were found damaged not to mention the improperly sized ladders the employees were given to use.  It is very disturbing as well as disappointing that companies don’t view employees as assets and nothing more then expendable and cost of doing business.  It doesn’t have to be that way. Never keep quiet about safety, the life or limb you save may be your own.

Construction Company with ‘Severe Violator’ Owner Cited for Willful Fall Protection Violations – PREVENTABLE – One more company tossing grist into the mill.  DMAC Construction LLC allowed it’s precious and dear employees work up to 25 feet off the ground without any fall protection. For their lack of concern for workers earned them 1 Willful safety violation and a proposed fine of $70,000.  Would have the fall protection gear cost much less, yes they would have and they could still have banked profit but then you would have to care.  Due to their long history of putting workers at risk DMAC has earned a place in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.  You don’t have to work at heights without fall protection. Even if they promise you a few more dollars to look the other way, who will take care of your family when you are dead?  Call the OSHA hotline at 1 (800) 321-6742

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Camden Park Issued More Than 40 OSHA Violations For Safety Hazards – PREVENTABLE – In a response to an employee complaint about safety at Camden Park, the OSHA inspection found 40 Serious and 5 other-than-serious violations and a proposed fine of $65,100. Employees were exposed to fall, electrical, chemical and amputation hazards as well as obstructed exit routes that were not visibly marked and lack of machine guarding and no hazard communication plan.  Not only were workers put at risk but the visitors were also just as much at risk.  This is also a great example of poor leadership by allowing safety to fall to the way side just to save a few bucks.

South Brunswick Coca-Cola Warehouse Fined For Unsafe Conditions – PREVENTABLE – Even if corporate doesn’t find the managers with poor leadership, caring employees who enjoy their jobs will expose them as one made an anonymous complaint about warehouse working conditions.  The OSHA inspection it triggered found blocked exit routes, improperly stored compressed gas cylinders, holes in the floor among a few violations at the Coca-Cola distribution warehouse in Monmouth Junction. This earned them 4 Repeat and 2 Serious violations and a proposed fine of $61,600.  The forklift drivers also didn’t get license renewals or new training in addition to drive with loads on floors with holes that makes the job harder and more dangerous.  Now you understand why the employee went to OSHA. I’m sure he started with his supervisor and never heard back or has been threatened to “shut up”. This employee knew better then to keep quiet about safety.

Oregon OSHA’s Recordkeeping, Recording Rules Taking Effect Jan. 1 – NEW RULES IN OREGON – Working in Oregon? Be aware of the new reporting rules in the state.

Spike in NYC workplace fatalities in 2014 leaves 78 dead on the job – What’s happening in the big apple?  Lax enforcement and poor company leaders, cutting corners make for a dangerous concoction.

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Forklift driver who died at work had no training – NEW ZEALAND – Employer allowed workers to use forklifts with no training at all and what you would expect to happen, happened.  An employee was killed due to utter senselessness.

Roofing contractor pleads guilty to lying to OSHA – UPDATEA roofing company owner has pleaded guilty to lying to OSHA and willful violation of an OSHA rule, in a rare criminal conviction for a safety violation in the death of an employee.  More owners that are found to be willful in the injury or death of employees should be prosecuted.

Departments of Justice and Labor Announce Expansion Initiative to Address Worker Safety Violations – NEWS – Its coming – Someone in the government was thinking for a change and they have figured out how to finally fine and prosecute owners that purposely place their workers in danger. Along with the new higher fines we should be able to reduce the accidents and deaths that claim too many.

30 years after gas blast: ‘When is a political favor worth 12 lives?’ – by John Stroud  Very good article you should read.  It’s a shame that we really don’t learn from previous lessons and still make the same mistakes again and again.

Well that my friends, brings yet another episode of Companies Behaving Badly to a close. Wish all of you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.  Thank you for taking time out of your crazy day and spending it here.  Please don’t hesitate to use any or all of these stories at your next tailgate/toolbox safety meeting. If you are not having safety meetings, ask your supervisor, foreperson, union representative and/or H.R. person why?  Don’t accept “cause” as the answer and never keep quiet about safety. The life you save may be your own. Until the 15th. stay safe.

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