Companies Behaving Badly – Doubly Willful

Maybe we’re going about this whole workplace safety thing all wrong.  It may be time to make some changes at how we do and look at things to help bring home the point of safety.  OSHA is vastly raising the amounts on citations and also did some minor restructuring so they can begin prosecuting safety violators.  While OSHA provides us the structure to work within on providing a safe workplace to your employees, EVERYONE, from the worker on the floor to the CEO must be involved and responsible for their safety on the job.  If you are lucky enough to work for a company that provides you with all the PPE you need, refresher training, LOTO procedures, safety meetings and you knowingly and willingly put yourself or body at risk, you are nuts my friend.  Think of those workers at companies where they don’t have a choice or because of language barriers are taken advantage of. (The above is an excerpt from “Just Putting it Out There-a Modest Proposal”).  If you do work under unsafe conditions and you feel that you are being put in danger call the osha hot line. 1-800-321-6742.  Be an informed worker. Get a copy of the Cal/OSHA Construction Safety guide.  Know your rights and what to expect on the job site, click here.  Ser un trabajador informado. Obtener una copia de la guía de Cal / OSHA Seguridad en la Construcción . Conozca sus derechos y lo que puede esperar en el lugar de trabajo,haga clic aquí.  As of Dec 12, 2015 (the latest numbers available from OSHA) 208 people have died in industrial accidents during this fiscal year, that means 3 people are dying a day.  We can do better!!!  That unfortunately sounds like yet another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.
OSHA cites steel plant over safety, probes whistleblower retaliation – PREVENTABLE – St.Louis Cold Drawn Inc. is one of those businesses that doesn’t care what happens to their employees on the job as they also continue to take advantage of Asian immigrant workers with limited english speaking skills  as they were exposed to daily amputation, electrical and other hazards.  OSHA cited the company 2 Willful, 7 Repeat and 22 Serious safety violations along with a proposed fine of $366,300 in addition to a whistleblower investigation.  It seems they fired an employee for not wanting to be exposed to machines without guarding and amputations, inadequate drainage, faulty head protection, fall hazards, insufficient crane inspections or dying at work and said something to OSHA. Never keep quiet about safety.
Roofing contractor cited by OSHA – PREVENTABLE – Here is another company that had been cited before, but continued to put employees in harms way.  Contractor Michel Cahoon who does business as High & Dry Roofing did just that to his workers, left them high up with no fall protection.  Based on a complaint, OSHA’s inspection found 2 Willful and 4 Repeat citations and issued a proposed fine of $152,460 and placed into the Severe Violators Enforcement Program.  Employees working at heights of over 20 feet in addition to no fall protection also had no proper ladder safeguards, lack of hard hats, eye protection and the best yet, erected scaffolding too close to a live 240 volt line.  It is too bad that his contractor license can’t be suspended for a period of time.
Bridge repair firm cited by OSHA after fatal trench collapse – PREVENTABLE – A person is dead because he trusted that his employer Susquehanna Supply Co. wouldn’t put him in a unsafe trench, which they did because they couldn’t care less.  OSHA issued 2 Willful citations along with a proposed fine of $140,000 for lack of cave-in protection.  The worker was in a trench, 12-15 feet deep when the adjacent trench wall collapsed and buried him.  This also earned them a spot in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program. Don’t understand why no one from Susquehanna is on trail for man slaughter.
OSHA cites SB Framing Services after worker dies after falling from roof  – PREVENTABLE – Selvin Velasquez, a 32 year old construction worker would still be alive if his employer had listened to the warnings from a third party about the potential hazard of having employees working over 19 feet off the ground without any fall protection.  SB Framing Services Inc. was more concerned about delays in getting the job done than the health and safety of it’s workers and Selvin wound up paying the price.  The OSHA inspection found 1 Willful and 1 Serious violation and issued a proposed fine of $53,900. Is it worth your life to cut corners on safety so the company owner can put a few extra bucks in his pocket while you’re placed in a box and 6 feet under?  You DON’T have to do this.  Just say NO and live another day.
OSHA fines 2 companies in worker’s death at Longmont’s Village at the Peaks – PREVENTABLE – Tereso Zamarippa-Hernandez, a 39 year old construction worker was working on a roof before sunrise when he fell through a hole in the roof he couldn’t see, to the concrete below and died due to the incredible lack of concern for safety by the companies involved.  Their laziness and ignorance created an environment where someone was going to be killed on the job as OSHA’s inspection found that his employer and another company had 12 Serious safety violations. Ramos Roofing, his employer didn’t bother to have a safety program in place to check for holes and potential trips and falls as well as not training employees on safe ladder and stairway usage and fined $11,460.

Colorado Structures Incorporated was fined $12,775 for not initiating and maintaining a safety program to provide frequent and regular inspections of jobsites, materials and equipment, exposing workers to fall hazards. That would take time and someone who cared about their workers.  OSHA also cited both companies for not properly illuminating job sites and not properly securing and marking covers and making sure they were substantial enough to support employees.  The best part is Ramos Roofing owner Alfredo Ramos stated he is working to reinforce safety policies but added that his company already had safety procedures in place at the time of the accident.  You can have all the procedures in the world in place but you need to make sure workers understand them and they need to enforce those procedures.

Contractors sentenced to prison in deadly Philadelphia wall collapse – PREVENTABLE – This is something I hope to see more of as 2 demolition contractors were sentenced to prison time in the death of 6 people after a building collapse.  Contractor Griffin Campbell received 15 to 30 years and equipment operator Sean Benschop received 7.5 to 15 years for involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault and causing a catastrophe.  By his own admission, Benschop took percocet and marijuana before operating machinery to demolish a unsupported brick wall.  Campbell was the lowest bid on the project and had to cut corners on safety, which goes to show, the lowest bid isn’t always the best.  Related to this story, a city inspector, who was never accused of any wrongdoing with the collapse, committed suicide soon after the accident.  This whole event is far from over as now civil lawsuits by the families of the victims begin and OSHA has fines totaling $400,000 outstanding.  Safety is something you can NEVER compromise on and if you believe it will never happen to you then you are truly a fool.

Amazon cited by federal regulators for failure to report workplace injuries – PREVENTABLE – It appears that the folks at Amazon, the people who want to deliver you goods even before you know you need them, believe that they are above the law and don’t have to report employee injuries.  When you try to portray an image that you are the greatest thing since sliced bread admitting errors is so very hard to do as it makes you look as a mere mortal.  OSHA has fined them $7,000 for failing to report at least 26 workplace injuries at their New Jersey warehouse.  Can you imagine what kind of things they’ll forget to report when their drones begin having accidents?  Of course they say this is not true and we all know that large corporations never lie and only have concerns that nothing interferes with the profit margin.

What’s the secret behind this plant’s 4-year safety streak? – SAFETY WINNEREmployees at The Kraft Heinz Company in Fort Smith, Arkansas, are celebrating 3 million work hours without a lost day due to job injury or illness. Learn more about their commitment to safety and read the article.

$35 million distributed to policy holders for work place safety – Who says safety doesn’t pay?  Read how many and how much is coming back to the community and businesses due to being safe a work.

Should it Take a Tragedy to Put Safety in the Spotlight? – AUSTRALIA – We shouldn’t have to wait for a tragedy to put safety in the spotlight. Preventive measures, training and monitoring can prevent new headlines in the paper.  Read this very good article.

That brings this episode of Companies Behaving Badly to a close.  Thank you for stopping by and reading the articles.  Please feel free to use any or all of these articles at your next tailgate/toolbox safety meeting.  If you are not having weekly meetings or a monthly safety meeting ask why.  A company that cares about it’s employees will have meetings and training sessions to better their work force.  They will also listen to your concerns about safety and if they don’t or threaten you to shut up, immediately call the OSHA hotline at 1 (800) 321-6742 and also get a copy of the Cal/OSHA guide to construction safety for your own protection.  Until next month, stay safe and never keep quiet about safety.


4 thoughts on “Companies Behaving Badly – Doubly Willful

  1. Phil – I understand the message but I think your math is off. As of 12/12/2015, 346 days have passed and 208 deaths comes to.6 per day. Even if I pull out the weekends and 10 holiday days, it comes to 257 workdays or .8 deaths per day. Even .6 deaths per day is way too much, especially if you or someone you know is that .6. Keep the message strong and loud.


      1. Glad you mentioned it though Dominic. I went back and edited it since it really wasn’t clear about the fiscal year. Yes, the news isn’t good. Thanks again Dominic for being a loyal reader.


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