Companies Behaving Badly-Stand Down


Hopefully, you already know that May 2 – 6 has been designated as the 3rd. annual National Safety Stand-Down.  OSHA and companion federal agencies will be participating in this important reminder for and education of, construction employers and workers of the serious dangers of falls, which is still the number one killer in the industry.  There is no excuse for this as falls are so easily preventable when the proper equipment and techniques are put into use.  If you work for a roofing or construction company and you have to work more than 6 feet off the ground, you should be trained on how to use fall protection equipment, how to identify fall hazards and issued the PPE and equipment whether your up there for 5 minutes or 8 hours.  Fall protection equipment can come in several different forms.  You could be given a safety vest to wear that is properly tied off to fixed locations that would support you if you were to fall.  It can also come in the form of railings that you can grab to stop from falling or nets to catch you.  Either way, it’s time to say no to working without fall protection.  Stand up for your right to live.  Well, that, unfortunately, sounds like this is another episode of Companies Behaving Badly. 

OSHA fines Bear Creek sauerkraut producer after employee’s fall – PREVENTABLE – GLK Foods LLC will be shelling out a lot of cabbage as an OSHA inspection initiated by an employee 17 foot fall into an empty sauerkraut vat will cost them $143,550 in proposed fines for 1 WILLFUL, 2 REPEAT and 5 SERIOUS safety violations.  The violations included failure to install guard railings to protect employees from falls while working on top of cabbage fermentation vats, develop procedures and implement permit confined space requirements, including testing atmospheric conditions and providing emergency and rescue equipment, install safeguards on moving conveyor parts, keep floor holes covered to prevent slips and falls and use of locking devices to prevent conveyors from accidentally being turned on.  These are conditions you do not have to tolerate.  It’s tough enough concentrating on the task on hand without having to worry about falling through the floor.

OSHA fines IL roofer $58K for fall protection violations – PREVENTABLE – Apex Exteriors Inc. had workers installing shingles on a roof without any fall protection.  If one of those workers happened to have tripped or slipped and fell, they would not have had the opportunity of a second chance because their employer didn’t care enough about their lives to provide the proper safety equipment and that earned them 1 WILLFUL,  1 REPEAT and 1 SERIOUS safety violation and a proposed fine of $57,950.  You can’t be forced to commit an unsafe act at work.  Insist on fall protection and the associated training when working at heights above 6 feet.  If they can’t give you that, you don’t want to work for them since they don’t have your back.


Finger amputation results in OSHA citations – PREVENTABLE – An employee suffered a partial finger amputation which initiated an inspection by OSHA and low and behold they found 1 WILLFUL and 10 SERIOUS safety violations that came along with a proposed fine of $127,300.  Exide Technologies didn’t care that an operator had to use a machine with unguarded belts, pulleys, and gears which resulted in an amputation when his left hand was pulled in.  Workers were also exposed to electrical and heat hazards as well.  If proper guarding is not in place, don’t operate the machinery.  You can’t concentrate on running equipment when you have to worry about moving parts.

Plumbing contractor cited after ignoring OSHA safety standards  – PREVENTABLE – What could be worse than falling to your death?  How about working in a trench with no escape routes in place and the walls of dirt collapse and engulf you while you slowly suffocate to death.  That’s the situation Stephens Plumbing Inc. put their workers in as they earned 1 WILLFUL and 4 SERIOUS safety violations along with a proposed fine of $43,800.  When working in a trench the walls need to be supported and you must have a way of escaping in an instant either by ladder or a retrieving system that pulls you out.  Don’t do it and don’t buy that “just this time” or “You’re not a team player” bull crap.  Your life is important, even if our employer doesn’t think so.

OSHA cites Ladysmith paper mill in worker’s death – PREVENTABLE – A worker died on the job because his employer, Clearwater Paper Corp. which operates the plant that produces Ladysmith paper products allowed him to service a high speed moving conveyor while in operation.  The OSHA investigation found 1 WILLFUL and 1 REPEAT safety violation and a proposed fine of $119,000.  This time it wasn’t a fall or a cave-in but moving machinery that killed.  No matter how minor the adjustment or important the line of operation is, never service machinery that is fully operational and moving.  Even if you beat the machine you may never live to tell the tale.

These first 5 stories all had WILLFUL violations.  As you know, this means the company these people were working for knew about the hazards present and that they could maim or kill someone, but didn’t care.  If you are forced to work under conditions like this and no one is listening to your concerns, call the OSHA HOTLINE 1 – 800 – 321-6742(OSHA).

After Two Workers Suffer Finger Amputations, OSHA Finds 12 Violations – PREVENTABLE – In the Nebraska facility of Becton, Dickinson and Co., management doesn’t seem to listen and didn’t feel the need to correct safety issues previously pointed out by OSHA.  This latest inspection, after 2 workers suffered partial amputations, found 1 REPEAT and 12 SERIOUS safety violations as a number of machines lacked safety guards. Imagine that.  For this a proposed fine of $112,700 was issued.  As above, don’t operate machinery without proper guarding and emergency shut offs.  You don’t have too.




OSHA fines Fuyao for safety violations at Moraine facility – PREVENTABLE – NEVER keep quiet about safety.  OSHA received several employee complaints from the Moraine plant of Fuyao an auto glass maker.  OSHA found 2 SERIOUS safety violations and issued a fine of $14,000.  They citations involved not providing proper machine guarding and not securing a trench with moving machinery.  Both very good concerns and my guess is both issues were brought up to managements attention but were blown off.  They didn’t want to leave their jobs so they did the next best thing and called OSHA.  Not listening to your workers’ safety concerns is just plain stupid.  

OSHA issues RepublicSteel five citations and $121,000 penalties – PREVENTABLE – It is not a good idea to tell OSHA you’re going to mitigate hazards and then not do it.  The moron’s in charge at Republic Steel had promised to remove the fall and machinery hazards previously found by OSHA but a follow-up inspection found 5 REPEAT violations, so OSHA gave them a surprise gift of a proposed fine of $121,000.  Apparently, Republic Steel feels it’s cheaper to keep paying fines then spend the money to fix the problems.  That’s why the fines need to be drastically increased.  

Kosmos admits safety violations in 2014 death – JUSTICE DONE – Kosmos Cement Co. has pled guilty to violating workplace safety standards in the death of a worker who fell down an elevator shaft and fines of up to $400,000.  Another instance where a company WILLFULLY ignored safety and a worker paid for it with his life.  Read the story.
– It’s easy to say, but you can’t let your guard down when it comes to workplace safety.  Even mundane everyday tasks can be dangerous if you’re not paying attention.  3 people have died in separate incidents with lawn movers.  Read the article and have that discussion with the staff. 
La-Z-Boy plant breaks AHFA safety record – WINNER – La-Z-Boy announced that its Dayton, Tenn., manufacturing facility has broken the American Home Furnishings Alliance safety record for the highest number of production hours without an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recordable lost-time case.  Congrats.
26 workplace deaths this year show safety efforts not good enough – SINGAPORE They’re also dealing with workplace safety.  Read the article.
New initiative aimed at reducing workplace injuries among youth – CANADA – Taking the lead on teaching workplace safety to young workers.  Check it out.
If you’re curious –
Department of Industrial Relations Reports 2014 Fatal Occupational Injuries – CALOSHA’s take on 2014.  Interesting info.
Dodge: Prioritizing safety increases ROI, employee retention and talent acquisition – Another good report and what I’ve always practiced and preached.
Well, my friends, that brings yet another episode of Companies Behaving Badly to a close. Please share this information at your next safety tailgate/toolbox meeting.  If you are not having safety meetings ask why and become involved.  Never keep quiet about safety as the life you save may be your own.

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