Welcome back folks. Hope your summer has been a pleasant one so far. As you will see, unfortunately, there are still Companies Behaving Badly. I would like to ask you all, what does a near miss incident indicate to you? Is there a problem or not? Do your operating or training procedures need to be reviewed? Does the employee’s behavior need to be investigated? Do you do anything at all? Or was it just as simple as brain fart, lack of attention to what they were doing or worse, complacency.
Brain farts are going to happen when you allow yourself to be distracted while trying to perform a task. Stewing over an argument with your significant other, worrying about how the merger is going to affect your job, concerned about the cost of college for your child, an ill family member, overtime and the holidays can all take your mind off the job. Also not feeling your best whether a cold or flu and not getting enough sleep can also reduce your alertness and reaction time.
Complacency is just as bad if not worse then being distracted. You get yourself into a routine, each day is just like every other day. Nothing different happens, the lines run, the forklifts move, trucks are loaded and unloaded. It’s so boring you don’t even realize you’re totally let your guard down. Instead of watching the truck get unloaded your back is too it. This is just routine and then the pipes are just nudged the wrong way and the spill, you see stars and everything goes to black. If you’re lucky you’ll wake up.
You can help your employees stay focused and keep their heads in the game by holding a huddle at the beginning of each shift. A quick 5 – 10 minute get together where you go over the shifts goals. How many widgets need to be produced, the number of trucks to be loaded and a great time to remind them to be alert, “stay on your toes”. On hot days you can tell them to make sure to stay hydrated. On rainy days remind them to watch the wet floors and slow down. Great time to also say thanks for your efforts. So before you go off on that employee with a near miss, especially when it’s the first time, ask them how they’re feeling. Why isn’t their head in the game and can you help because every member of the team is important. If there are repeated near misses then a retraining session is in order along with a letter spelling out expectations on the job.
Lack of training, expired permits lead to disaster for site-prep company – Another great reason to have a quick huddle is to go over equipment being operated and the conditions it’s going to be used in. What does the operator need to know to avoid a disaster like this one where the operator died. It is amazing how far a little communication can help in any industry in any situation. You know what they say about when you ASSUME. You make an ASS out of U and ME, however in this case it can make you dead. Always make an attempt to keep engaging workers and keep the discussion going.
OSHA Cites West Baden Post Office For Asbestos Exposure –Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night keeps U.S.Postal Service from exposing workers. Yes folks, yet again the USPS has placed their workers in hazardous conditions and still expect them to do the job properly. This time they knowingly exposed their workers to asbestos as OSHA had pointed it out before but apparently management hasn’t the brains to do anything. This OSHA failure on safety month after month speaks volumes of the lack of leadership in this organization and no one including the head man himself seems to care. Where is their union. Yes, I’m calling you out, why are you not protecting your dues paying members? Why do you continue to allow them to work under this conditions. You know asbestos is a carcinogen. Shame on you.
Worker Dies 4 Months After OSHA Cites Employer For Failure To Protect Workers – Back in October 2015, OSHA cited Material Handling Systems/MHS Technical Services for lack of fall protection and you would think they had learned their lesson and wouldn’t expose workers to fall hazards which is the NO. 1 killer in the construction industry. They didn’t. Four months later at the same job site an employee plummeted 22 feet to his death because a company made the deliberate decision not to change anything and still left their workers out hanging to die. To bad UPS didn’t take this companies safety record into consideration before awarding them the contract. You can not be forced not to use fall protection when working at heights over 6 feet. Ask for it. Insist on it. Your life is just as important as everyone else. If you are coerced into unsafe acts you can make an anonymous complain to OSHA. Call the OSHA Hotline at 1 (800) 321-6742 (OSHA).
This brings us to Fed contracts only for those who respect workplace laws – Since financially penalizing companies behaving badly doesn’t seem to be a total deterrent maybe the best way to hit them in the pocketbook is to bar them from contracts with not on Federal agencies but all State, city and local entities. Why shouldn’t companies that spend money on safety and take it seriously get the opportunity for a government contract over a company that has not guilt in killing workers just for a few more bucks of profit. Reward those who play by the rules.
When it comes to enforcement of safety violations and death of workers where do we Drawing the line: Does heightened legal enforcement ‘cultivate change’ in the construction industry? – A very good article that deals with the reality of prosecuting owners of companies that have failed to protect workers that has resulted in their very serious injuries or death. How do you feel about the way we’re going on this issue?
In the end, it’s all about how you feel about life. Are you the glass is half full, positive person or the glass is half empty negative person. When presented with opportunities to improve a workers safety and look at it as a positive experience you will accomplish much in your production goals, your relationship goals and your personal goals. Remember to treat people with kindness on all levels and watch each others back on the shop floor. Never keep quiet about safety for the life you save may be your own.