Companies Behaving Badly-FIRE!


Hello all, welcome back and hope you had a nice Thanksgiving.  Each of us have a few words that we respond with an instant reaction of fear and a jolt of adrenalin.  They can be as simple as  “Our next shipment of tickling Elmos is after Christmas”, “That was the last of the wrapping paper” to “I’m late” or “wifi is down”!   The word “FIRE” is another great example of one of those inspirational words that when shouted, creates a flight or fight response in individuals.  For those who have had all that training and drills, it all comes to mind and kicks in, (which really feels good when it does) as you immediately begin to size up the situation and proceed with the next steps you need to take to deal with the fire. Others may just take FLIGHT!  


Now I don’t want you to think there is any thing wrong with taking flight and evacuating upon the outbreak of a fire, it is the correct thing to do in an emergency.  The problem arises when those emergency routes are blocked with boxes of merchandise, equipment and junk made only worse by arriving at a locked emergency exit door.  Imagine the fear and desperation a person experiences when the building is burning and the only way out is locked shut with chains and padlocks.  If you’re lucky, you’ll pass out from the smoke and heat be dead before the flames get to you.  Terrible, isn’t it?  Yet as you will see in the stories below, there are companies out there that seem to have no problem placing their workers and customers in that worst case scenario.  Like they tell you on an airplane, where ever you work, know where the emergency routes and exits are and you should always plan on at least two ways out.  Just in case on of them is blocked by the fire and they should always be clear.  It’s an emergency route not an obstacle course.  

10 Retailers You Should Think Twice About Buying From on Black Friday – Why not patronage a business based on how it treats it’s employees and safety violations.  We’re all horrified when we hear about the working conditions in Asia and other parts of the world, why not our own backyard.  It’s also not just these retailers, General Dollar stores or the U.S. Postal Service that have blocked emergency exits.  I was recently in a local, Bath Bed Beyond and the aisles throughout the store were choked with boxes and carts of merchandise.  If an evacuation was needed, people would have been injured trying to get out pushing through the blockade.   I understand that the holiday season is an important economic event for retailers and you want to push as much product as possible on the floor because you need those numbers and the morons at corporate just don’t want to understand your situation but still send more.  Will all that matter in a courtroom when you’re on trial because one or more people died trying to escape you store during a fire?  No it won’t and corporate will just pay a fine and you’ll be thrown under the bus.  Customers!  When you see this situation, say something to the manager, don’t keep quiet about safety.

Evacuation routes on a grander scale.  Houston Area Jeopardized By Outdated Chemical Transportation Routes – I must confess that I am no longer surprised by the level of incompetence of the leadership operating our cities and states.  The ideas of continually putting things off, like it’ll just go away on its own, and not blow up until I’m retired and then can be righteous and say, “told you so”.   As we have no control over these clowns in the cities we do at our workplace.  Don’t wait until something happens to make changes to procedures, be proactive and review your operation annually.  What’s changed in the last year?  Equipment, new chemicals, storage?  Do the evacuation routes still make sense?  This is also why I firmly believe in THE WALK.  When you walk your facility or warehouse you’ll notice these changes and can correct accordingly.  In fact, if you have a safety committee, members can take turns doing a monthly walk through.  Don’t wait until it’s too late.  


AP: Too quiet on the set; filming accidents often go untold – It’s always interesting to see how groups that share an interest always want to keep things quiet and operate in their own vacuum.  Making movies with lots of stunts and under intolerable conditions, accidents are going to happen but the movie industry is not above health and safety laws and people should no longer keep quiet about safety.  The movie company that produced Star Wars-The Force Awakens was fined in the UK for the accident that broke Harrison Ford’s leg.  In Georgia a camera assistant was killed on location on a train trestle because no one bothered to notify the railroad or check the train schedule.  Don’t let anyone ever tell you to keep quiet about safety or to look the other way.  There is no code to protect except life.

NJ Cleaning Products Manufacturer Exposed Workers To Chem. Hazards – A chemical company that has improperly labeled drums of chemicals being moved by untrained forklift drivers.  What could go wrong?  Luckily an employee realized that and complained to OSHA and during the investigation, the agency found the company: failed to properly label hazardous chemicals; lacked forklift training and maintenance; exposed employees to electrical hazards; lacked guardrails on an open-sided platform six feet above ground level; failed to implement a lock out/tag out system to prevent inadvertent machine start-up and provide employee training; didn’t develop and implement a respiratory protection program, including medical evaluation and employee training for employees required to use respirators; and failed to address exposure to confined space.  Sounds like one big accident waiting to happen.  You have the right to know what chemicals you are working with, the PPE required for safe handling, the effects it can have on you and how to respond to a spill.  Talk about FIRE!

This gem is from a friend, Kyle Thill of Toyota and if you’re in any industry that uses forklifts or other industrial powered vehicles you should be following him on twitter – @ToyotaEquipment   Is Bulldozing a Violation of OSHA Federal Law?   This is great info so you can stop this practice in your facility.  It’s something I never allowed as all to often something gets damaged and even more often it becomes a competition and then someone get hurt.  

That’s all for now folks.  Keeping a workplace safe is not an easy task, but when you get the message out there and hold people accountable it’ll become word.  Listen to your employees, don’t be afraid to make change for the better as long as it’s not for the sake of change.  Never keep quiet about safety for the life you save may be your own.  As you prepare for the upcoming holidays please also don’t forget to take safety home as your home can easily become a house of horrors.







Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s