Companies Behaving Badly-Execution of Excuses

“In the military, as in any organization, giving the order might be the easiest part. Execution is the real game.” – Russel Honore

Happy New Year and welcome back to the first episode of 2017.  You know, you can have all the laws in the world on the books, you can have well-written procedures laminated and posted all over the office, you can have a fantastic game plan drawn out and ready for game day but it all means nothing if you can’t EXECUTE it.  We’ve seen this a lot in 2016 especially in our cities, in mass transit and on the job, where laws and rules are clearly spelled out but no one bothers to enforce them or follow up and when things go south, then comes the litany of excuses, WHY!   We didn’t have the budget, we didn’t have the manpower, we didn’t follow up soon enough, we need tougher laws but you don’t hear we didn’t execute our job.  Unfortunately, this trend is going to continue and probably get worse while you Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public will be the collateral damage to all of this. People will continue to die due to poor execution of duties and the excuses will continue to flow.  How much more are you willing to put up with, how many lives before you say enough?  Will it take the death of a loved one? 


I’m sure you’ve all heard about the horrific warehouse fire in Oakland, California that killed 36 and the initial knee jerk reaction was, we need to make new laws but if the current laws, rules, regulations had been executed in the first place, the fire and deaths may never have happened.  Your supervisor sees a worker on the job not wearing their PPE and they give you an excuse as to why not, they forgot, they left it in their locker or the dog ate it, you know the answer is bull shit but you want to be a nice guy, so this time you let it slide.  Well, now the next guy or gal does it and don’t you have to let it slide again or you’re perceived as discriminating, picking and choosing who to protect?  You need to protect them all!!  Then later in the week, month or year when that worker is injured because you wanted to be a nice guy, who do you think is going to get tossed to the wolves by their lawyer?  YOU, Mr. Nice guy.  Now you know why Nice guys finish last.

As you will see in the stories below, without proper execution, people can get hurt and die so keep your employees and customers safe by executing the plan, uniformly enforcing safety procedures, policies, laws, and rules then you don’t have to waste time making up excuses.  


First the bad news.  Workplace Fatalities Up Slightly Last Year – 4,836 human beings died in 2015 in industrial-related accidents.  That’s moms and dads, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters.  Loved ones who were missed this holiday season.  This is the largest number since 2008 as fabricated metal product manufacturing as well as building and grounds cleaning and maintenance deaths jumped up the most.  That’s a clue people, we’re not executing properly!  NEVER KEEP QUIET ABOUT SAFETY.

Families of 2 Oakland warehouse fire victims file 1st lawsuits – So it begins.  The first lawsuits resulting from the Oakland warehouse fire are on the books.  The warehouse owner, as well as the main renter and the city, are on the hook and this is only the beginning.  More lawsuits to follow along with trials, editorials, and a hell of a lot of finger-pointing.  Is it worth all this just to be a nice guy?  Who are you really helping with offering people space to live and work when you have overloaded outlets, overcrowding, poor heating and ventilation, and NO emergency exits?  Sure you feel good about yourself when you see their smiling faces while they paint and sculpt but how do you feel when you see their charred bodies burned beyond recognition?  Still worth it?  Enforce the current laws and stop making excuses as to why you can’t.  There is always a solution if you want to find it.

Rules are in black and white but enforcement of the rules has to have some common sense. Viral video sparks Indiana OSHA investigation – When I interview potential employees, I hire workers who can size up a situation, think for themselves and make adjustments accordingly and not quote why they can’t.  When it comes to safety you want to follow the rules but sometimes that is not enough as some rules are written by people who sit behind a desk all day and have never done the job or task themselves.  You want your workers to have the freedom to do what is required and then some if needed as in this situation.  Instead of thinking this may not be safe enough, the Comcast employee said he was following standard procedure: at least one cone for every ten miles per hour in the speed limit.  Workers like this will get someone else killed by their lack of awareness.  Based on my dealings with Comcast customer service, this incident didn’t surprise me as I find Comcast doesn’t do enough training of their employees and their hiring process needs to be vastly improved to weed out the morons.  If you find yourself in this situation, call your supervisor and tell them what’s going on so the procedures can get fixed before someone dies and leads to lawsuits and bad press.  


WA mining company fined for workplace safety breach – Here is another company that poorly executed and almost killed several workers because of it.  Their excuse was, the company was aware of the need to carry out regular inspections and repairs of the tanks, but they failed to carry it out!  They knew it but didn’t bother to do it, how stupid is that? How long do you think Coach Belichick would put up with a lineman who kept missing his blocking assignments and caused Brady to be injured and out of the game?  People this is easy.  You make a schedule of inspections, you execute that schedule without excuses and on days it gets missed due to unforeseen circumstances you make sure it’s resumed the next day and not forgotten.  Leadership has a big role in this as well.  If you know that management isn’t following up to make sure it’s happening, you won’t rush to do it. 

Ever wonder why it’s so hard to recruit workers for manufacturing?  This may enlighten you.  OSHA cites Wisconsin factory for safety failures after teen worker dies from injuries – A 17-year-old boy, on the job for only 2 weeks died because his idiot employer couldn’t be bothered to train this young man how to execute proper L.O.T.O.  Would you put a soldier on the battlefield without weeks of basic training?  Do you think other 17-year-olds believe this is a great way to make a living?  This young man could have developed into a fantastic employee and who knows what he would have contributed to making the company great but they thought it would be better suited for themselves just to kill him now.  You can’t execute a job without training and you can’t have a career without safety. If you are new to a company and don’t receive any safety training for your job call the OSHA hotline and make an anonymous complaint – 1-800-321-6742.  Your life is more important than your bosses profit margin.

Kerry Inc. Cited After 2 Workers Suffer Severe Injuries At Bread Factory – Another failure to execute proper L.O.T.O and now two workers have amputations.  Well, LOTO can slow down the production line and hey, we can’t have someone waiting for a loaf of bread. When something goes wrong, that is an indication you may need to review your procedures but many bosses are just too lazy to do that.  It’s tough as it means more work, reviewing the job, rewriting procedures, retraining workers and follow up.  Very tough, NOT!  If you don’t care enough to protect your workers maybe you are more suited to be a gravedigger.  How can you mess that up, they’re already dead!

This employee knew it wasn’t right and called OSHA.  Michigan auto supplier tops $400K in fines after state safety inspections – My guess is the issues were brought up to management and they either totally ignored him or just told him to shut up but he did the right thing and called and they found 19 violations!  This company didn’t execute a safety plan just tried to execute workers.  Again, never keep quiet about safety.

If you are not sure about a safety procedure, or you feel you didn’t get the proper training or you want to know what a safety hazard is?  Begin with your union representative and ask, unless you work for the US Postal Service, who’s union has forsaken its workers, in that case, you are SOL.  You can also speak with your supervisor, manager or Human Resources representative.  If your company has a safety committee you can bring issues to their attention and become part of the group.  If your company doesn’t have a safety committee, ask and maybe you can begin one.  However, if you don’t get answers, or you are bullied or threatened into unsafe acts at work then it’s time to put your safety into your own hands and call the OSHA hotline at 1-800-321-6742 (OSHA).  Never keep quiet about safety for the life you save may be your own.



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