Companies Behaving Badly-Dust in the Wind

bill_and_teddustwind

Welcome back.

Life. It’s such a precious commodity.  Each one of us is an original work of art and like snowflakes no two of us are alike (with the exception of twins (triplets and so on).  We each have our own unique personality, developed deep in the gray matter, our brain which is really who we are.  What ever vessel that brain is put into, a white, brown, yellow or green one, hopefully we contribute to making this world a better place for EVERYONE!

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However, we still are our own worst enemies.  No matter the amount of training, hours of instruction, years of experience and the little voice in the back of your head that you still ignore, you go out of your way to touch that third rail.  Just this once, really, just once.  It’s close to break.  Then as if that’s not enough of a reason as to why we’re our own enemy, there are still workers to listen to their terrible bosses who don’t care about their safety and accept putting themselves in harms way.  Some just do it, cause the boss said so.  Some are threatened with termination or being outted to ICE.

A boss can’t threaten you, it is illegal and they can’t force you to commit an unsafe act.  I’ve told a supervisor no, when asked to raise a worker standing on a wooden pallet using a forklift.  I knew it was wrong and so did he.  He did realize he was wrong as well, after I mentioned it wasn’t a good example for him to set.  Sometimes it works.  I know, you have a family to feed, you have bills to pay.  I understand, I’ve been there.  You can speak to your HR department or you can make an anonymous call to the OSHA Hotline – 1-800-321-6742(OSHA)   It’s your decision but may I ask?  Who will take care of your family if you are killed on the job?  Do you think the company will say you were a company man, he went out on the roof without his fall protection gear like a real man or will they throw you under the buss and say you didn’t follow the safety rules.  

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Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We won’t go into what makes people do some of the bad things they do like cutting corners on safety, (GREED) or not having proper PPE available or even not giving any training or instruction.  Companies headed by people like that will not think twice about putting a worker in danger for the sake of a few dollars more in their pocket.  This makes no sense and I’m sure if presented to Mr. Spock he would say it’s illogical, why?  After spending all that time and money on interviewing, selection and hiring, training, developing and promotions why would you put them out like a lamb to the slaughter? Well yes, a company behaving badly wouldn’t bother with the cost of training or a proper safety program.

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Speaking of those who sell their soul for a few pieces of silver.  Don’t tell anyone about the fire risks: Safety consultant hired to inspect Grenfell Tower urged council to hide failings – and he’s an ex-firefighter  Yes, that right.  A former firefighter and current safety consultant, advised his clients to hide the truth.  I know the truth has been a very inconvenient reality to some of late with so many alternate ones to deal with.  If you want to know the name of and what a scumbag looks like you can click on the story. He had the opportunity to do the right thing but chose not too and gave other advisors and consultants a black eye in the process.  You owe it to your client and the humans you’ll never meet to do the best job you can so they can enjoy their journeys.  Life is precious but apparently not all treasure the commodity.  It would be nice if the 80 souls lost in that horrible fire would visit him for one long night.  Remember, your actions do have consequences.  Can you live with them?

So is it a culture thing?  TECO accounts for nearly half of Florida power plant deaths, data shows  This company is not on the level of above but it is apparent that they do not have a good safety program in place and are not covering the basics.  When you look at all the power plants in the state and you are one worker death shy of half of them, you have a problem and usually it’s that a safety culture is not being supported by upper management, which means they need to be replaced.  Even two power plant safety experts said that 9 deaths in 20 years is unusual.  The company in their defense offered this time tested alternate truth in a statement, “Safety is the No. 1 priority at Tampa Electric.”  

Yes Virginia, dust can explode and kill.  In fact dust can kill two ways, the lingering death of lung disease from 20 years of breathing at work or the quick death of an explosion. The Next Phase In Industrial Dust Explosion Protection  When dust is allowed to accumulate around the work area or heavy in the air a tiny spark can blow you across the room and that’s why better ways of removing dust and reducing the exploding hazard is always appreciated and much needed.  

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Why training remains critical to safety.  When dealing with confined space there is very little room for error and why it is so important to have been properly trained, use retrieval systems and have constant open lines of communication.  During this month, 3 men died in Saipan when they were over come by toxic fumes.  When the first man passed out, it was human nature to aid a friend and he jumped in and was overcome.  The same happened to the third man.  3 deaths in manhole could have been avoided.  It’s natural to jump in to help but what are you jumping into?  The same with someone being electrocuted.  Your natural instinct is to pull them off the live wire, but that is not the way to go.  You need a non-conductive pole to pull them off to protect yourself and save them.  If they had the proper training and equipment they would have known this.  But what’s so eerie is back in January of this year, 3 men died in a very similar fashion in South Florida.  OSHA: Safety Failures Led To Workers’ Death In Key Largo Manhole  The company was hit with a proposed fine of $119,507, for three lives, after 10 serious violations were found.  Six lives lost because no one bothered to check.  People, wake up, please think before you react but if you know how, you can react better.  You can go the the OSHA website and find out what to expect when working in a confined space situation.  Learn for yourself how to stay alive.

The United State Post Office continues to have no problem putting their employees in harms way.  They forced them to drive forklifts that should have been out of service, they expose them to exposed wires and blocked emergency exits, the wouldn’t even allow them to call 9-1-1 directly when a medical emergency arose, and a man died due to this. Now they forced them to work in extreme high temperatures.  Richmond post office workers walk off job after working without AC  Employees working in the sorting and loading area where working under a heat index of over 100, (The Heat Index is a measure of how hot it really feels when relative humidity is factored in with the actual air temperature.)  To bad their union has remained deaf, dumb and blind.

I have no problem when it comes to awarding contracts for Federal, state, local municipalities that the companies safety record come into play.  After all, don’t we want the best working on public places?  Here’s one reason why.   Oregon hired a company to paint the Ross Island Bridge without knowing its safety record. Then a worker fell.

Well I think that’s it for this issue folks.  The good news in all this is that bad bosses and bad owners that don’t care about you are only 20% that create 80% of the problems and we know that thanks to Pareto’s principle.  You can take charge of your safety as well.  Read and Learn as much as you can and don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Has an atmosphere test been taken?   Is the ventilations system working?  Watch how an old timer works, what does he do?  Find a mentor or be one.  Join the safety committee and be an advocate.  Thee is so much you can do but most of all, be kind to one another, be ethical in your dealings and always be truthful.  Never keep quiet about safety for the life you save may be your own.  Until next month.

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