Well, it’s official people, it’s fall season, oh and it’s the beginning of autumn as well. As the Governments fiscal year ends, OSHA has published its listing of the top 10 safety violations and yet again, falls are number one. I don’t get it. With all the focus on fall prevention and all the fines handed out, there are still those that believe they can defy the law of gravity for the sake of saving a few minutes if not seconds and put their life at risk. The problem is once you begin a fall and there is nothing attached to you to prevent this, depending on the height of your fall you will have time to watch at least part of your life flash before your eyes before it is suddenly jarred by the hard ground you hit.
Even though you were told at the morning huddle to wear your safety vest while working on the roof and late at the site reminded to anchor your lines to the building you still unhooked yourself cause the line was holding you back from reaching and freeing the air hose that got caught up. Now, without the tether line you can reach and begin to untangle the hose. Unfortunately, your over confidence minimizes the danger and you step wrong, slip and off you go. This is not another scary story but has actually happened to workers who are now just a memory of family and friends. If you die, well I think you just paid the ultimate price for your actions but if you survive, shouldn’t you be charged a stupid tax?
Yes, the company is responsible for providing you with a safe work environment as well as the PPE and tools needed to accomplish that, so then, don’t you owe it to the company to give them a stupid free employee? In the above scenario, your stupidity will cause the company to be fined by OSHA and go through an intense examination of practices, policies, procedures and all the documentation to back that up. The site supervisor will be interrogated and maybe sued or face criminal charges, the companies worker comp premium will increase, your fellow workers who watched your death will get counseling and your widow and children will fight it out in a court of law with your employer as lawyers from both sides go back and forth deciding the monetary value of your life.
But no matter what I say here, or your bosses tell you, or the videos show you, one of you is still going to believe they are immortal and work at a dizzy height without any protection or forethought, cause it’ll only take a second. You survive the ordeal and laugh about all the hype and then laugh at people like me who go on about workplace safety. However if that one time comes up, your number is up and you slip or trip or get carried by a gust of wind at least you won’t hear me say, I told you so, because, you’ll be dead.
So with that all said, the falls continue. OSHA investigating roofer’s fatal fall from building in Ashburn He fell 35 feet. Plenty of time to reflect on the way down and guess what? There was no evidence of any fall protection equipment being used. His employer, STA Enterprises Inc., as you expect had no comment. It looks to me that no one at the site took the responsibility to make sure Mr. Hrdlicka wore and used fall protection gear. Look, we’ve been around this block many, many times. If you’re employer, boss, foreperson or supervisor tells you to repair a roof, you say, sure, no problem but where’s my gear
and continue. Fatal fall from TV tower is deadliest such plunge investigated by feds in 5 years Three men, 23 year old Brachton Barber, 31 year old Marcus Goffena and 35 year old Benito Rodriguez who were employed by Tower Kings II, were replacing a antenna for a local television station when their scaffolding went out from under them plugging all three to the ground. Hopefully the investigation will determine what went wrong but it’s a good reminder that you should inspect everything before using it. The tower, the scaffolding, the anchor points, everything. Don’t assume that someone has done that a head of time for you.
and continue. Danbury man in critical condition after impaling himself on metal rod This guy was very lucky as he was on the roof checking an exhaust fan and well, it was only 10 feet off the ground (OSHA max height is 6 feet before use of fall protection), what could go wrong? Well, the goods news is he was prevented from hitting the ground when he impaled himself on a pole, which I can tell you is not the approved method of fall protection. The lesson here is even with what seems to be a easy task can become dangerous if the correct steps and proper attitude are not taken.
and continue, but the following is a practice that should never be tolerated in any facility, EVER and in fact, there are only two times where I’ve terminated an employee on the spot and in both incidents it was for doing this. OSHA warns about forklift-elevated pallets One time the excuse given to me was that they couldn’t find the cage to use to properly lift an employee, they actually didn’t look very hard and the other time a temporary employee was convinced that being raised on a pallet was a right of passage. No matter who tells you to climb aboard a pallet to be raised, a supervisor or company owner the answer should always be a resounding NO! You can’t be fired for refusing to do an unsafe act.
Lack of training by companies doesn’t help the situation any and a recent survey confirmed this. 17 Percent of Small Business Employees Never Get Workplace Safety Training If you think you’re saving money by not taking the time to do training you are not only kidding yourself but also putting your workers and your customers in danger. Training is the most critical aspect of safety. If employees don’t know what to do in an emergency it can lead to even a larger catastrophe and more injuries and deaths. Just like safety meetings, training is something you can arrange and make time for, if you want too, without creating over time or other issues. You just need to be creative and yes, it’s a little more work, but then, aren’t your employees worth it?
Which brings us to this. 12 Sickened Following Chemical Spill At Mushroom Plant What kinds of chemicals are used in your facility? Are there reactions you should be aware of if chemicals mix? Does you staff know what to do if there is a chemical spill? Those first few minutes of a spill are critical as you try to evacuate and determine what you are dealing with at the same time and without any training, well, you may be as good as dead. In this case all 12 were able to go home after being checked out at the hospital but sometimes in these incidents people aren’t so lucky as deadly vapors are invisible and sometimes odorless. Make sure chemicals are clearly labeled and used in a well ventilated area and that workers are using the proper respirators if needed. Also make sure to check and verify safety equipment like respirators and ventilation is in top working condition and serviced regularly.
Until science can change this, Death is not temporary, it is forever and temporary workers are human beings trying to make a living just like everybody else and should not be treated like tissues. The article below is some fabulous reporting as to what this person experienced, going undercover as a temporary employee. In most cases we don’t treat them with the respect we should. I went undercover in a Toronto factory where temp workers have died. Here’s what I found People should always treat people with respect. You’d be amazed as to what can be accomplished with a little encouragement.
Well folks, that brings this episode of Companies Behaving Badly to an end. Thanks for stopping by and please plan on doing what you can to help eliminate falls at the workplace. This is an epidemic that has gone on for too long and we have the knowledge and technology to prevent it. At least until they can come up with a vaccination to cure stupid. Take care and remember, never keep quiet about safety for the life you save may be your own.