This month Witzshared is featuring a guest blogger, Amanda from Shop Floor Automation. If you scroll down you will find it right after this one! Enjoy
Welcome back. Hope your Thanksgiving holiday was magnificent
After 65 years of observation and information gathering while enjoying my ride on this beautiful world I have come to the conclusion that most of the problems we have are man made. I don’t mean man in the sense of mankind, but the gender, male. For over thousands of years, man has assumed the leadership roll apparently due to a dangling digit and have been making life decisions for everyone since then and as we’ve all seen they’ve done a pretty poor job. Yea, I know, men were the hunters and had to deal with the dangers of mastodons and other wild animals but who do you think took care of cave security while the men were out on the town?
Even after women demonstrated they had the abilities to lead countries and great armies, like Cleopatra, Queen Elizabeth I, Katherine the Great and Queen Daenerys Targaryen, (just wanted to see if you’re paying attention) man still kept power close to the vest and wouldn’t give women the credit they deserved and kept them from owning property, from voting and from being in a bar unescorted. Then WWII came along and women stepped up and did a hell of a lot more then USO shows and handing out cups of hot joe and donuts. They once again demonstrated their abilities by keeping the factories churning out munitions, tanks and planes. They filled in as bus drivers, messengers, welders and pilots. Then after a day at the factory they had to make due with rationed supplies of everyday food items. The war ended and man expected everything to return to as it was but women wouldn’t forget about their taste of freedom. The embers continued to smolder until the late 60’s and early 1970’s women burned their bras and demanded to be equal and why not?
We’ve been taught that one of the rallying cries at the beginning of American’s revolution was “taxation without representation”. We dumped tea over it and then fought a war. Women now account for 51% of the population and yet they are represented in the house and senate by only 19% women. That’s “sexation without representation”, another good reason for a revolution.
Two of the best bosses I’ve ever had during my career were both women. They were nurturing, understanding, communicated clearly, gave clear goals and the tools needed to achieve them and never micromanaged or blindsided me with bull crap. They allowed me to grow and develop with their input, unthreatening approach and evaluations. In all those years working with them not once, was I inappropriately touched, offered a promotion for sexual favors or saw them in a towel let alone invited to their home alone. They never made comments about how I looked in jeans or how my hair smelt, they never once expressed how they wanted to pound the guy on the forklift, they never wondered out loud how a worker would be in bed or if they wore boxers or briefs. They respected me for me and what I could do for the company, not what favor I could do for them because they understood if I succeeded it made them look good. I can’t say the same for most of my male bosses since they would usually get tangled in their egos or too busy marking their territory to listen and usually sizing me up not as a potential collaborator as my female bosses did but as potential competition.
I’ve had some good man bosses but I can’t tell you how many times male supervisors or managers felt the need to discuss their hypothetical situations that involved women whether they be employees, vendors, delivery drivers or neighbors. At one company, it was within days of working there I was told all kinds of rumors from several sources about one specific manager who was taking advantage of female workers. Everyone knew about it but little was being done to stop it, just like in Hollywood, because he had power and was getting the job done and making money for the company, even though he was a pig and managed with intimidation, back stabbing and lying. The company dragged their heels on doing something even with the few complaints filed for his behavior, his off color jokes, his use of words that always reflected evil and hate. Finally a manager from another department had had enough and waited for the right time and purposely barged into his office to find him in a compromising situation. However, we were shocked, as true to their form the company terminated her but only reprimanded him, since for some reason they deemed this dirtbag necessary to keep the company going, which he wasn’t. Then the dam broke and the internal uproar finally came as other folks in management positions in the company, workers and the union complained and threatened strikes and bad publicity. The company finally had to do the right thing, terminated him and brought her back.
Later on in my career another man boss of mine would enjoy his morning cup of coffee in my office soon after the end of each quarter because he loved to brag about how his wife didn’t know he was getting bonuses and how he kept it in a secret account. Not only did he not want to share it with her, but his bonuses were also a result of the work my staff and I were getting done and he never once bought us lunch or said thanks, but constantly micromanaged. I don’t understand people who brag about being assholes but then he probably thought I was being one when I asked his wife at the company Christmas Party if they were going to travel with the bonus money.
I have been a very lucky person and have had some great experiences along with the bad ones over my life but my best friend has always been there to get me through them. She also happens to be my partner and wife. We’ve been together for 45 years and married for 41. We compliment each other very well so if she sees the glass half empty and I see it as half full we smile since we know we have a full glass between us. Even when we’ve disagreed or had a heated argument we’ve always respected each other and never stopped loving. Through her I’ve learned to look at things from all sides before judging. When something bothers her to the point it’s the size of a boulder (I love this analogy) but could mean very little to me like a pebble, it would be easy for me to dismiss her feelings. That would not work well and kill any further communication and my relationship. So instead I’ve learned to look at it as an obstacle (of various size and shape) and listen, allowing her to express her feelings and concerns and vent, then we can discuss and move on to the appropriate level of fear, concern or paranoia or if it’s part of the overall un-named conspiracy.
There is a funny scene from the movie “No Time for Sergeants” when Pvt. Will Stockdale (Andy Griffith) sees a female officer for the first time and Pvt. Whitledge (Nick Adams) tells him you don’t worry if it’s a woman, you just see a captain. Maybe that is something we can all try. No matter who you work with just respect them for who they are because the packaging on the outside is not as important or valuable as what’s inside. So be it man or woman, black or white, straight or lgbtq, atheist or Islamic, they are all people, unique individuals eking out an existence just like you and me.
But, if you do see something at the workplace, safety hazard, sexual harassment or bullying, don’t keep quiet because its not boys being boys, it’s much more serious then that. NEVER keep quiet and say something! Unfortunately however there are still companies that just don’t respect anything.
Like at this Wisconsin company hit with $1.8 million fine for ‘egregious’ blast that killed five. I don’t understand why no one in charge is facing some serious prison time since there were 14 Willful violations found and as we know willful means the company braintrust knew how they were doing things was dangerous and could get someone killed but they couldn’t care less and now FIVE men are dead and leaving one young man, 21, with the loss of both his legs. Sounds like manslaughter to me. What disgusts me most is that 8 of the willful violations were repeat. So they not only knew it was dangerous but were told to fix it and still didn’t bother. Dust accumulation is not like the dust bunnies under your bed. When there is enough particles in the air within a confined space, all it takes is a little spark. Gunpowder is a great example. A small pile of gunpowder in an open field when lit will only burn and smoke, it doesn’t explode but when you take that gunpowder and cram a space with it like a shell casing or a fire cracker when it’s lit, BOOM! Dust explosions was also a risk at sugar refineries and that’s why they take special precautions to make sure there is not threat of an explosion. You should also be wearing dusk masks and eye protection within that environment as well.
Dad’s death highlights gap between how OSHA polices government vs. private sector. I find this very upsetting and don’t understand why we can’t have universal safety program across the board. Not so we can fine these companies and tell them how bad they are but to also educate companies about safety and review accidents so we can learn from them and do a better job of prevention. When Tom Wooten a 56 year old was trapped between a tractor and the trailer and killed working for the Highway Department, instead of being investigated by OSHA the accident was looked into by the State Department of Labor who only visited the site and closed the case because municipalities don’t have to have OSHA come in. What makes this stupid, is the fact that the state doesn’t seem to want to make safety a priority for their employees. Wouldn’t you want to know how to prevent an accident from occurring again? I know I would and most intelligent folks do.
Now for something new – This month Witzshared is featuring a guest blog from the cool folks at Shop Floor Automation.
Twitter Account @SFA_inc
Shop Floor Automations, Inc.
Byline: Amanda Rosenblatt, Marketing Coordinator at Shop Floor Automations
Safety, Productivity & Automation Go Hand-in-Hand
Our priorities in manufacturing often come down to money. Profits are important. ROI is crucial. Reducing downtime also helps to cut down on wasted raw material. But what about the safety of our employees?
The sad fact is that there are some employees who won’t make it home for the holidays this year, or will be having a rough holiday season, because of work place accidents that could have been avoided. It’s not something we like to think about, but it’s a harsh reality.
The manufacturing field is suffering from a skills gap, which is why protecting our skilled workers is of the utmost importance. We can also use automation to help fill in productivity holes while new employees with crucial skills come down the workforce pipeline.
When we mention automation, we don’t mean putting robots on the shop floor to replace anyone’s job. There are easy-to-use hardware and software solutions that can be implemented to help address certain safety issues on the shop floor.
We have handpicked some of OSHA’s Top Workplace Safety Violations from 2017 and suggest 3 automation solutions to help with these issues:
Height: Ladders were the Number 6 OSHA issue in 2017 with 2200+ citations, as well as the related issues of fall protection training (Number 9, 1500+ citations) and fall protection general requirements (Number 1, 6000+ citations).
Solution: One big reason employees may be getting up into high spots in an unsafe manner is due to cabling. It is likely a tangled mess, with an example being this photo we took from a customer visit. Not only is the fall from the height a problem, but what about the dust, dirt, contaminants, and animals that could potentially be hiding in here? Replacing all this cabling with a wireless program transfer system is one solution to help keep employees on the ground.
Lockout/Tagout: OSHA reported 2800+ citations pertaining to improper lockout/tagout procedures, making it their Number 5 issue in 2017. When a machine is turned on while undergoing maintenance, it can lead to horrible accidents on the shop floor, including death.
Solution: With machine monitoring software implemented along with shop floor monitors, an operator can input a universal note stating a particular machine is to be left undisturbed. This note can be updated in real-time and is available across the whole shop floor, which helps not only with safety, but with machine utilization. This means other operators can find another machine to move a job to until further notice or update the customer on changes in order status.
Electrical Wiring Methods: OSHA stated electrical wiring methods was their Number 10 issue in 2017 at 1400+ violations. This covers a wide range of issues, so consulting with an expert is your best chance at avoiding an electricity-related accident.
Solution: Have a manufacturing integrator evaluate how your machines are connected. A properly trained technician will be able to correctly configure surge-suppressed hardware, for example. These experts can often help you save more energy while pointing out potential hazards you may have overlooked. They can also provide you with cables that are properly shielded and can stand up to caustic environments.
About SFA: Shop Floor Automations is a manufacturing integrator based in San Diego established in 1998. We service all of the USA plus parts of Mexico and Canada. We are on social media on Twitter @SFA_inc, as well as on Facebook, YouTube, & Instagram under our company name. Call for more info at (877) 611-5825 or Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for taking time out of your busy day to stop by and check us out. As you prepare for the holidays, it’ll be busy and hectic so please don’t drive distracted or with a buzz. You want to get to and from Grandma’s house.
Never keep quiet about safety for the life you safe may be your own. Until the next issue.