Secrets of the Professionals Revealed That You Can Use at Home – 2

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Last issue we learned how the professionals keep their facilities free of vermin and how you can implement the same practices in your own home.  Do you wonder how the large food companies keep their facilities so clean and spotless to ensure you get the highest quality product?  I don’t know about you but I don’t always remember how long ago I cleaned behind the fridge, or how often I clean the range hood grills.  Was it last month?Last year?  The professionals use a fabulous tool to track cleaning that you can as well to make sure all is done on a regular basis and it’s called a “sanitation schedule”

Sanitation Schedule

Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like.  It’s a cleaning schedule that is posted in a convenient location where everyone can see it.  It lists every component, every apparatus, every location that food touches and every other nook and cranny from receiving to production to packaging to the warehouse and finally shipping.  Also on the schedule along with each item listed is when it should be cleaned, who’s responsible to make it happen and when it did happen.  This ensures a uniform and continuous cleaning program that you can also schedule high traffic and critical areas for more intense cleaning. 

You can do the same thing for your home.  Great areas to begin with would be the kitchen and bathrooms.  So what do we need to clean?  Use a critical eye and look around the kitchen and break it down.  Don’t forget any surfaces.  As an example, I have behind the refrigerator scheduled as a annual chore and then for the stove vent hood, it’s done along with the grease traps and vents every other week May – Sept and then up to once a week Oct – Jan when we do more cooking and entertaining.  How about inside the refrigerator?  The door shelves, the produce storage bins, the ice bin.  All items you may miss but with your sanitation schedule you are confident they’re clean and fully operational.  Don’t forget the pantry and other cabinets as well that you use to store food items.  When you’re cleaning them also keep an eye out for signs of infestation like mouse droppings and that food is properly sealed so it won’t entice unwanted visitors.   

Get the kids involved too by allowing them to make a  cleaning schedule for their own rooms as well as other cleaning chores you may assign them.  This is also the perfect time of year to get this started and a great habit to develop.  So get your sanitation schedule together, (please feel free to change and tailor the name to suit your needs) and then you can run your household just like a professional.

Want to learn more?  It’s easy.  You can begin by subscribing to this blog or you can also research it or google it.  Try the term HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) to get you started.  Remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question.

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Companies Behaving Badly-Nice Guy

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Welcome back for another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.  Is Spring being bashful where you live?  Maybe if we treated the environment better, Spring wouldn’t be so self conscience and step out sooner.  

Of the blogs I enjoy reading, the latest edition of the PPM Blog – Practical Practice Management written by Tina Del Buono, When Being The Nice Guy Backfires”  hit a chord for me since it pertains just as well to safety on the job.  As Tina says, “Most managers want to have good relationships with their staff and go the extra mile for them by being the “nice guy”.  But not always does being a “nice guy” pay off, in fact, it can hurt your career.”  This couldn’t be closer to the truth and in a distribution center or manufacturing plant being a nice guy can wind up getting an employee injured or worse and you under the spotlight of investigation and wind up in court, as a defendant, being sued for failing to enforce safety rules.

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Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Seriously.  More cities are taking a tougher stance on safety and actually prosecuting supervisors, managers and owners.  If you think for one minute that your company won’t throw you under the bus if a worker gets injured because you wanted to be a nice guy and said, oh you forgot your safety googles, that’s o.k., get them later or it’s close to break, forget about LOTO so you can go on time, that doesn’t look like bad jam.  Every day you’ll be tested, I forgot my earplugs, I forgot my LOTO locks, I forgot my brain and every day you have to enforce the rules, uniformly and consistently.  The first time you back down to be a “nice guy” and make an excuse to justify your actions, you’ve lost ALL credibility.  Chances are that allowing someone to not wear their safety glasses won’t lead to an injury but when the other employees see this, what do you think they’re going to expect?  You tell the employee sorry they forgot their safety glasses but they can’t go to their workstation without them.  I always kept a few extra pair in my desk and just handed it to them with a reminder that all PPE is necessary, no excuses under my watch.

There was a warehouse manager who poorly scheduled and didn’t properly utilize staff so there was a lot of dead time in the morning and because he wanted to be a “nice guy” he didn’t make them sweep or clean but allowed horseplay to help the employees pass the time.  One of their favorite games was racing forklifts across the warehouse, straight down aisles with assorted obstacles.  One day, during a race the brakes failed on one of the forklifts and the young driver’s reflex was to instinctively put his leg out to help stop the forklift.  The forklift stopped but his right foot was wedged between the lift and a steel beam supporting the roof. 

ER This young man wound up losing half his foot and even after several surgeries and a long stint of rehab he was never going to work in a warehouse again and this plunged him into deep depression and despair even when the state retrained him for another career but he ultimately survived.  The manager was terminated for being a “nice guy” and had to live with the guilt of what happened in the warehouse for the rest of his life.  Soon after the dust settled I was asked to move from customer service to take over the warehouse.  That doesn’t mean nice guys always finish last.  You can be a “nice guy” in so many other ways by treating workers with respect, listening to their concerns and saying thank you for a job well done.  Buy them lunch for no reason at all, approve that day off they requested and please recognize their accomplishments.  

Whether you’re a nice guy or not, unfortunately DANGER lurks in every workplace and knowing and understanding them gives you an edge.  The fishing industry wants to make sure their workers know, Workplace safety campaign addresses commercial fishing risks.  If you are not getting any kind of training on job hazards, first think is this a company that appreciates me and do I want to work here?  Then go online and research the hazards specific for your job or read blogs like this one and learn about them and then discuss them with fellow workers, your shop steward, human resources.  The more people you get involved in safety the better for all of you.  

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Like drilling it down makes it better for all as emergency responders train to hone farm rescue techniques https://buff.ly/2qEI4hW.  It makes perfect sense in a community that has lots of family farms to be prepared to handle any emergency that may occur there.  As in a community that has lots of trains passing through, their local first responders would do better to have drills on derailments.  In your facility the same holds true.  If you work with chemicals then you should receive training on how to handle a spill or other type of release of chemicals as well as for fires, evacuations and other emergencies that may possibly arise.  Again, if you’re not getting this training then it may be time to find another job.

Nice guy or not, if you’re dumb enough to put someone in charge who doesn’t understand the dangers of the job, proper PPE to be used or knows the regulations then you’re not only an idiot in my book but still at fault per OSHA.  Ignorance of OSHA standards no defense for worker’s death.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit Court upheld OSHA’s decision to issue a willful citation in the case of a worker’s deadly fall, even though the employer claims the foreman in charge was ignorant of safety requirements that could have prevented the incident, according to a summary written by the law firm of Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP for JD Supra.”  So either in my opinion, we believe the employer is actually that stupid a business person to actually put someone in charge that was ignorant of safety requirements or the employer is lying thinking they would go easy on the fine if he said the foreperson was ignorant of the rules.  Never operate any machinery or perform any job without understanding the dangers and have been trained to properly operate.  The truth is out there, somewhere, but not here.  

Yes, accidents happen, you just never know when, that’s why they’re called accidents and not planned.  However, you can minimize accidents by understanding what you are working with and how to prevent the many different ways it can go sideways, but if it does, how to deal with it so you can walk away.  Knowledge is power and never let anyone tell you otherwise, even if they’re just trying to be a nice guy.  Never keep quiet about safety for the life you save may be your own.  Until next month.

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Companies Behaving Badly-Training

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Welcome back and thanks for stopping by.  Hope your April Fools Day wasn’t too brutal.

There is no doubt in my mind that TRAINING is the most important aspect of any safety program.  Having employees who know what to do and how to do it without losing fingers, limbs or their lives makes for a fabulously productive shift.  However training is not a one time deal but a continuous process, assembling the many layers over time such as first day safety orientation, monthly safety meetings, weekly tailgate/toolbox meetings, daily huddles, emergency drills, PPE, LOTO, operating different or new machinery, forklift certification and refreshers.  The more opportunities to have open discussion on safety along with input from everyone involved makes it all the better.

To be successful at training, means you got the point you wanted to make across to the group while being focused and with a little entertaining in your message that is geared to your audience.  When you tell your fable of safety to the group and end with the moral of the story  you want to sound real, you want to sound credible so use situations that have occurred on other shifts or as sister plants or in trade magazines.  When speaking to a group of young new workers you don’t want to sound like a lecturing dad, they’ll just tune you out and they’ll never hear the message.  It helps to get them involved in the training.  What’s their experience with this piece of machinery.  What are their concerns and how would they handle an emergency shut off or LOTO on the packaging machine you’re featuring in this weeks tailgate/toolbox meeting.  Also use hand outs, videos and demonstrations to help your presentation.

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It does take work to ensure all the training.  When I had 64 employees working at 10 different stations on a shift, to get the weekly toolbox/tailgate completed you need to stagger the meeting.  Went to the first station and spoke with the 5 workers there about the topic and got feed back, then continued down the hall to the next station and spoke with the 7 workers there and continued through out the shift until I had made contact with all.  If there were no fires to put out that shift I might get to all 64 but sometimes it takes two days to get it done.  To accomplish a monthly safety meeting I’d split the shift in half to keep production going, limited but at least not stopped and do one group early in the shift and the second half after first breaks.  There are always ways to get it done, don’t be afraid to be creative.  Even though these meetings are critical you can’t help but take some time away from production and that’s where some companies go crazy.

Thirty minutes for a safety meeting!? Did you guys have a party last night?  Those are just a few of the comments I would get but didn’t care since wasn’t about to discourage people from asking questions or interrupting them while they discuss a serious safety concern.  But this too is solvable by making friends with the head production scheduler.  We sat down and had coffee and learned about each others goals and for those days he could give us light nights I would get safety meetings done and still make our daily production goals.  Win, win.

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However, there are still those companies that believe spending money on training is a waste.  Like our friends at, Dollar Tree stores cited again and fined maximum for putting workers at risk This has become an annual event finding the same safety violations occurring again and again and now the state of Washington is fining them $306,000 for willful violations.  Willful means the company knew they were putting workers in danger but didn’t bother to do anything about it.  It’s kind of hard not to block emergency exits or electrical panels when you’re not trained on safety hazards.  It’s hard to work safely with chemicals when your employer doesn’t train you how to properly use chemicals and how to safely and properly clean up a spill.  The problem is not just putting employees in danger but any customer entering the store to do business.  I would think twice if it were me.  Corporate could easily fix this, but then that would require thought, carrying out a plan and spending money which are all things I don’t think this company’s executives are capable of doing.

It’s nice to enjoy your job, that’s fabulous but if you get stoned on the job, what if an emergency arises?  Too Many Cannabis Industry Employees Impaired At Work.  This is a serious problem and a big liability to the owners.  Bar tenders are not allowed to drink on the job and I know a lot of Cannabis clubs forbid smoking by employees on the premises since in the case of an emergency someone needs to be in charge and alert!  Needless to say I’m sure their training covered this and it’s up to the club to enforce the rules or they lose their credibility.  It’s a shame that it’s always a few the ruin it for the rest of us due to their ignorance. 

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The Welsh government understands the importance of refresher safety training and are offering workshops to local farmers so they can avoid being part of the rise in farm related accidents.  Farmers urged to kick-start health and safety training.  Nice to see they are not looking for reasons to fine them but working with them so they can continue to be productive and in one piece.  As it should be.

This professor says the workplace is the fifth leading cause of #death in the U.S.  Did you hear that?  5th leading cause.  This professor says the workplace is the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S..  You can spend less time dead.  Know where emergency exits are located, listen for alarms, avoid working with distractions and most of all use all PPE that is available and use common sense.

Mark your calendars it’s Stand Down 2018–Preventing Falls in Construction : Fifth Annual Stand-Down Set for May 7-11  BE PART OF THE SOLUTION

That’s  it for this episode.  If you begin a new job and there is no safety training or use of PPE then it may be time to find another job.  Never keep quiet about safety, for the life you save, may be you own.

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Secrets of the Professionals Revealed That You Can Use at Home.

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Companies spend thousands of dollars each year on sanitation and pest control along with thousands of hours on training of personnel to properly handle those tasks or spend hours screening and evaluating outside contractors.  Either way they want to provide the highest level of quality to ensure the best product produced.  The fabulous news is I’m going to share with you their secrets that you can do in your home. 

The professionals know that when the weather changes for the worse or nearby vacant fields are disturbed by construction or an idle facility comes to life, the displaced vermin will find a new place to call home and raise a family but by following these professional tips they won’t find your home a hospitable place and it all begins with the walk around.

The walk around is critical to maintain any facility.  It’s your way of being proactive, finding what needs to be repaired and getting it done in a timely manner while getting a little exercise.  Walk arounds should be conducted consistently and once a month is an excellent schedule.  Walk the entire perimeter of your home, looking for and making note of the points of entry from the vermin’s point of view.  You are looking for small openings, any small cracks or holes should be noted to be repaired as they don’t need much room to squeeze through.  A mouse can fit through a hole as small as 2 cm/.787 of an inch. while a rat only needs a whole the size of a quarter to gain access to your home.   Also make note of  any vegetation, weeds, shrubs or grass that’s abutted up to the house.   That should be cut back or removed since it’s providing cover for the critters.  Are there large gaps underneath the doors to the outside like the side door of the garage?  Is the area where your trash cans/trash bins are stored free and clear of trash, scraps and clutter and are they sealed properly keeping trash secure from critters?  Take care of repairs right away  as procrastination will set you back and create more problems.

Now you’ll do your walk around inside the home.  Again look for openings around valves and pipes under sinks, the furnace/ac and laundry room.  If they get into the garage and the walls this is how they’ll enter your living areas.  After identifying your problem areas get the needed materials and do the repairs and hole filling immediately.

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To resolve the problem of a large gap under your side doors you can purchase and install a Door Sweep.

 

 

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Trap set by garage side door.

Now, with that accomplished we’re going to add an extra level of protection by setting traps in different areas not just to trap those unwanted guest but also to alert you if the problem is remaining stable or getting out of hand and needs more attention.  I tried different traps and found some more effective then others.  There is one covered trap, to spare you from seeing the dead, that is the worst with a 40-50% kill rate.  The best trap I found that never missed a beat with a 100% kill rate was Ankace Power Rodent Killer.  I have 6 traps set up, one on each side of the garage rollup door, one by garage side door, one on the side of steps leading into the house from the garage, one under the kitchen sink and the last one in the heating/ac closet.   IMG_1818

If the idea of traps bothers you then you can buy bait traps and place those in the same locations as you would the traps and also around the outside of the house.  I have a combination of both around my house.  I also keep non-latex gloves and zip lock bags on hand for those times I have to clear a trap, which by the way hasn’t happened in quite a long time.  If you are doing everything else right you won’t be emptying traps every day and as I said before, the traps are also an alert that something has changed.  Once you have this all in place then set yourself a reminder and check the traps on a regular basis for activity, at least once a week.

The professionals use a master sanitation schedule posted for all to see so they know when, what and how often something needs to be cleaned.  Next time, how you can use that at home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Companies Behaving Badly-Boob Tube

boob tube
ˈbo͞ob ˌt(y)o͞ob/
informal
noun
NORTH AMERICAN
television or a television set.
“librarians are scrambling for ways to compete with the boob tube”

 

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Welcome back.  Hope all is well and thank you for stopping by.  How are those New Year Resolutions going?  Still on track or trackless?  Benjamin Franklin once said, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”  What a wise man he was since he knew even before they were invented, that people would slack off and forget to change the batteries in their smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.  Please don’t forget to check them along with your fire extinguisher.  Give yourself every chance to keep your home and family protected.

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The boob tube was an endearing term for the television.  It was believed, that much like Rock and Roll music, it would rot our brains out.  Considering all the events of late it is quite possible that the fears were well founded.  During an episode of “The Americans”, Nina Sergeevna Krilova is brought to a room and told that due to her actions she was sentenced to death that would be carried out soon.  She drops to her knees in horror and before it all could sink in for her or myself for that matter a soldier pulled out his gun and shot her in the back of the head.  It was sudden, it was brutal.  It left an uneasy feeling.  I felt bad for her and thought what a waste of human life. Did it make me less sensitive to killing?  I don’t think so, but the scene is still haunting me.  However, if I was to watch graphic homicidal acts over and over, day after day I guess I would finally get used to it to the point it becomes the norm.

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Also appearing on the boob tube is a very lovely couple, Chip and Joanna Gaines.  She is a beautiful person with a beautiful spirit and Chip has to be one of the luckiest guys in the world so it’s confusing when he goes out of his way to make Joanna a beautiful widow.  On one episode of their show, Chip, in an enclosed area with a good sized cement saw is determined to cut out a section of the wall.  With only a t-shirt wrapped around his nose and mouth for PPE, sawing enclosed by a cloud of dust filled with silica, brick and cement that you can barely see him, with NO safety glasses, no dust mask, no ear protection.  There was enough dust that a spark may have caused a minor flash.  Chip, true to form made jokes about his experience.  Was I desensitized to safety on a construction site by this?  No, I got angry because there are many, many DIYers watching Chip, laughing along with him, that don’t understand how important PPE is to protecting and keeping you from winding up in the ER or worse.  It’s very hard to stop horseplay on the job when so many DIY shows glorify this childish behavior.

It’s not just Chip.  The Property Brothers, Drew and Jonathan are just as bad, demonstrating bad behavior on a job site and I’m sure the horseplay is to make the shows entertaining instead of a boring production pointing out and demonstrating the proper safety procedures to follow on demolition day.  That’s the problem, it makes horseplay and dangerous behavior look like fun, and it is, until someone gets hurt.  In fact the DIY Network and HGTV don’t see to care what bad behavior their stars portray on the boob tube.  I’ve never once seen a “safety minute” or a disclaimer before the episode, that the behavior is contrary to all safety laws.  The closest that comes to that is the show “First Time Flippers”, where they will insert comments pointing out dangerous behavior but only to make fun of it, not to take it seriously.

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On some shows on the boob tube you’ll see people cut wires, remove fixtures or rip down ceiling fans without checking to make sure electricity or water are turned off.  It’s a funny moment when the person is electrically shocked or sprayed with water.  However there is one person who does not find L.O.T.O. funny or comedic element.  Man loses legs in workplace accident at Alhambra Foundry, company fined nearly $300K  2 workers at the foundry were cleaning and unblocking a 38-feet-long auger screw conveyor at the bottom hopper without effectively de-energizing or locking out the equipment.  One of the workers re-entered the 20-inch square opening after the cleaning was done to retrieve a work light from inside the confined space, when a maintenance worker 45 feet away energized the equipment to perform a test. The moving auger screw pulled the worker into the screw conveyor. Both his legs had to be amputated to free him, regulators said.  The most infuriating part is Cal/OSHA cited the company, Alhambra Foundry, for similar violations eight years ago. They probably thought it funny and would make for good television to hear someone scrambling and screaming in panic and pain.  It was so funny that Cal/OSHA fined them $282,390.  This is why you need a comprehensive Lock Out Tag Out program and ENFORCE it!!  Under a proper program there would be 2 lock outs, one for each person entering the area.  The last man out removes his lock, that way no one can inadvertently turn the machine on.  One other thing, the worker re-entering the hopper was not monitored by a confined space attendant, so no one had a clue he was in there.  Use LOTO and save lives.

Ignoring Safety at the workplace can cost you so much more.  Construction Worker Left Paralyzed Settles For $8.225 Million in Essex   The worker was rendered paraplegic after falling off a scaffold at a construction site.  That must have been knee slapping funny to be over 6 feet in the air without fall protection.  Hey, they get away with it on television.  Jose Criollo, then 46, was employed by Empire Home Improvements when he was working at a job site in Clark on Nov. 15, 2013. Criollo was working on a scaffolding tower when dust and debris from above fell into his eyes, causing him to take a step backward and fall to the ground below.  He was diagnosed with a fractured spine at T12-T13, with a complete spinal cord injury. He underwent emergency surgery and remained hospitalized for more than a month, followed by four months in a rehabilitation facility.  Whether you’re working high up for work or around the home, remember, accidents are not planned but they are created.

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Slapstick comedy with lots of pratfalls is always entertaining especially when a worker falls through a skylight.  Napa area winery appealing fines recommended after Vallejo man’s deadly fall last year.  Daniel Mario Colombo, 56, was working at Sutter’s St. Helena winery in May 2017, making repairs to the cooling system on its roof, when he fell 16 feet through a skylight and died as he wasn’t wearing a safety harness.  During their investigation Cal/OSHA also reportedly found that the steel roofing covering the area where Colombo was working looked too much like the dirty fiberglass panels covering the skylight he fell through.  The accident may have been avoided if guard rails and other safety measures had been in place around the skylight but to make things more entertaining they weren’t and why FALLS continue to be #1 killer on the job.

Thorough training is and will always be key to any successful workplace safety program.  It greatly helps when people know what they are working with and what is expected daily.  There is no room for horseplay on the job, there is only room for professionals carrying out their tasks safely and productively without fear of dying.  If you allow workers to horseplay on the job because they need to let off steam or boys will be boys, however you justify it, will you still feel the same after you are hit with a massive repair bill for a forklift or section of the warehouse or hit with a lawsuit by the widow of an employee killed because you run a day care rather then a business.

When you begin a new job, ask lots of questions.  Do research on the internet about PPE, chemicals, labeling requirements and good practices.  Ask professionals when you get a chance but please don’t blindly follow without any knowledge, for the life you save may be your own.  Until next time, please stay safe.

Always learn from mistakes of the past.  It’s why history is so important. Be sure to begin collecting all Disasters of the World Trading Cards.  Trade disasters with your family and friends, makes for a great dinner time discussion.  After reading a few you’ll wonder how the planet is still even here.

 

A Surefire way to improve your chances of survival – Emergency Kit

Welcome back. I know that this is suppose to be the latest issue of Companies Behaving Badly but I have a serious concern I’d like to discuss with all of you. I’m concerned that not enough of us are prepared and ready. There have been quite a few natural disasters all over the country in the course of last year. Hurricanes, floods, fires, earthquakes, tornadoes not to mention the Man made disasters or near disasters like Oroville Dam in California.  Large cities like NYC have fabulous central commands staffed with well trained people directing other well trained, dedicated folks, ready and able to respond to any emergency. Smaller cities do not have that luxury and even with the heroic efforts of first responders, emergency services can be quickly overwhelmed.
In my town with a population of 121,300 living within 49.5 sq. miles, on any given shift there are only 21 firefighters on duty. That’s 21 to safely handle house fires, car crashes, grass fires and other emergencies.  Throw in an earthquake and now you have 21 firefighters resorting to triage to handle the hundreds of calls that will pour into 911. They can’t count on backup from the other shifts due to the poor conditions of the roads and bridges as many of them live out of town. Mutual aide will not arrive as they’ll be too busy with their own town’s emergencies.
That’s why you need to put an emergency kit together. Make it a family project with each member pitching in. This is also not just for the home but your place of work should also have an emergency kit that everyone knows about. Earthquakes have no clock.  Stock it well and keep an eye on expiration dates. FEMA’s (Federal Emergency Management Agency) website says you should have enough food and water for each person for at least 3 days, however there are some experts like Vickie Lane https://twitter.com/HAZMATPlans who stresses the importance of planning for a longer period of time, one to two weeks, which does not sound like a bad idea especially if you’re in a remote area.
So please.  Don’t just nod your head in agreement. DO IT! If you have questions please don’t hesitate to ask, or reach out to other experts like Vickie in your area or go to the FEMA website.  Oh, and by the way, when was the last time you changed the batteries in your smoke/carbon detector?

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godzillaIt’s a wake up call.  One humungous wet, windy wake up call.  When hurricane Harvey blasted into southwest Texas leaving extensive damage and flooding, the scale of which is all most beyond comprehension.  Then hurricane Irma took the spotlight unleashing her fury on the Caribbean and Florida.  This is very sad and horrible on so many levels of loss and human suffering and now people who decided to ride out the storm in the keys are stranded, cut off from the world without food, water or power.  I’m sure when most of you heard that, you said to yourself, “Really need to put that survival kit together.”  A fabulous thought that will unfortunately fade along with the coverage of the epic catastrophes until it becomes “Texas, Florida a year later” and then again you’ll say, “Really need to put that survival kit together.” and then one day, the dam breaks…

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Companies Behaving Badly – Disadvantage

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Welcome back for another new episode, always appreciate you stopping by for a visit.  Hope your Valentine’s Day was enjoyable or at least tolerable.  It may help to remember the words of the great philosopher Stephen Stills who said,  “And if you can’t be with the one you love, honey Love the one you’re with.”

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One of the most interesting things I find to deal with in life, is people who go out of their way to make it more difficult for someone to succeed.  Whether it’s refusing to share information, spreading vicious rumors or purposely sabotaging a project, they seem to get some kind of sick joy watching the suffering and struggling of others.  If they’re a stranger on the street who can’t be bothered to give you directions that’s one thing but when they’re your boss or the company itself creating the disadvantage that can become quite a ugly situation.

HP Pelzer Systems Automotive Inc. is an example of a company that put their employees at a disadvantage by offering no training, no LOTO procedures which led to the amputation of a finger putting that worker at a further disadvantage.  Max Penalties Proposed For Safety Violations At Georgia Auto Parts Manufacturer.  This was PREVENTABLE by training workers on energy control procedures but the company couldn’t be bothered to do so and now they face a proposed fine of $129,336.  Training would have been much cheaper which would have prevented the amputation which would never have brought OSHA to their facility.  If you begin working at a company and they offer no training at all on safety issues, then find another job, these guys care nothing about you or your well being.

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Perhaps you work on the loading dock.  Moving pallets of products on and off trailers at a rapid pace.  Do you ever wonder what you’re moving?  Is it volatile?  Can it explode?  Another disadvantage to workers is when companies don’t inform you of the dangerous chemicals and solvents you’re moving around the facility or even worse don’t train you how to react if a chemical leak or potential explosion situation does arise.  Never Underestimate the Risk of Explosion in a Freight and Logistics Warehouse .  Again, this is a PREVENTABLE situation by getting the proper training on how to handle a liquid spill on the dock to understanding what the different symbols on the packaging means along with a updated and current SDS.  Can you use water to contain it and do you have to use respirators?  If there is NO training on the handling of chemicals or a SDS you can reference, you are in danger of losing your life and this employer doesn’t care.  It may be time to move on.

One of the most despicable disadvantages handed to workers is when there are laws on the books to protect them from harm and mistreatment but then the laws are not enforced.  Farm safety checks fall by a third.  It is usually found out after someone is severely injured or killed and the public wonders how it happened.  Then the apologies come out, we’re sorry we neglected this but want to assure you all that we are taking this very seriously.   Or my favorite, we need to put tougher laws on the books to prevent such a tragedy from happening again, when they already had laws on the books but didn’t bother to enforce them.  Those are the situations when public officials should be going to jail for ignoring health and safety of the public.

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Like the city of Oakland’s poor leadership.  They have all kinds of fire, health and safety laws on the books but let them all fall through the cracks and did nothing except pass the buck.  CA City Sued for Fire that Killed Four People at Halfway House.  The famous Ghost Ship fire that killed 36 generated lots of finger pointing in Oakland’s city hall but then after all that they continue to dig themselves in a deeper hole as they’re being sued by families of 4 who died in another fire less then four months after Ghost Ship.  Just as PGE who sat idly by and hoped for the best while they had no clue where there dangerous gas lines were that led to the murder of 8 people in a fierce explosion, the city of Oakland is following in their bloody footprints, killing innocent civilians. 

Another disadvantage is when manufacturers create a problem, agree with the public how terrible it is but won’t fix it and now, Lawmakers Seek Safer Packaging For Toxic Laundry Pods.  That’s right, they insisted on making cute little pods with bright colors and full of chemicals making it look like a treat each and every child wants.  There was no need to make them like this but some moron in marketing thought it was a great idea to sell more pods and now we have a serious problem that lawmakers are going to fix.  That alone should be frightening to all.  If less people use the pods and boycott their use they will change it.  The public did it before initiating change by not buying a product and folks, it’s time again.  Don’t buy pods.  Make the manufacturers fix their problem.

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Considering the disadvantages mentioned above it is no wonder that employees believe their employers policies are not aligned with their safety at the workplace.  Workplace Safety: Employee Perceptions, Employer Policies Not Aligned.  The good news is this is PREVENTABLE.   Speak up at work and never keep quiet about safety.  If there is no safety committee at your job, begin one.  Speak with HR and insist that you want to have  safety committee meetings, safety training and drills on proper evacuation in the event of a disaster.  If no one listens to you CALL OSHA.  Make a complaint at 1-800-321-6742 (OSHA).  You have every right to live and be free of dangers.

Our political brain trust got to see first hand how dangerous our railroads are.  Don’t you find it amazing that in a great country like ours a person can’t get on a train without wondering if I’ll die on the way there?  Very sad.  With Amtrak crash, Congress faced a deadly rail danger firsthand.  This is so PREVENTABLE but then no one seems to be in a rush to prevent further deaths.  Has life become that cheap?  Write your congressperson and Senator and tell them, you want safe transportation on the railroads and will accept nothing less.

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Railroad passengers aren’t the only disadvantaged people as now we have the numbers that show almost half of all deaths on the construction site are due to FALLS!  Nearly half of all construction worker deaths are fall-related, database finds.  This is disadvantage is happening because YOU are allowing it to happen.  Since man can’t fly without the benefit of an aircraft and since man is not immortal when you climb out onto a roof or ledge over six feet from the ground you MUST insist on fall protection gear.  Falls are the #1 OHSA violation and killer overall and all construction companies know that OSHA requires fall protection so don’t let them tell you otherwise.  It is against the law for someone to threaten you or your job to do an unsafe act.  Just say NO.

However, one good piece of news is Toyota-lift of Minnesota is giving VETS an advantage.  Forklift Training: Giving Vets A Lift.  They have certified 90 veterans so far and still going for more.  Bravo for your efforts and giving veterans a chance to be productive after their service to our country.

That brings this episode of companies behaving badly to a close.  Remember, you don’t have to be disadvantaged.  Do your research, google topics as needed and never be afraid to speak up.  The life you save may be your own.  Until next month, stay safe.

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