A Train Point of View

 

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The RER C train that takes you out to Versailles from Paris (route in the grey box above) can be transferred to from the Invalides metro station after a walk, an escalator, moving walkway and steps.  It’s a real treat to go from subway cars to a double-decker train for the eleven stop ride that started out full of passengers.  A third was either going to work at their suburban jobs or returning home.   The rest onboard headed to Versailles were occupied with maps of the Chateau and grounds of Versailles arguing over their plan of attack, and others were busy deciphering the directions to their guided tour meeting place.  The sounds of children laughing and playing while their attending adults voices floated, filling the air with French, English, Spanish and German tones that were all suddenly drowned out by the sounds of a one-man-band as he passed through each car collecting donations for his performance and who earlier I thought was just a kind Parisian making sure everyone knew which was the correct train to Versailles back at Invalides but he was only making sure his audience would be in the right place.  

Barely anyone was looking out the large windows, not paying attention and missing the ever-changing snippets of French life as they passed by but the train didn’t miss them, the train sees it all.  It watches daily as it goes back and forth along these same tracks, watching the scenery change as new construction slowly takes form.  Oh, what sights must it see?

Photos from the train’s point of view, coming out of the tunnel.

 

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Viroflay Rive Gauche

 

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Issy-Val de Seine

 

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Paris – 16th arr.

 

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Paris – 15th arr.

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and then back underground.

Companies Behaving Badly-Negligent

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Welcome back and thank you for stopping by.  In most companies, you as an employee are held accountable for your actions at work, whether it’s following safety rules, operational procedures, meeting daily production goals or how you respond to others.  You understand that repeatedly violating those “rules”, will be documented by your employer until enough is enough and you are terminated from the company.  However, when an organization doesn’t bother to follow the rules and is poorly run to the point where it puts employees and customers in danger, why isn’t the leadership held as accountable?  The corporation is the one who pays the fines not the individuals.

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So what do you do if you have the misfortune to work for one of those companies that behave badly like Dollar Stores or the US Postal Service, (both have been in the news a lot this year for doing everything possible to try and kill their workers)?  As I see it, you have three choices.  You can quit and find another job some where else, but that’s always easier said then done and the grass isn’t always greener.  You can make an anonymous call to the OSHA Hotline, 1-800-321-6742 and report it however it may close the plant for awhile during the investigation.  Or you can stay, take your chances, and possibly die on the job.  In that case, also make sure your life insurance is paid up.  I would usually say, go to your union representative but the union at the US Postal Service has become deaf, dumb and blind and have continued to allow their rank and file to be exposed to hazards on a daily bases while they try and do their jobs.

If you do stay and try to become part of the solution even though there is no union to go to, I wish you all the best.  It’ll be tough, long road especially if no one in management cares and Human Resources gives only lip service.  Expect to be harassed, threatened and abused verbally.  Document everything, dates, times, situations, safety issues, results, complaints, anything pertinent.  Try to get as many other workers involved as possible so you can also watch each others back. Stay strong.  You’ll know when the time is right to go to the local newspaper, local radio and lawyers to help you obtain that safe workplace you deserve.  Never keep quiet about safety.

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When I read that a US Postal facility didn’t have working fire extinguishers, Investigating grease fire at maintenance facility, OSHA finds US Postal facility failed to maintain working fire extinguisher I wondered is this management neglect or stupidity?  No one in management there had the brains to check that in a maintenance area, if the fire extinguishers worked?  Sounds to me, the individual responsible for the facility is not capable of doing their job and has no problem putting employees in danger.  So you know, you should have your fire extinguishers checked annually and there are plenty of reliable companies out there that can do this and recharge them as needed.  At home you should check your fire extinguishers along with changing your smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries with the time change on November 6th.  Don’t think for one minute that the USPS doesn’t have the money to take care of their extinguishers as they have become a cash cow for many companies feeding off their carcass.  Last year the USPS paid Federal Express over a billion dollars to fly their mail as well as giving lucrative contracts of hundreds of thousands of dollars to consultants and advisors which doesn’t appear to be working at all as poor service and incompetence continues to rule not to mention the poor safety conditions like un-usable fire extinguishers, forklifts being used that are in need of repair and unsafe, blocking emergency exits and evacuation routes.  Someone is being taken for a ride and it’s USPS.

Another corporation that has repeatedly demonstrated its lack of concern for it’s employees is Dollar General stores, Dollar General in trouble with OSHA, faces $156,772 for safety issues at Ohio store.  All most monthly, another Dollar store is found to be full of hazards like blocked exits, blocked electrical panels, improper storage of chemicals and little if any training.  The brain trust at Dollar could have easily ended this problem by communicating to store managers the importance of safety policies and procedures and then follow up with a surprise inspections and terminate a few managers but an executive at Dollar must have figured out that it is cheaper to just pay the fines, if and when found, then to spend the money to train and inform all the store managers on proper safety procedures.  This is not a company to begin your career as working here may soon end your life.  It’ll be interesting to see all the finger pointing that’ll occur if an employee or customer is killed due to the companies neglect.

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Then there are the few construction companies that believe men can fly.  You know the repeat offenders who keep putting workers at risk, working at great heights without any fall protection and the industry wonders why they can’t find workers.  Roofer’s first-day injury costs FL contractor $152K OSHA fine.  This contractor tried to kill someone on their first day on the job!!  Without any training or fall protection gear, a worker was carrying a sheet of plywood that became a sail when it caught a gust of wind and sent him over the edge, falling 14 feet only to be broken by a fence that he became partially impaled on.  What a nice first day.  Falls continues to be the number ONE problem in the industry and folks, I’m here to tell you it’s also the easiest problem to fix.  As a worker, just say NO if you are not given proper fall protection gear when working on a roof or over 6 feet off the ground.  If enough say no, the practice of putting people in danger will end.

Then there are the politicians.  Senate delayed train safety rule days before Hoboken accident.  The people we vote for and put into office hoping they have our best interest at heart and not their own and yet delay safety features that could save lives.  There is no excuse for not having the latest in technology available in use.  However, we have allowed our infrastructure to deteriorate to the point where on the road, on a bridge or on a train you can actually be taking your life in your hands.  It’s time someone stands up and says, we need to fix it now, because there may be no more tomorrows.

Workplace safety is a team effort that begins at the top and works all the way down to the shop floor.  Even if your company doesn’t take safety seriously, you can always control what happens in your little part of the world.  Google workplace safety and read as much as you can on your industry.  Read blogs like this on safety and learn all you can.  Go to the OSHA.gov website.  Talk to your fellow workers and begin a safety committee and make all the noise about it you can.  Never keep quiet about safety, since the life you save may be your own.

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Companies Behaving Badly-Stand Down

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Hopefully, you already know that May 2 – 6 has been designated as the 3rd. annual National Safety Stand-Down.  OSHA and companion federal agencies will be participating in this important reminder for and education of, construction employers and workers of the serious dangers of falls, which is still the number one killer in the industry.  There is no excuse for this as falls are so easily preventable when the proper equipment and techniques are put into use.  If you work for a roofing or construction company and you have to work more than 6 feet off the ground, you should be trained on how to use fall protection equipment, how to identify fall hazards and issued the PPE and equipment whether your up there for 5 minutes or 8 hours.  Fall protection equipment can come in several different forms.  You could be given a safety vest to wear that is properly tied off to fixed locations that would support you if you were to fall.  It can also come in the form of railings that you can grab to stop from falling or nets to catch you.  Either way, it’s time to say no to working without fall protection.  Stand up for your right to live.  Well, that, unfortunately, sounds like this is another episode of Companies Behaving Badly. 

OSHA fines Bear Creek sauerkraut producer after employee’s fall – PREVENTABLE – GLK Foods LLC will be shelling out a lot of cabbage as an OSHA inspection initiated by an employee 17 foot fall into an empty sauerkraut vat will cost them $143,550 in proposed fines for 1 WILLFUL, 2 REPEAT and 5 SERIOUS safety violations.  The violations included failure to install guard railings to protect employees from falls while working on top of cabbage fermentation vats, develop procedures and implement permit confined space requirements, including testing atmospheric conditions and providing emergency and rescue equipment, install safeguards on moving conveyor parts, keep floor holes covered to prevent slips and falls and use of locking devices to prevent conveyors from accidentally being turned on.  These are conditions you do not have to tolerate.  It’s tough enough concentrating on the task on hand without having to worry about falling through the floor.

OSHA fines IL roofer $58K for fall protection violations – PREVENTABLE – Apex Exteriors Inc. had workers installing shingles on a roof without any fall protection.  If one of those workers happened to have tripped or slipped and fell, they would not have had the opportunity of a second chance because their employer didn’t care enough about their lives to provide the proper safety equipment and that earned them 1 WILLFUL,  1 REPEAT and 1 SERIOUS safety violation and a proposed fine of $57,950.  You can’t be forced to commit an unsafe act at work.  Insist on fall protection and the associated training when working at heights above 6 feet.  If they can’t give you that, you don’t want to work for them since they don’t have your back.

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Finger amputation results in OSHA citations – PREVENTABLE – An employee suffered a partial finger amputation which initiated an inspection by OSHA and low and behold they found 1 WILLFUL and 10 SERIOUS safety violations that came along with a proposed fine of $127,300.  Exide Technologies didn’t care that an operator had to use a machine with unguarded belts, pulleys, and gears which resulted in an amputation when his left hand was pulled in.  Workers were also exposed to electrical and heat hazards as well.  If proper guarding is not in place, don’t operate the machinery.  You can’t concentrate on running equipment when you have to worry about moving parts.

Plumbing contractor cited after ignoring OSHA safety standards  – PREVENTABLE – What could be worse than falling to your death?  How about working in a trench with no escape routes in place and the walls of dirt collapse and engulf you while you slowly suffocate to death.  That’s the situation Stephens Plumbing Inc. put their workers in as they earned 1 WILLFUL and 4 SERIOUS safety violations along with a proposed fine of $43,800.  When working in a trench the walls need to be supported and you must have a way of escaping in an instant either by ladder or a retrieving system that pulls you out.  Don’t do it and don’t buy that “just this time” or “You’re not a team player” bull crap.  Your life is important, even if our employer doesn’t think so.

OSHA cites Ladysmith paper mill in worker’s death – PREVENTABLE – A worker died on the job because his employer, Clearwater Paper Corp. which operates the plant that produces Ladysmith paper products allowed him to service a high speed moving conveyor while in operation.  The OSHA investigation found 1 WILLFUL and 1 REPEAT safety violation and a proposed fine of $119,000.  This time it wasn’t a fall or a cave-in but moving machinery that killed.  No matter how minor the adjustment or important the line of operation is, never service machinery that is fully operational and moving.  Even if you beat the machine you may never live to tell the tale.

These first 5 stories all had WILLFUL violations.  As you know, this means the company these people were working for knew about the hazards present and that they could maim or kill someone, but didn’t care.  If you are forced to work under conditions like this and no one is listening to your concerns, call the OSHA HOTLINE 1 – 800 – 321-6742(OSHA).

After Two Workers Suffer Finger Amputations, OSHA Finds 12 Violations – PREVENTABLE – In the Nebraska facility of Becton, Dickinson and Co., management doesn’t seem to listen and didn’t feel the need to correct safety issues previously pointed out by OSHA.  This latest inspection, after 2 workers suffered partial amputations, found 1 REPEAT and 12 SERIOUS safety violations as a number of machines lacked safety guards. Imagine that.  For this a proposed fine of $112,700 was issued.  As above, don’t operate machinery without proper guarding and emergency shut offs.  You don’t have too.

 

 

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OSHA fines Fuyao for safety violations at Moraine facility – PREVENTABLE – NEVER keep quiet about safety.  OSHA received several employee complaints from the Moraine plant of Fuyao an auto glass maker.  OSHA found 2 SERIOUS safety violations and issued a fine of $14,000.  They citations involved not providing proper machine guarding and not securing a trench with moving machinery.  Both very good concerns and my guess is both issues were brought up to managements attention but were blown off.  They didn’t want to leave their jobs so they did the next best thing and called OSHA.  Not listening to your workers’ safety concerns is just plain stupid.  

OSHA issues RepublicSteel five citations and $121,000 penalties – PREVENTABLE – It is not a good idea to tell OSHA you’re going to mitigate hazards and then not do it.  The moron’s in charge at Republic Steel had promised to remove the fall and machinery hazards previously found by OSHA but a follow-up inspection found 5 REPEAT violations, so OSHA gave them a surprise gift of a proposed fine of $121,000.  Apparently, Republic Steel feels it’s cheaper to keep paying fines then spend the money to fix the problems.  That’s why the fines need to be drastically increased.  

Kosmos admits safety violations in 2014 death – JUSTICE DONE – Kosmos Cement Co. has pled guilty to violating workplace safety standards in the death of a worker who fell down an elevator shaft and fines of up to $400,000.  Another instance where a company WILLFULLY ignored safety and a worker paid for it with his life.  Read the story.
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– It’s easy to say, but you can’t let your guard down when it comes to workplace safety.  Even mundane everyday tasks can be dangerous if you’re not paying attention.  3 people have died in separate incidents with lawn movers.  Read the article and have that discussion with the staff. 
La-Z-Boy plant breaks AHFA safety record – WINNER – La-Z-Boy announced that its Dayton, Tenn., manufacturing facility has broken the American Home Furnishings Alliance safety record for the highest number of production hours without an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recordable lost-time case.  Congrats.
26 workplace deaths this year show safety efforts not good enough – SINGAPORE They’re also dealing with workplace safety.  Read the article.
New initiative aimed at reducing workplace injuries among youth – CANADA – Taking the lead on teaching workplace safety to young workers.  Check it out.
If you’re curious –
Department of Industrial Relations Reports 2014 Fatal Occupational Injuries – CALOSHA’s take on 2014.  Interesting info.
Dodge: Prioritizing safety increases ROI, employee retention and talent acquisition – Another good report and what I’ve always practiced and preached.
Well, my friends, that brings yet another episode of Companies Behaving Badly to a close. Please share this information at your next safety tailgate/toolbox meeting.  If you are not having safety meetings ask why and become involved.  Never keep quiet about safety as the life you save may be your own.
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Really Burns My Butt – Die Young

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Kelsey “Bug”Hagenson

When a young person dies in war, it is heartbreaking and only somewhat comforting that it was in the service of their country.  When a young person dies in an industrial accident it is just as heartbreaking and in both cases the world has lost an original masterpiece, someone who later in their life may have gone on to invent or discover or paint or write something that will improve the world or produce the offspring that may accomplish all that.  The Army gives at least 10 weeks of basic training to ensure civilians become soldiers and 14 – 16 weeks in some cases of specialized military functions so they are prepared and ready before being sent into a dangerous situation.  So when I see a young man die in an industrial accident because he was thrown into a job like grist for the mill my feelings turn into anger.  Kelsey “Bug” Hagenson, an 18 year old who enjoyed the outdoors and just beginning his journey in life, had been on the job only 3 months, when he was mixing concrete at a construction site when a forklift, driven by another employee, 15 years on the job, with inadequate training and no use of his right hand, hit and killed Kelsey.

OSHA has cited the company, Lunda Construction Company for 1 Willful and 5 Serious safety violations along with a proposed fine of $105,000.  For those of you who don’t know, a willful violation means the company knew there was a hazard that could kill one of their workers but couldn’t care less to do anything about it.  Too me, that’s manslaughter especially when you take into account that Lunda has a history of worker deaths and safety violations being inspected 30 times over the last 5 years, receiving 12 Serious violations and earning a spot in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.  With this history, they also should be barred from competing for ANY Federal, state, or city construction contracts .

Let’s not allow Kelsey’s death be for nothing and turn this into a positive.  On any construction site in any state, watch out for each other.  Pair up with the younger workers, be their buddy and mentor them on safety, the job and how to go home in one piece.  You are there to do a job under dangerous conditions.  There is no room for horseplay or joking. Yea, there will be times they may come off as a know it all, talk to much, or you think their music sucks but guess what, you were like that when you were young too.  Just because you were treated like crap and weren’t shown anything when you began years ago doesn’t mean that has to continue.  Be a mentor, share knowledge, be kind and let’s prevent another senseless death of a young worker.  For you young workers, if you don’t receive any training on how to recognize hazards at the job site, or how to operate machinery or how to use fall protection gear, you must make an important decision.  Is the job worth your life?  If it’s a union job, get hold of your representative immediately and if there is no one there to protect you, CALL the OSHA hotline – 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).  Also check out the OSHA website for information in both Spanish and English on what to expect on the job.  The information could just possibly save your life.  Don’t become a statistic and never keep quiet about safety, it’s the best way to honor the memory of Kelsey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Companies Behaving Badly – Spring Forward

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Hopefully by now, your body clock is back in rhythm and you have taken the time to make sure your family is safe and protected by replacing the batteries in your smoke/carbon monoxide detectors and have checked that your fire extinguishers are still fully charged and ready to go when you need them.  The excuse of not preparing for an emergency because you believe that a fire, injury or accident only happens to the other guy and not you is, well, it’s stupid.  Discuss safety with the family, what to do when the smoke alarm rings, the evacuation plan, where to assemble and meet and for earthquakes or other natural disasters, have a emergency supply chest ready to use. Why would you want to spend more time dead then necessary and less time with family?  That unfortunately sounds like yet another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.

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Whistle-Blower Suit Defends Workers Who Assisted OSHA – PREVENTABLE – You should never keep quiet about safety and OSHA, on behalf of 2 employees that were fired for speaking out, is suing their employer, Lloyd Industries Inc., who ironically manufactures fire safety equipment and building ventilation systems.  Who can blame these workers as the company, during an OSHA inspection, was found to have a total of 23 violations with 12 Willful violations.  TWELVE!  As you may remember, a willful violation means the company knew of the hazards and that they could severely injure or kill someone, but couldn’t care less to fix them so now they have a proposed fine of $822,000 plus the amounts from the current lawsuit.  William P. Lloyd who is the owner, fired a worker after he had 3 fingers amputated while operating machinery that lacked proper guarding.  Mr. Lloyd seems to only care about his profits and nothing for his workers that earn him those profits.  You can’t be forced to operate any unsafe piece of equipment and if you are coerced or threatened with loss of your job for not doing so or you feel your life is put in danger by a creep like William P. Lloyd, call the OSHA hotline immediately, 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).

OSHA fines Geismar plant $70,000 over September explosion that injured four – PREVENTABLE – The Renewable Energy Group allowed workers to work and repair a pipeline that still contained a hazardous and flammable chemical, which resulted in an explosion injuring 4 workers with one of them severely burned.  The OSHA investigation found 3 Willful violations for this blatant stupidity and disregard for their workers, along with a proposed fine of $70,000.  If they had taken the time and steps to ensure a valve had been locked and clearly marked closed this would have been avoided but the Renewable Energy Group failed to develop safe work practices related to this lockout/tagout process, did not ensure those procedures were written down clearly and did not ensure workers had an effective process to verify when valves were locked out.  This was the second explosion at this plant in 2015.  I know you’re told to trust you company and supervisors, but there is nothing wrong with double checking that the pipeline was empty and safe to work on.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

OSHA: Contractor died because floor designs for Kiln building unsafe – PREVENTABLE – Even a layman knows that concrete is heavier than wood, yet Great Southern Building Systems LLC, doing business as Bayou Steel Fabricators Inc. failed to protect its workers despite being warned that the floor was unstable and could have been prevented had the employer obtained new engineering plans and followed the requirements.  Barry Berthelot, a 54 year old father of 4, paid the price as the supports couldn’t handle the weight of the concrete and collapsed spilling concrete an debris and killing him while injuring 3 other workers.  For this incredible lapse in thinking, Great Southern was cited for 1 Willful and 2 Serious safety violations and a proposed fine of $79,800.  When ever there is a change 

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20-Year-Old Window Washer Falls to Death in WI – PREVENTABLE – A 20 year old, just beginning his journey in life fell 58 feet to his death because his employer, Serwas Window Cleaning Services LLC., didn’t train him how to properly tie off his fall protection safety lines.  The following OSHA investigation found a total of 1 Willful and 8 Serious safety violations at three different work cites with a proposed fine of $69,800. The young man’s rooftop rigger was not tied to a separate anchor point and counterweights were not utilized when he went over the edge to wash and fell. You should always receive training before beginning any work at great heights.  If you are not given any training or fall protection equipment to use call the OSHA hotline immediately, 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).  Also go to his site, STOP FALLS for info in English and Spanish.

Contractor Willfully Exposed Workers to Potential Cave-In – PREVENTABLE – Another employer who couldn’t care less what happens to their employees as D.S. Meyer Enterprises LLC was cited for 1 Willful and 5 Serious safety violations and a proposed fine of $52,500 as they exposed workers to a cave in hazard.  OSHA was notified of an imminent danger created by unprotected trench hazards as workers repaired an underground water line on Jan. 19, 2016.  Serious citations were given for failing to ensure that workers in the trench wore hard hats, exposing workers to a spoil pile containing rocks and asphalt just inches from the open trench, and use of an improper ladder for accessing the trench

OSHA cites dairy corporation after third worker death – PREVENTABLE – Sharpe Holdings Inc. seems to have a problem with safety as a third employee has died since 2012.  This has earned them a place in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program and proposed fines of $189,000 for 17 Serious safety violations.  The latest victim, a 51 year old equipment operator died from serious head injuries after his ejection from the rear of a van.  “Sharpe Holdings is a repeat violator that knowingly refuses to follow basic safety procedures,” Mike Minicky, OSHA’s acting area director in St. Louis, said in a statement. “Three people have died while working at this facility in the last five years. This latest tragedy could have been prevented by using common-sense safety devices. Safety is simply not a priority for Sharpe Holdings. OSHA will continue to monitor and inspect this employer to ensure workers are protected on the job.”

Cinnaminson firm cited for unsafe job sites – PREVENTABLE – FALLS continues to be the number 1 killer because companies like Berlin Builders just doesn’t care about their employees or the law. They now face proposed fines of $198,550 for 19 REPEAT and 8 Serious safety violations at 4 different worksites.  OSHA found they didn’t provide fall protection for workers exposed to falls as high as 29 feet, didn’t train employees on fall protection, didn’t inspect job sites for hazards or train workers how to properly use ladders.  You know all that training and safety equipment costs money and cuts into their profits and if a worker dies, oh well.  Don’t put your life in danger just to line the pockets of a owner who couldn’t care less if you live or die.  Insist on fall protection gear and how to use it or just walk. 

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Behr Iron and Steel pleads guilty to OSHA violation causing death of employee – – On March 10, 2014, 39 year old Reynaldo Hernandez-Ortega was cleaning the shredder discharge pit for his employer, Behr Iron Steel Inc. but for whatever reason the company didn’t think it was important enough to LOTO the unguarded conveyor belt that caught Reynaldo’s arm and pulled him into the machinery where he died of traumatic asphyxia. The company has pled guilty in a deal that will place them on 5 a year probation and a maximum fine of $500,000 for willfully violating OSHA regulations.  This could have so easily been avoided but due to their stupidity a man is dead and in my opinion they are getting off too easy as their company head should be on trial for man slaughter.  Never work around unguarded machinery unless you use proper LOTO and if management doesn’t want to shut down a line but expects you to still put your life in jeopardy, Don’t do it and call the OSHA hotline, 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).

3 areas of workplace safety can be improved: MOM – SINGAPORE – Falls are also the number 1 killer for construction workers in Singapore as well. Check it out.

Cleaner impaled on meat hook in Affco safety lapse – NEW ZEALAND – No LOTO and a worker pays the price by having his head impaled on a meat hook.  

Employer justified in sacking worker with a bad attitude to safety – AUSTRALIA – Court agrees that a worker with poor safety attitude and record can be terminated. Read the article.

BGA: City Hall didn’t know of safety citations on city jobs – Why we need a national registry on companies with poor safety records so they don’t get city, state or government contracts.  This happened in Chicago where someone obviously didn’t do their homework. Companies that don’t care about the safety of their workers should NOT be rewarded with contracts.  What do you think?

Well my friends, that brings this episode of Companies Behaving Badly to a close.  As always thank you for stopping by and reading the articles.  Please feel free to use any or all at your next safety tailgate/toolbox meeting.  If there are any issues or concerns you would like addressed in future issues of Companies Behaving Badly please don’t hesitate to ask. Safety is a two edged sword.  Your employer needs to ensure you are in a safe workplace and train you on how to deal with those hazards present and you as a worker need to ask questions and use the safety equipment provided and ask questions.  If you find a hazard and bring it to managements attention and no one gets back to you or blows you off or threatens you to shut up, and their is no union rep or HR rep to help you, your life is in danger and you should either quit or call the OSHA hotline, 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).  Life is precious and you are as unique as a snow flake.  Why would you want to spend more time dead then necessary.  Never keep quiet about safety.  Until next month, stay safe.

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Your social success

 

 

Companies Behaving Badly-Not My Fault

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It seems like no one wants to take responsibility for anything these days. Everyone from elected officials, politicians, CEOs, utility companies, managers and workers want to blame someone else when “IT” happens.  Then the amount of energy and resources used on covering their asses, making up lies and elaborate denials, throwing others under the bus is twice as much if they had just taken care of business in the first place.  PGE murdered 8 citizens of San Bruno, California but fought having to take full responsibility for their actions even though they lost track of the records on gas line pipes, they didn’t bother to schedule to test and update pipping but instead seduced the CPUC and tried to buy an outcome in their favor.  SoCal gas is another case of a company not taking responsibility as their underground storage has been leaking since it was first reported on Oct 23, 2015 and has caused the large scale disruption to the lives of the people who live there because SoCal gas didn’t want to acknowledge it, then didn’t have a system in place or plan to fix it and has allowed it to continue.  Flint, Michigan is another town in this great country that has been lied too by their officials not taking responsibility for their drinking water, saying it’s safe to drink only to find out that, surprise, it’s not!  This was created by a lack of planning and competent leadership and fixing the problem can cost billions and that’s not including the cost of long term health effects caused by drinking the water.  It’s unfortunate that Governor Snyder doesn’t have the guts to fall on his sword but instead will just bury his head in the sand and wish for the problem to go away. However, in one of the stories below you’ll read of a company that was found to have safety issues, listened and took full responsibility for it. Look. If you want to be the boss and want responsibility, there is nothing wrong with that but you need to understand that you are then accountable.  You are accountable for how you run your ship, the crew you pick, the rules you follow and the course you set.  Not everyone has the money to run slick “I’m sorry” ads on T.V.  Now a Reality check, as of Dec 19th, the latest OSHA numbers available,  227 human beings, each unique, have died in industrial accidents.  My, that unfortunately sounds like another episode of companies behaving badly.

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$100K fine but praise for swift action – PREVENTABLE – After an OSHA inspection of a Schwan Global Supply Inc. facility, they issued citations for 4 Repeat, 3 Serious and 3 other than serious safety and health violations. It seems in the several years after it was first brought to their attention in a previous inspection, they didn’t have the time to develop written emergency shutdown procedures for the refrigeration system and not training workers. It appears that this latest inspection has woken them up at Schwan as they have taken full responsibility for not addressing these issues and have signed an agreement with OSHA to pay a $100,000 fine and immediately begin correcting all the safety issues.  This should also help moral and hopefully begin a dialog on safety.  Writing and putting procedures in place and the corresponding training is not difficult to do.  You can have someone on your staff look for templates online and write them and have supervisors and managers do the training or you can hire a fire like Warehouseflow Advisors to help you.

OSHA Investigation Results in Sixteen Violations for Logging Company – PREVENTABLE – Considering logging accidents account for 27% of all work related fatalities in West Virginia, it’s no wonder OSHA dropped in on A and S Tree Service and it’s a good thing they did as they found 2 Willful, 11 Serious and 3 other than serious safety violations. They allowed employees to ride as passengers on a dozer without assigned seating and safety belts, exposed them to crushing injuries, no proper PPE used and more.  You don’t have to work under those conditions. Never keep quiet about safety.

Hurst business cited by OSHA for safety violations – PREVENTABLE – What happens when you don’t train workers on recognizing and avoiding fall hazards in a language they understand and then place them on them on 2nd and 3rd floors to work without providing fall protection in any form?  Exactly what you’d think, a worker fell.  Subfloor Systems, for their indifference to workers safety were cited by OSHA for 1 Willful and 1 Serious violation and a proposed fine of $66,000.  The worker that fell sustained serious enough injuries that required hospitalization.  You have the right to a safe workplace but you have to be aware.  If you’re sent to a worksite like this, 2-3 stories high, there should be so form of fall protection, either guardrails, safety nets or personal fall systems to prevent you from falling.  If not provided, call OSHA hotline 1 (800) 321-6742 

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OSHA cites auto parts manufacturer for willfully exposing workers PREVENTABLE – Imagine being head and elbow deep in a machine with exposed blades and gears and it suddenly starts up.  The panic as you try to get out and then watch in horror, your arm severed from your body.  That is the potential accident waiting to happen at Daeil manufacturers as they failed to develop, document and implement procedures to prevent multiple types of machinery from starting up during maintenance and servicing.  In a recent inspection OSHA found and issued citations for 1 Willful, 5 Repeat, 10 Serious and 1 other than serious safety violations along with a proposed fine of $171,870.  This company couldn’t care less about their employees or they would have corrected the repeat violations found a few years earlier.  You do not have to work on machinery without using proper LOTO procedures.  You can’t be forced to do it or fired for not doing it.

OSHA cites Berea manufacturer for alleged amputation risks – PREVENTABLE – Very similar to the above, Telefast Industries Inc. was cited in 2014 for several violations and didn’t bother to correct them so now in 2016, deja vu, they received 4 Repeat, 2 Serious and 2 other than serious safety violations and a proposed fine of $121,000.  They didn’t think it important enough to install guards or have safety procedures in place to prevent employee amputations or worse.

Worker injuries net OSHA citation and fine for New York manufacturer – PREVENTABLE – Yet again, another company that was informed of hazards present to their workers but didn’t think it important enough to do anything about it even after more injuries.  Genpak LLC was cited for 2 Repeat, 6 Serious and 1 other than serious violations along with a proposed fine of $103,200.  The new inspections came after one worker had a partial finger amputated and a month later another was severely burned after his forklift ignited butane vapors.  To really test their luck the company was using the wrong type rated forklift in an area full of flammable gases.

OSHA leaves employers guessing after temporary removal of slip, trip, fall proposal – OSHA NEWS – They’re sending out a mixed message with slip, trip and falls and this lack of leadership is troubling. Read the article and see what suggestions are available to help your business keep your employees safe.

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Trends in … eye protection – PPE – Article from Safety+Health Magazine.  Make sure your workers protect this precious sense with proper eye wear as well as something they want to wear.

Wheelz Safety Goggles Provide Anti-Fog Features, Compact Design – NEW PRODUCT – Eye wear that works.

Distracted at Work: Why every workplace needs a mobile phone policy – SAFETY NEWS – This is a great article from OHS news in Australia but it does apply to us here in the states as well.  Distractions cause accidents.  Read it.

The 10 Most-Expensive Non-Fatal Workplace Injuries – SAFETY NEWS – From EHS today. Other safety issues to be aware of.  Good read.

Well that brings yet another episode of Companies Behaving Badly to a close.  Hope you enjoyed the articles and stories and as always, appreciate you taking time out of your busy day and stopping by.  Please feel free to use any or all of these stories at your next safety tailgate/toolbox meeting.  Please don’t keep quiet about safety.  If you feel that your life may be in danger or that you could be seriously injured and you have reported your concerns to management and no one has addressed them call the OSHA Hotline at 1 (800) 321-6742.  Remember the life you save may be your own.

Por favor, no guardar silencio acerca de la seguridad . Si usted siente que su vida puede estar en peligro o que usted podría sufrir lesiones graves y que han reportado sus preocupaciones a la gerencia y nadie se ha ocupado de ellos llaman a la Línea de OSHA al 1 (800 ) 321 hasta 6742 . Recuerde que la vida que salve puede ser la suya.

Until the 15th. Stay well.

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Warehouseflow.com

 

 

Companies Behaving Badly – Doubly Willful

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Maybe we’re going about this whole workplace safety thing all wrong.  It may be time to make some changes at how we do and look at things to help bring home the point of safety.  OSHA is vastly raising the amounts on citations and also did some minor restructuring so they can begin prosecuting safety violators.  While OSHA provides us the structure to work within on providing a safe workplace to your employees, EVERYONE, from the worker on the floor to the CEO must be involved and responsible for their safety on the job.  If you are lucky enough to work for a company that provides you with all the PPE you need, refresher training, LOTO procedures, safety meetings and you knowingly and willingly put yourself or body at risk, you are nuts my friend.  Think of those workers at companies where they don’t have a choice or because of language barriers are taken advantage of. (The above is an excerpt from “Just Putting it Out There-a Modest Proposal”).  If you do work under unsafe conditions and you feel that you are being put in danger call the osha hot line. 1-800-321-6742.  Be an informed worker. Get a copy of the Cal/OSHA Construction Safety guide.  Know your rights and what to expect on the job site, click here.  Ser un trabajador informado. Obtener una copia de la guía de Cal / OSHA Seguridad en la Construcción . Conozca sus derechos y lo que puede esperar en el lugar de trabajo,haga clic aquí.  As of Dec 12, 2015 (the latest numbers available from OSHA) 208 people have died in industrial accidents during this fiscal year, that means 3 people are dying a day.  We can do better!!!  That unfortunately sounds like yet another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.
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OSHA cites steel plant over safety, probes whistleblower retaliation – PREVENTABLE – St.Louis Cold Drawn Inc. is one of those businesses that doesn’t care what happens to their employees on the job as they also continue to take advantage of Asian immigrant workers with limited english speaking skills  as they were exposed to daily amputation, electrical and other hazards.  OSHA cited the company 2 Willful, 7 Repeat and 22 Serious safety violations along with a proposed fine of $366,300 in addition to a whistleblower investigation.  It seems they fired an employee for not wanting to be exposed to machines without guarding and amputations, inadequate drainage, faulty head protection, fall hazards, insufficient crane inspections or dying at work and said something to OSHA. Never keep quiet about safety.
Roofing contractor cited by OSHA – PREVENTABLE – Here is another company that had been cited before, but continued to put employees in harms way.  Contractor Michel Cahoon who does business as High & Dry Roofing did just that to his workers, left them high up with no fall protection.  Based on a complaint, OSHA’s inspection found 2 Willful and 4 Repeat citations and issued a proposed fine of $152,460 and placed into the Severe Violators Enforcement Program.  Employees working at heights of over 20 feet in addition to no fall protection also had no proper ladder safeguards, lack of hard hats, eye protection and the best yet, erected scaffolding too close to a live 240 volt line.  It is too bad that his contractor license can’t be suspended for a period of time.
Bridge repair firm cited by OSHA after fatal trench collapse – PREVENTABLE – A person is dead because he trusted that his employer Susquehanna Supply Co. wouldn’t put him in a unsafe trench, which they did because they couldn’t care less.  OSHA issued 2 Willful citations along with a proposed fine of $140,000 for lack of cave-in protection.  The worker was in a trench, 12-15 feet deep when the adjacent trench wall collapsed and buried him.  This also earned them a spot in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program. Don’t understand why no one from Susquehanna is on trail for man slaughter.
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warehouseflow.com

OSHA cites SB Framing Services after worker dies after falling from roof  – PREVENTABLE – Selvin Velasquez, a 32 year old construction worker would still be alive if his employer had listened to the warnings from a third party about the potential hazard of having employees working over 19 feet off the ground without any fall protection.  SB Framing Services Inc. was more concerned about delays in getting the job done than the health and safety of it’s workers and Selvin wound up paying the price.  The OSHA inspection found 1 Willful and 1 Serious violation and issued a proposed fine of $53,900. Is it worth your life to cut corners on safety so the company owner can put a few extra bucks in his pocket while you’re placed in a box and 6 feet under?  You DON’T have to do this.  Just say NO and live another day.
OSHA fines 2 companies in worker’s death at Longmont’s Village at the Peaks – PREVENTABLE – Tereso Zamarippa-Hernandez, a 39 year old construction worker was working on a roof before sunrise when he fell through a hole in the roof he couldn’t see, to the concrete below and died due to the incredible lack of concern for safety by the companies involved.  Their laziness and ignorance created an environment where someone was going to be killed on the job as OSHA’s inspection found that his employer and another company had 12 Serious safety violations. Ramos Roofing, his employer didn’t bother to have a safety program in place to check for holes and potential trips and falls as well as not training employees on safe ladder and stairway usage and fined $11,460.

Colorado Structures Incorporated was fined $12,775 for not initiating and maintaining a safety program to provide frequent and regular inspections of jobsites, materials and equipment, exposing workers to fall hazards. That would take time and someone who cared about their workers.  OSHA also cited both companies for not properly illuminating job sites and not properly securing and marking covers and making sure they were substantial enough to support employees.  The best part is Ramos Roofing owner Alfredo Ramos stated he is working to reinforce safety policies but added that his company already had safety procedures in place at the time of the accident.  You can have all the procedures in the world in place but you need to make sure workers understand them and they need to enforce those procedures.

Contractors sentenced to prison in deadly Philadelphia wall collapse – PREVENTABLE – This is something I hope to see more of as 2 demolition contractors were sentenced to prison time in the death of 6 people after a building collapse.  Contractor Griffin Campbell received 15 to 30 years and equipment operator Sean Benschop received 7.5 to 15 years for involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault and causing a catastrophe.  By his own admission, Benschop took percocet and marijuana before operating machinery to demolish a unsupported brick wall.  Campbell was the lowest bid on the project and had to cut corners on safety, which goes to show, the lowest bid isn’t always the best.  Related to this story, a city inspector, who was never accused of any wrongdoing with the collapse, committed suicide soon after the accident.  This whole event is far from over as now civil lawsuits by the families of the victims begin and OSHA has fines totaling $400,000 outstanding.  Safety is something you can NEVER compromise on and if you believe it will never happen to you then you are truly a fool.

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Amazon cited by federal regulators for failure to report workplace injuries – PREVENTABLE – It appears that the folks at Amazon, the people who want to deliver you goods even before you know you need them, believe that they are above the law and don’t have to report employee injuries.  When you try to portray an image that you are the greatest thing since sliced bread admitting errors is so very hard to do as it makes you look as a mere mortal.  OSHA has fined them $7,000 for failing to report at least 26 workplace injuries at their New Jersey warehouse.  Can you imagine what kind of things they’ll forget to report when their drones begin having accidents?  Of course they say this is not true and we all know that large corporations never lie and only have concerns that nothing interferes with the profit margin.

What’s the secret behind this plant’s 4-year safety streak? – SAFETY WINNEREmployees at The Kraft Heinz Company in Fort Smith, Arkansas, are celebrating 3 million work hours without a lost day due to job injury or illness. Learn more about their commitment to safety and read the article.

$35 million distributed to policy holders for work place safety – Who says safety doesn’t pay?  Read how many and how much is coming back to the community and businesses due to being safe a work.

Should it Take a Tragedy to Put Safety in the Spotlight? – AUSTRALIA – We shouldn’t have to wait for a tragedy to put safety in the spotlight. Preventive measures, training and monitoring can prevent new headlines in the paper.  Read this very good article.

That brings this episode of Companies Behaving Badly to a close.  Thank you for stopping by and reading the articles.  Please feel free to use any or all of these articles at your next tailgate/toolbox safety meeting.  If you are not having weekly meetings or a monthly safety meeting ask why.  A company that cares about it’s employees will have meetings and training sessions to better their work force.  They will also listen to your concerns about safety and if they don’t or threaten you to shut up, immediately call the OSHA hotline at 1 (800) 321-6742 and also get a copy of the Cal/OSHA guide to construction safety for your own protection.  Until next month, stay safe and never keep quiet about safety.

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