Companies Behaving Badly – Racing To Die


Let’s face it folks, the world can be a dangerous place.  Even though we’re not hunting mastodons with spears or competing with other wild animals for shelter in a cave, it’s still dangerous out there living in a modern world.  In the U.S. 19,000 have already died in auto accidents alone during the first half of 2015.  According to the NSC that’s a 14% increase over the same period last year and a estimated 130,000 will die due to all types of accidents this year.  As of 10/24/15, the latest numbers available from OSHA, 71 people have died in industrial accidents so far this fiscal year.  So as I said, the world is still a dangerous place and as much as we modernize and develop new techniques, and safety equipment to protect us from accidents, they don’t work at all unless we USE them.  Safety is just as much your responsibility as your employer as is the choice you make to do the right thing or not.  Today you choose not to wear a seatbelt while driving and begin texting on your cell phone even though you know quite well what the possible consequences are.  Nothing happened to you yesterday so what could possible go wrong today, when you are suddenly launched through your front windshield like a human cannon ball.  The possible consequences of your actions in addition to citations for no seat belt and texting while driving is reconstructive plastic surgery to your face, long hospitalization for other injuries and increased insurance rates but that’ll beat the other alternative where you don’t have to worry about the consequences at all, because you are DEAD.   Same in the construction industry, when you are assigned to work in a deep trench.  You notice the walls are not shored properly, there is no safety equipment offered to get you out of there in a rush and it rained heavy last night, but you don’t want to appear as less then a man and called names by your foreperson or lose your job, so you make the choice, pray and go in.  Today you lived but now you’ve set a dangerous precedent.  You are the guy who’ll go in. So you’re asked to do it again, and again.  You think you’re immortal and then that one time, you’re buried alive. Don’t keep quiet about safety!  Don’t be bullied into doing dangerous work. Your life matters.  If you feel you are being placed into dangerous situations by your company, Call the OSHA Hotline. 1 (800) 321-6742.  Well that unfortunately sounds like another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.

OSHA: Worker killed in Longmeadow trench collapse ‘would not have died if employer had followed proper procedures – PREVENTABLE – Davide S. Nascimento at 28 year old construction worker trusted that his employer, A. Martin & Son Construction Inc. wouldn’t send him to work in a dangerous trench and now 2 young girls are without a father.  A portion of the roadway above collapsed and broke a 6 inch water main pipe which very quickly filled the trench, trapping and drowning Davide.  Because his employer didn’t bother to protect the water main or inspect the site after the rainstorm the night before, which weakened excavation walls, OSHA cited them for 2 Serious violations and a proposed fine of $14,000.  Don’t keep quiet about safety and ask questions.  A good construction company foreperson has a quick huddle with the crew before work begins where situations like the above can be addressed.

Grave Matter: OSHA Fines NY Cemetery Company for Cave-In – PREVENTABLE – It may be extreme marketing when you try to make your employees, your customer as well.  Such is the case at St. Charles/Resurrection Cemeteries as one of their workers was injured when the walls of a grave he was working in collapsed and buried him up to his waist.  The OSHA investigation found 2 Willful and 3 Serious violations.  You know what willful means. They knew about the hazard but couldn’t care less to fix it or who was hurt or killed because of it.  The pending fine is $123,200.  When ever working in a trench, always take precautions and be aware of the ground conditions.

OSHA cites roofing company for safety violations – PREVENTABLE – Affordable Exteriors LLC apparently cares more about profits then it does the well being of it’s employees.  Even though they were cited an fined in 2013 for not providing workers with fall protection, and again in 2014, they tempted fate yet again in 2015 and earned 2 Willful, 1 Repeat and 3 Serious safety violations for again allowing employees to work 25 feet off the ground without fall protection equipment along with a proposed fine of $112,000.  When a company consistently puts workers in danger like this the fines are not enough.  We need laws to void the licenses of these companies and put the owners in a jail cell.  No matter what they promise you to get you to work without fall protection will not protect your family when you die.  Never keep quiet about safety.

OSHA fines TX companies $112K for exposing workers to asbestos – PREVENTABLE – Jason Berkowitz is evil personified as he couldn’t care less about what health problems his employees develop years from now as he has exposed them to asbestos at several construction sites so he can line his pockets with profits while they slowly die.  This creep’s three commercial real estate renovation companies all were fined by OSHA for exposing workers to asbestos or not ensuring they followed proper asbestos protocol while removing the toxic substance.  Each company received 1 Willful violation, FBZ Broadway, LP was fined $14,000, Roscoe Properties, Inc. was fined $63,000 and One Eighty Construction, Inc. was fined $35,000.  This person knew of the dangers he exposed his employees too but figured he’d get away with it as they probably won’t develop lung diseases or cancer years from now while he’s spending the money earned on their lives.  For these willful violations Mr. Berkowitz should be on trial for crimes against humanity.

Atlanta Construction Company Exposed Workers to Dangerous Falls, OSHA Finds – PREVENTABLE – Yet another construction company with no morals or ethics and treating workers like expendable parts while stuffing their own pockets with profits.  JA Siding Construction Services LLC was issued 2 Willful and 1 Repeat safety violations for not providing fall protection equipment to employees working on a scaffold and then not bothering to make sure it was properly secured.  The proposed fine is only $65,120. The repeat citation was for not providing protective eyewear to workers using a pneumatic nail gun.  You do not have to work under these conditions.  Maybe if we began charging willful violators for attempted manslaughter it would bring an end to this willful stupidity.

OSHA proposes $181,500 fine against N.J. firm for repeated workplace safety violations – PREVENTABLE – United Hospital Supply Corp. is a family run company that is trying to supply hospitals not only with metal cabinets and furniture but also with injured employees as they have ignored fixing safety issues at their facility since 2010.  This time OSHA found 21 safety violations, including Willful, repeat and serious violations and a proposed fine of $181,500.  This family operation has no problem exposing their workers to electrical hazards, unguarded machinery, lack of hand protection and improperly screened welding stations, but then fixing these problems will take money and apparently they don’t want to spend it on their hard working employees.

Worker’s leg amputation leads to OSHA fine for metal parts maker – PREVENTABLE – Clarion Sintered Metals Inc. is another company that is more concerned with profits than people’s lives as they failed to provide workers access to emergency stop buttons on a stationary compactor and because of this lapse in judgement an employee lost his leg.  The following investigation by OSHA found 30 Serious violations along with a proposed fine of $74,000. Workers were also routinely exposed to unprotected machinery, struck by hazards and use of uninspected and damaged equipment.  The company also had unilluminated exit signs and incomplete logging of all recordable injuries and illnesses.  Sounds like one big accident waiting to happen.

Kentucky’s workplace injury and illness rate lowest in history – WINNER – Great job Kentucky!  It can be done with hard work.

Louisiana ranks second for worker safety in 2014 – WINNER – According to the latest data from 2014, the state of Louisiana has greatly improved on workplace safety.  Congratulations!

Who is Responsible for Recording Injuries and Illnesses of Temporary Workers? – Great article in the National Law Review.  Strongly suggest you read it especially if you employ temporary help.  What do you think?
Well that brings yet another episode of Companies Behaving Badly to a close. Thank you for stopping by and reading the articles.  Please don’t hesitate to share some or all of these stories at your next safety tailgate/toolbox meeting. Learn from their lessons to help you become a safer worker and survive the workplace. Don’t let any foreperson, employer or company put you into a dangerous situation without proper training and equipment.  Don’t allow them to bully you or threaten to fire you for not doing a unsafe act.  Don’t let anyone take advantage of you because you are an immigrant or don’t speak english.  You have laws to protect you.  If you are subject to any of this kind of harassment call the OSHA Hotline at 1-800-321-6742(OSHA). No deje que nadie se aproveche de usted, porque usted es un inmigrante o no habla Ingles.  Usted tiene leyes para proteger a usted.  Si usted esta sujeto a cualquiera de este tipo de acoso llame a la Linea OSHA al 1-800-321-6742.

Companies Behaving Badly – Día de los Muertos


The graphic above may look familiar since it’s been used once before because unfortunately the top 10 OSHA violations hasn’t changed much since last year.  In fact only items 5 & 6 swapped places, mainly due to the fact that there are still some folks out there, who are just hell bent on dying on the job because they kept quiet about safety at their workplace.  So let’s celebrate those dedicated employees of death.  Thank you all you managers and supervisors who walk around, if they ever get up from their desk, with blinders on and ignore potential hazards, and never put work orders in to fix equipment since the next guy will do it.  This day is for you too.  Happy Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos), All Saints Day, All Hallows Day. It looks like for the fiscal year that 1,304 fellow human beings died in industrial accidents. The only good news out of this is that it’s 78 fewer than the year before.  Hmmm, that unfortunately sounds like yet another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.

Improper Load Rigging Caused Fatality: OSHA – PREVENTABLE – This is a great example what happens when you have sloppy supervision and worker complacency as no one felt compelled to follow the standard safety rules on the site.  A worker, cleaning around a foundation hole was struck in the head by rebar that fell from a crane, killing him.  His employer, CBS Pilings Solutions Inc. of Riverside, Mo. didn’t think it important enough to train workers in struck-by hazards that come along with working around cranes and suspended loads. They also didn’t bother removing all non-essential workers from the zone during crane operations either and improperly rigged the load.  For this lapse in supervision OSHA fined them only $14,700 for 3 Serious safety violations.  If your supervisors are too lazy to have a quick huddle before work begins to go over just these types of things, take the role of leader and remind the rest of the crew.  Good morning guys and gals. Today we’re moving rebar into the wholes.  Be aware of where you are when you hear the signal the crane will be moving. Remember to clear the area and don’t be under it.  Done! This is also why you have to run a tight ship and can’t let things slide. The rules are there for a reason and safety is just as much your job as the bosses.

OSHA fines Park Ridge food facility after worker loses part of finger – PREVENTABLE – An employee of KochFoods Inc., which conducts business as Aspen Foods Inc. had a life altering experience at work as he tried to clear a paper jam in his machine and watched his right middle finger get chopped off.  The machine he was operating didn’t have adequate safety guards like locking devices to protect him from dangerous moving parts starting up while clearing jams.  If his company cared they would have insisted that the machine have proper guards so this couldn’t happen.  Jams happen no matter what and you should be able to clear them without fear of amputation. Koch Foods was cited for 1 Repeat and 4 Serious safety violations and a proposed fine of $52,500.  Apparently Koch Foods uses luck as their safety program.  If you need to clear a jam and there is no locking device on the machine then do L.O.T.O.  Yea, the machine will be down a little longer that way, but you have the right to go home the same way you arrived at work, in one piece.  If anyone threatens you or tells you not to lock out a machine make a call to OSHA’s hotline at1-(800) 321-6742 (OSHA).

CAL/OSHA Fines 2 Firms for Exposing Workers to Cave-In Hazards in Piedmont – PREVENTABLE – I don’t know what irks me more, the construction company owners who pad their own pockets by not spending money on proper site safety while having no problem putting their workers at risk or the workers who blindly jump into the trenches knowing they have no way out if there’s a collapse.  Two construction companies, EMI Design & Construction Inc. and Salt Light Investments Inc. allowed workers enter an 11 foot deep un-shored trench and were issued a STOP-WORK order by CalOSHA. Even though they knew this had the potential to serious injure or kill one of their own employees they ordered workers back into the trench without abating the hazard. Rather then spend the money to do it properly they opted to put their workers in danger.  For their stupidity EMI was cited for 2 Willful, 3 Serious and 5 other safety violations and a proposed fine of $164,465 while the morons at Salt Light were issued 2 Willful and 1 other safety violation for a total penalty of $140,375.  You don’t have to put your life in danger to put money in your bosses pocket.  Ask questions like how am I suppose to get out of there.


Trenching Cave-In Injures Drainpipe Installer – PREVENTABLE – Here’s another construction company who couldn’t care less about their employees and this time the trench did collapse.  Boyles Construction Inc. in Little Rock, Arkansas was cited for 1 Willful, 7 Serious and 1 other than serious safety violations after an employee was injured when the 7 to 8 foot deep trench he was working in fell around him.  OSHA found there was no cave in protection for the workers, were not provided helmets, not provided a safe means to exit the trench or had slopes or steps along the side to prevent collapse.  The proposed fine is only $47,600 and should be much more due to the willful violation.  Construction jobs wouldn’t be so dangerous if there weren’t so many selfish owners worried more about profit than people.

Lockport landscaping company cited by OSHA – PREVENTABLE – Imagine yourself working outdoors on a beautiful day, trimming weeds when suddenly everything goes black when you’re struck in the back of the head with a rock.  Unfortunately this happened to an employee of Perry’s Maintenance Inc. and he died several days later.  His employer didn’t think it was worth the time and money to repair the bracket for the guard on the discharge of the lawnmower that hurled the rock.  It’d been broken since 2014 and that would have prevented this loss of life.  The company was cited for 1 violation and a proposed fine of $70,000.  Lesson here is don’t put off repairs and don’t let anyone tell you it’s o.k. to operate any piece of machinery or powered industrial truck that is in need of repair.  The life you save may be your own.

MIOSHA Writes up $357K in Electrical-Related Safety Violations at Holland Warehouse – PREVENTABLE – Gates Electric and Electrical Inspection Service was inspected by MichiganOSHA, who found 5 Willful Serious and 1 Serious violations in the facility and issued a proposed fine of $357,000.  Another disciple of the LUCK safety program.

OSHA issues 3 citations against Ottumwa Post Office – PREVENTABLE – The U.S.P.S. is at it again folks.  This time OSHA investigated based on a complaint from an employee since it appears the leadership at this branch doesn’t have a clue. OSHA cited them for 1 Repeat, 1 Serious and 1 other along with a proposed fine of $46,600.  A carrier working in over 100 degree heat asked for assistance to complete his route and his bosses said, NO, even though he was exhibiting symptoms of heat illness.  It turns out that A month later another carrier was hospitalized for heat illness after he was also turned down for help completing his route.  This is such a great example of lazy and incompetent leadership who had no plan to deal with the heat or how to keep employees safe even though they had gone through this before and just couldn’t be bothered when employees needed help and why the hell isn’t their union doing anything?  It’s time to end this lesson in futility and eliminate the USPS.

OSHA fines Ashley Furniture for third time this year – PREVENTABLE – I don’t know the Wanek family, who own Abbey Furniture but I don’t have too as their actions tell me what kind of people they are.  They apparently have no problem exposing their employees to amputation hazards, don’t want to hear the truth about it, actually blame their workers for being careless, (no machine guarding in place) and believe they’re above the law and sure as hell don’t want to spend the money needed to improve working conditions but rather pay fines.  OSHA has cited them again for a third time for $431,000 which is in addition to the $1.8 million fine issued earlier this year.  At one point they had 1,000 injuries which was almost one a day.  How hard is it to install locking devices or implement procedures that would prevent machines from unintentionally starting up?  It’s not hard, but you have to want to do it. Wake up Waneks and protect your employees.

Harden Furniture factory cited for 25 serious safety violations – PREVENTABLE – It looks like it’s just not only Ashley Furniture who doesn’t care about it’s worker’s safety as employees of Harden Furniture were exposed to hazards of amputation, falls, fire, electric shock or caught in unexpectedly activated machinery.  They are also a family owned business where OSHA found 25 Serious violations in the factory, yes, 25! They also issued a proposed fine of $106,200.  It was full of the usual unguarded saws, unguarded floors and platforms, obstructed and poorly lit marked exit routes, deposits of combustible residue and ungrounded electrical equipment.  This is all an accident waiting to happen especially when you let combustible wood residue and dust accumulate.  One spark is all it takes. You don’t have to work in conditions like this.  Don’t keep quiet about safety.

OSHA proposes biggest fine in Nebraska history – PREVENTABLE – Dallas Foulk, 40 and Adrian LaPour, 44 had no idea they were being sent to their deaths that day because they believed their employer, Nebraska Railcar Cleaning Services would do an air quality check to make sure it was safe before they began work.  The company knew the environment in the tank was volatile and did nothing to ensure the safety of it’s workers and when they began work it resulted in an explosion that killed them and injured a 3rd man. Due to this lack of leadership and indifference to human life, they were cited for 7 Egregious Willful, 3 Willful, 2 Repeat, 20 Serious and 1 other than safety violations and given a proposed fine of $963,000.  How can a company not monitor or care about workers in a confined space.  They didn’t monitor the air, train workers, have a hazardous waste program or prevent falls.  They used luck as their safety program and their luck just ran out. Nebraska Railcar has had 5 whistleblower complaints filed with OSHA since 2013, so why are they still allowed to operate like this and wonder why no one in management has been put on trial for manslaughter.  This was criminal to humanity.

Ohio second in fatal workplace accidents in OSHA region – NEWS – According to OSHA’s latest numbers, the state of Ohio has the 2nd highest number of workers killed on the job, behind Illinois.  Get the word out, never keep quiet about safety.

Tragic death of Brian Og Maguire sends out firm message – IRELAND – Death of a 24 year old sparks a commitment from the government.  Construction needs to be held accountable for not following safety rules.

1360 workers injured, five fatal, from forklift accidents – AUSTRALIA – They wake up and declare that forklift safety needs to be enforced.  Why have we let it get lax in the first place.  Gotta love bureaucrats.

River Metals Recycling Paducah achieves SHARP workplace safety recognition – SAFETY WINNER – Congratulations to River Metals Recycling.
CPChem Pasadena Plastics recognized by OSHA – SAFETY WINNER – Another STAR site winner.  Congrats. It can be done.

That brings this episode of Companies Behaving Badly to a close.  Thank you for stopping by and checking out the stories and please feel free to use one or all at your next tailgate/toolbox safety meeting.  Understand your rights to a safe workplace.  You do not have to do any unsafe acts and if your boss tells you too, tell them NO.  You can not be fired for refusing to perform an unsafe act.  If they want you working on a roof, you want your fall protection gear.  If they want you to work in a confined space, you want emergency retrieval and respiratory gear.  If they want you to clear a jam, do L.O.T.O.  If no one listens to your safety concerns at work, or tells you to shut up and you feel your life may be in danger.  Call the OSHA Hotline -1 (800) 321-6742. The life you save may be your own.  Until the 15th. take care my friends.

Did you change your batteries?



Companies Behaving Badly – Fall Season


Let’s get right to it, shall we?  Even though September 23 at 4:21 a.m. ET is the official time of the arrival of autumn, it appears that in the construction industry, it is Fall Season every day.  In fact ladies and gentlemen, of the top ten OSHA violations, FALLS is still by far the number 1 infraction.  When working above 6 feet it is required that you should be provided with some type of fall protection whether railings or fall protection gear.  Why would you work without any fall protection?  Who are you helping?  You think the money the company owner saves by not providing you with safety equipment is going to be shared?  NO!  It’s all going right into their pocket.  Yet there are those of you who think, I can’t lose my job or it won’t happen to me.  Really? You can predict the future or fly I guess.  In the lead story below I’m sure they thought the same thing, just before they fell and were injured.  Remember dead is forever so why would you want to be dead longer then you have too.  As of August 15th, the latest OSHA numbers available for this Fy2014, 1,125 husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, partners, boyfriends, girlfriends and teens died in industrial accidents. That’s 63 less than last year which is great.  Keep it up and watch out for each other.  If the money to operate the U.S. Government isn’t approved there will be a shut down of services and OSHA will be affected.  You know, that really, unfortunately, sounds like another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.

Eden: OSHA’s Two Lightning Strikes Hit Alabama Roofing Contractor – PREVENTABLE – Some people just have to learn things the hard way but what makes it worse is when other people get injured during their lesson. Marcus Borden, a steel and roofing contractor literally didn’t know when to come out of the rain when a severe thunderstorm hit while he had a crew of 5 working on a roof.  3 of the 5 men were seriously injured as one had his left arm amputated when thrown against the edge of a new metal roof, another suffered an injured shoulder and the third became wrapped in sheet metal, rolled off the roof and fell 30 feet breaking both wrists, tailbone, and pelvis. Not one worker was wearing fall protection equipment or had a way to exit the roof quickly!  During their investigation, OSHA found 1 willful, 4 serious and 1 other for not notifying OSHA about the hospitalized workers.  To make matters worse this slimeball of a company owner then lied to OSHA saying he had fall protection gear on site when he actually purchased it 5 days after his workers were injured and lied that they were properly tied off.  After paying OSHA $55,000 in fines, Marcus Borden then pleaded guilty to 1 count of making a false statement and sentenced to 3 years of supervised probation and 30 hours of community service.  Maybe he can teach workers how to properly wear fall protection gear and how to tie off.  Marcus Borden is another one of those greedy owners with no morals and couldn’t care less about the workers in his company.  He should be sitting in a jail cell.

OSHA: Norfolk firm tried to hide safety problems – PREVENTABLE – How low can one go?  At MP Global Products LLC the answer is, pretty low.  After a temporary worker caught his left hand in a machine, amputating 1 finger and mangling another, OSHA began an investigation.  Not only did they find 2 Willful and 22 Serious violations, (Yes that’s 22) along with a proposed fine of $244,000 but also allegedly attempted to conceal hazardous equipment by shutting down a production line when inspectors arrived and threatened workers with immediate termination if they brought safety issues to the OSHA inspectors.  Throughout the facility several machines lacked guards, there were exposed electrical wires and damaged electrical boxes.  No surprise the company was also placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

OSHA fines Austin library contractors $88K for violations – PREVENTABLE – More contractors who think very little of their workers and not bothering protecting them as they worked in an open trench but one worker knew this was wrong as they called OSHA and filed a complaint. Good move as both contractors on the job was fined after the investigation. Hansel Phelps Construction was cited 1 Willful for failing to protect workers in an excavation site while CVI Development was also cited 1 Willful and for failing to provide supports after excavating below a structure and not removing workers from the hazard.  The total proposed fines for both are $88,000 but this is just a drop in the bucket for these companies that only care about profit and very little for human life.  You do not have to work under these conditions or place your life put in danger.  In fact, if you feel in danger on the job and no one listens to your concerns call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742)

Housing authority fined $47,000 by OSHA – PREVENTABLE – You can always tell a business or government agency that is devoid of leadership in how it operates and deals with issues.  The Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority is an example as they were hit with a $47,000 fine for 1 Willful-serious and 5 serious safety violations found by the Nevada OSHA. Housing Authority employees along with a contractor were repairing a broken water main, dug a trench and of course had no cave-in protection when several areas of the excavation collapsed. A ladder that was being used by the contractor, Anytime Plumbing, was not secure and didn’t extend above the upper landing surface by 3 feet while water was accumulating in the trench.  Just one big accident waiting to happen since no one obviously had a clue as to what they were doing.  To make matters worse the Housing Authority didn’t bother to pay the fine or submit a corrective action plan as requested by the state. They also didn’t bother to notify local utilities before the work began or give any training to their workers.  They had so little training they didn’t even determine the water main’s location before they started digging.  It is only luck that no one died and why the head of the Housing Authority is still employed is beyond me.


Tallahatchie sawmill face fines up to $78,800 after inspectors find workplace safety hazards – PREVENTABLE – Tallahatchie Lumber and Mat Company is facing a $78,800 fine for 27 safety rule violations including 1 Willful.  It appears they didn’t believe in L.O.T.O. before doing maintenance on machinery and that numerous machines didn’t have protective guards or railings in place during operation and they lacked well-developed safety procedures, in other words, their safety program was based on LUCK.  Never work on any piece of machinery or equipment unless it has been properly Locked Out and Tagged Out.  You don’t want it starting up while any part of your body is in there.  You can not be forced or threatened not to do LOTO.

OSHA says Material Control Systems failed to follow machine safety procedures after man loses fingers – PREVENTABLE – A 45-year-old employee had to endure the pain and agony of having 3 fingers on his left hand amputated at work, surgery to reattach them only to have the tip of his left middle finger removed permanently because him employer, Control Systems Inc, doing business as MATCON couldn’t be bothered to make sure that guards were placed and working on machinery.  For this lapse in judgment, OSHA has fined them $63,000 and issued 1 Willful safety violation.  If a guard is removed from a machine for repairs and it is not replaced by maintenance, don’t operate the machine even if someone in management tells you that it’s o.k. this time.  It’s not!

Wegmans Facing Possible $188,000 OSHA Fine – PREVENTABLE – Don’t you wonder about a company that just doesn’t get it?  Wegmans is facing a proposed fine of $188,000 because of 3 Repeat and 2 Serious violations at their central bakery. The repeat violations are very similar hazards found in a 2011 inspection as recently a sanitation worker had a fingertip amputated by a conveyor and a mechanic suffered a burn from steam released while repairing a valve.  Sounds like plant management doesn’t understand the concept of LOTO.  Of course, Wegmans issued the usual propaganda saying how much they care about their employees.  They care so much that there were 3 Repeat violations and 2 more employees were injured.  Imagine if they didn’t care.

Man’s death at bowling alley deemed a ‘preventable workplace tragedy’PREVENTABLE – This is the second time this year an employee has been killed in a bowling alley accident which confirms that unguarded machinery is always dangerous and shouldn’t be tolerated.  Vidal Garcia, a 29-year-old U.S. Navy veteran trying to better his life by attending college while employed part-time at the bowling alley was working on a pinsetter when his shirt became caught in the moving gears.  Imagine his horror as he was slowly strangled to death by his shirt collar.  The resulting inspection by OSHA found 10 Serious safety violations and issued a proposed $50,400 fine.  The Bowling alley knew the pinsetter had issues and still sent this young man into danger and ultimately his death.  This fine is way to low but the price of human life gets cheaper and cheaper.

State report critical of Metro Public Works after sanitation worker’s death – PREVENTABLE – Here again, we have another government agency that has no leadership or direction and a 19-year-old is dead before his life really got started.  The Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration (TOSHA) investigation found that Metro Public Works failed to provide employees with safety training and failed to protect workers from the recognized hazards associated with mobile refuse collection equipment.  The young man was killed after being pinned between a building and the sanitation truck and if he had received the proper training he would have found out riding on the back step of the vehicle while it’s backing up is prohibited but because Metro didn’t believe safety training was necessary he’d dead.  The fact that co-workers didn’t stop him tells me this is an agency with breakdowns in safety, lapses in supervision and workers not following procedures, doing what they want.  Unfortunately, no one will be jailed but the whole damn management team should be terminated for their stupidity and having a blind eye to what’s going on.  If you don’t receive any training on your first day or a 5-minute training session that should be a clue the company doesn’t care about your safety.

OSHA list details how Georgians die on the job – Interesting article

Northern companies win safety awards – SAFETY AWARD – Companies recognized in Canada for their efforts in making a safe workplace.

Mohawk’s Ohio Facility Sets Safety Standard As Company Garners Awards – SAFETY AWARD WINNER – Mohawk’s Saybrook, Ohio, converting and distribution center located in Ashtabula, Ohio, has logged eleven years – the equivalent of 3 million work hours or over 4,000 days – without a lost time injury.  It can be done!

COMMENTARY – Workplace safety should not be a political issue, yet there are very small minded recycled career politicians who’re real concern is only themselves or what’s in it for them and not for the people they are supposed to serve. They rarely offer leadership as this is a trait that puts fear into them as that may cause them to actually have to work.  Two well-written articles related to this subject for your reading.  Don’t ever remain quiet about safety and that includes writing your representatives.

Editorial board: Missed opportunity on workplace safety

A Needed Step Toward Fair Pay and Workplace Safety | Commentary

Well that my friends bring another episode of Companies Behaving Badly to a close.  As always, thank you for taking time out of your busy day and spending it here.  Please feel free to share any or all of these stories at your next tailgate/toolbox safety meeting.  As we have seen time and time again, safety training is vital to any organization.  How well organized and thorough the training, speaks volumes of how much the company cares about you as an individual and employee.  Don’t keep quiet about safety.  If you are not receiving training, if machine guards are always missing, if you are not issued PPE or fall protection gear, or if anyone tampers with safety shutoffs and you feel your life is in danger and no one in management listens to your concerns, before you become another statistic call OSHA -1-800-321-OSHA (6742) and file an anonymous complaint.  The life you save may be your own. There will not be an October 1st issue of Companies Behaving Badly.  See you October 15th.  Take care.

Companies Behaving Badly – Temporary Dead Labor


Recruiting and supplying people for various jobs in various industries has gone on since the early years of mankind.  At one time the British navy used press gangs to recruit for many open positions (unwillingly) and now day laborers patiently wait in parking lots hoping to work as it’ll mean how hungry they’ll go to sleep tonight.  However, today it’s the temporary agencies that provide the bulk of labor to companies with workers and in some cases they’re nothing more than just grist for the mill.  For some agencies, who sign a big contract with a large corporation to supply their temporary workforce they become corrupted by the money and the people they’re supplying are no longer human in nature but a commodity with value. Like most corrupted people they don’t want the cash flow to end so they never bother to ask questions, never bother to inspect the potential employers premises, don’t want to understand what is done there or what skills are needed, don’t know what hazardous materials are used if any, what hazards in general they may encounter or bother to offer any kind of training or even the courtesy of a heads up that the temp is being placed in hell and could be severely injured or die.  OSHA has recently demonstrated that staffing agencies can no longer be ignorant or blind to the working conditions of the company they place workers.  All agencies should be on notice that you are responsible for your temporary employees and need to provide them with safety training, explain what PPE is required and why, and what kinds of materials they will be working with or around.   OSHA has already fined several agencies for their lack of care and will continue to do so, if you continue to provide grist for the mill. Speaking of which, we have passed the thousand mark in workers who have died in industrial accidents as 1,035 have passed as of July 25, 2015. (The latest data OSHA has compiled.  Apparently they’re behind in paper work).  The good news is at this time last year the total was 1,098, so we’re 6% drop. Nice work people.  However, that still unfortunately sounds like another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.

Company owner disputes OSHA’s portrayal of ‘willful’ violations – PREVENTABLE – A 21-year old worker, excited to be working his first day on the job and ready to begin a career suffered amputations to 4 fingers on his right hand that was severely burned by molten plastic.  His employer, Quality Blow Molding Inc. not only didn’t think it important to properly train the employee on machine safety but didn’t report the accident. The company owner said, the employee was shown what to do.  That is such a vague statement when it comes to training and I’ve been on the end of that, shown what to do training is really like.  There’s the machine, here are the switches, get it done and be careful.  Was he shown LOTO or what to do if there was a jam?  I’ve found that when training on the first day, you don’t  get to see all the incidents that can happen like you don’t see a jam and how it’s handled.  OSHA also didn’t see it that way either and fined them $171,270 for 2 Willful, 2 Repeat and 1 other than serious violations.  Yea, 2 repeat, this company was told twice before, 2014 and 2010 to fix this problem on training, LOTO and machine guards but didn’t get the message and now a young man has been changed for life.

OSHA cites Dyson Corp. after worker loses part of finger – PREVENTABLE – Another young man, a 23-year old has paid the price for his employers lack of a safety program and had trusted that his employer, Dyson Corporation would keep him safe. The inspection that followed the accident found 2 Willful, 3 Repeat and 3 Serious violations and handed a proposed fine of $170,170 as well as placed into the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.  Workers were not trained on safety procedures or placing machine guards.  This will be interesting to follow as the company brain trust has reached out to OSHA and after years of repeat violations may have gotten the message and wants to change their evil ways. Let’s hope it’s just not talk to reduce their fine and they do make an honest effort to improve safety.

Lancaster battery recycler facing OSHA fines – PREVENTABLE – How would you feel if you found out your employer was exposing you to lead and other harmful substances on a daily basis even after they’ve been told to fix the problem by OSHA?  Well that’s how employees of Retriev Technologies Inc. must feel as they were cited for 8 Repeat and 1 lesser than serious violation and a proposed fine of $74,250.  The biggest issue is improvements to the plant’s ventilation systems to remove the toxins from the air.  However if workers are being exposed to unsafe levels of toxins I don’t understand why the plant is allowed to continue as it seems we’re only creating future illnesses requiring treatment down the road.

 Your social success

Your social success

OSHA cites moving company for heat-related death – PREVENTABLE – A 49 year old worker for Select Van and Storage was packing and loading boxes inside a moving truck where the heat index reached 112 degrees. The worker suffered heat stroke and later died.  The OSHA investigation found 1 Serious violation for exposing the worker to such extreme temperatures.  They were also cited for not reporting the death within the specified time and this earned them a fine of $12,000.  This death was senseless and preventable. Learn the signs of heat stroke and stay hydrated by drinking water and take breaks to cool off when working in high heat.

Federal regulators again cite Latite Roofing for worker-safety violations – PREVENTABLE – Latite Roofing and Sheet Metal doesn’t seem to have a problem putting their workers in harms way.  They have been cited again for exposing their workers to dangerous falls of 10 – 20 feet and not providing fall protection.  This time 6 Serious violations were found at a work site and a proposed fine of $136,000 was issued.  They have been cited 9 times in the past 5 years including the death of a 55 year old worker who was told to keep working during a thunderstorm and was killed when struck by lightening.  Why a company is allowed to continue to disregard workers safety is beyond me.  This company also is one of hundreds of contractors who illegally misclassify its employees as independent on government building projects so they can skip out on federal taxes and undercut when bidding against companies who do it the legal way.  So you can see why the owner has no problem putting workers in danger, he has no morals at all, just the love of money.

Maine roofing contractor held in contempt for OSHA violations – PREVENTABLE – Like we used to say in the 70’s, Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time. That would have been great advice for general contractor Stephen Lessard who is now being held in contempt of court for outstanding fines of $405,000.  The company Lessard Bros. Construction Inc. had 11 safety violations at 11 different worksites between 2000 and 2011. He had no problem putting his workers at risk during that time period by sending them to work of roof tops without any safety equipment while he collected his money for the jobs while he then refused to correct the violations or pay the fines and now he stands the chance of going to jail. Why he wasn’t in jail sooner for his lack of safety for workers only makes one wonder and the best thing that could happen is he is totally put out of business so he can no longer put people in danger.


OSHA records show previous citations for roofing company in Vikings stadium accident – Jeramie Gruber, a 35 year old construction worker and husband who greatly enjoyed the outdoors and being an uncle had no idea that today would be his last day alive as he fell 50 feet to his death off the roof top of the new Minnesota Vikings stadium.  His employer, A Berwald Roofing Company has a poor record of safety for their workers as they have received numerous citations.  Even though this company has been cited 9 times for Serious safety violations in the last 5 years, 6 for lack of fall protection, they were still awarded a $3.4 million contract on the new stadium.  In fact fall protection was the most cited standard in the construction industry in Minnesota as 564 were issued in FY2014.  The most telling sign of this company’s lack of commitment to safety was the comment made by one of the moron owners Eugene Berwald, “People do foolish things. They don’t hook up their lanyards”.  Eugene apparently doesn’t understand the concept of supervision or disciplinary consequences when safety rules are not followed.  When you put a project out to bid the lowest price isn’t always the best value as the safety record of a company should also be considered and if OSHA ever gets there national registry completed, people will be able to see which companies don’t care about the safety of their workers.

Workplace safety Bill passes, faces criticism – NEW ZEALAND – After much debate and input from workers and companies New Zealand has a new workplace safety bill even though there is criticism that the bill has been watered down as it was developed.  We’ll keep an eye on the developments going on here.

Contractors awarded for safety record – SAFETY WINNER – There are honest and safety oriented contractors out there that have proven you can do it the right way as Newtron Beaumont LLC was recognized for their efforts and commitment of getting all their workers to go home in one piece at the end of the day.  GREAT JOB!

IN DOL Honors Kimball Office-Salem as a Leader in Workplace Safety and Health Excellence – SAFETY WINNER – Kimball Office-Salem has achieved certification in the Indiana Voluntary Protection Program and recognized as leaders in workplace safety.  It can be done folks.
That brings this episode of Companies Behaving Badly to a close.  Thank you for taking time out of your hectic day and stopping by to read the blog.  As always please don’t hesitate to share any or all of these stories at your next safety tailgate/toolbox meeting.  Safety is very much like a team sport as it takes everyone, fully committed to make the program work. It is not just up to the company to keep you safe, it’s up to you as well. Never keep quiet about safety and if you feel that your life is in danger at work, or the company is not listening to your concerns about safety or you have had your job threatened because you refuse to commit an unsafe act, call OSHA and file an anonymous complaint at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).  The life you save may be your own.  Until the 15th. stay well my friends.

Coaching – The Glue That Binds it All

Steve Kerr - Golden State Warriors

Steve Kerr – Golden State Warriors

This was originally published on August 9th.2013 as A Complete Guide To Warehouse Safety-Volume VI-Coaching, the glue that binds it all. In light of the Golden State Warriors winning the NBA Championship with basically the same personnel on the floor they had when they were eliminated in the first round last year with the only significant change in the coach and his staff.  You know the results and I can’t say it enough, you can have the greatest player in the world on your team, but without coaching and leadership you won’t achieve the goal. 

I hope this journey down the Green Brick Road of Safety has been as educational for you as it’s been  a pleasant surprise for me by the great responses from you, the readers to this series.  Thank you all.  Along this odyssey we have been introduced to many different ways of protecting employees at the workplace, beginning with the initial step, Hazard Analysis which demonstrated how to identify potential dangers to employees.  Soon after that we had PPE exhibiting the latest styles in protective wear and then Housekeeping showed the positive results of keeping a neat and organized facility.  Soon after we ran into Emergency Ready which keeps one prepared for the worst and had Good Tailgates show how to teach and inform.  So as you can see they are all equally important for a safe working warehouse, and then you wonder, with all these components in place is there still any more that can be done to keep all employees safe?  YES.  It’s called Coaching (I use the word coaching but you can use leadership as well) and it is the glue that binds all of these things together.

Bruce Bochy - S.F. Giants

Bruce Bochy – S.F. Giants

Coaching goes well beyond training.  When training you are teaching the employee a specific skill set, or a routine or procedure like how to drive a forklift, how to properly lift a box, or how to handle a liquid spill.  However with coaching you’re building people into great employees by improving their self esteem, confidence and knowledge.  Coaching corrects behavior or performance issues without threat of punishment which should only be used as a last resort.  A coach sets the standard that everyone in the warehouse/facility will be following for safety, performance, and professionalism along with the level of tolerance for infractions. A coach does not allow employees to engage in horseplay of any kind while working but gives time to talk and blow off steam and reward their efforts.  A coach is an advocate for their employees and shows them, “Yes, they can do it” when helping them learn a new skill and improving their ability to earn more income and a coach makes sure they themselves always set an example for all.

As in any sport and at work a coach makes sure you’re prepared for the upcoming match and ready to execute the game plan.  A coach begins each work day with a morning huddle to keep you informed, focused and motivated to elevate your level of performance.   A good coach knows that they need to counsel employees in private, praise them in public, brag about them to the upper brass and to engage staff and listen to their feedback for growth and continuous improvement.  Above all a great coach knows to always says thank you for a job well done.

A coach creates an atmosphere conducive for learning and where employees can feel free to ask questions and freely engage in the exchange of ideas without fear of ridicule.  A coach delivers timely tailgate/toolbox meetings, interesting monthly safety meetings that involves the staff in presentations.  The coach should almost always direct on the playing field itself and not issue commands entrenched from behind their desk. A coach knows they need to be on the floor so they can encourage, critique, answer questions as well as observe and document the good along with the bad and offer obtainable goals and objectives to grow and retain employees.  So when the Scarecrow doesn’t feel it necessary to LOTO, or the Tin Man forgets to wear his PPE or the Lion frets about training on a new piece of equipment and the accident prone Wicked Witch creates havoc on the shop floor, you can always spot the coach, they’re the one keeping cool, assessing the situation, reassuring everyone and keeps things going without so much as skipping a beat.  So you see the COACH is really the glue. 

Folks, we’ve finally come to the end of the GREEN BRICK ROAD OF SAFETY and arrived at our destination, the safe warehouse.  It’s not hard to do if you follow all the segments shown through out the series and you make the necessary time available to do it properly.  I promise you, it will be time well spent and worth every penny.  You are not alone in making warehouse safety a priority.  They are many advocates out there and the information is free on the internet.  Become a safety advocate yourself, get involved on your company safety committee and if there isn’t one, start it!  Keep your fellow employees safe.  If you do need any help or have questions on safety, need a review or hazard analysis WarehouseFlow Consulting is there for you.  Until we meet again on our next journey.

Golden State Warriors - 2014-2015 NBA Champions

Golden State Warriors – 2014-2015 NBA Champions


Companies Behaving Badly – Rushing To Die



Seems to be we are always rushing these days. Rushing to work, rushing home, rushing to the weekend, rushing to die. When it comes to accidents, sometimes it is your fault. You know what I mean. The boss is not watching, you’re feeling lazy, it’s so close to shifts end, you’re angry, you’re worried, you’re distracted, you’re impatient, so you cut corners, “this time only” is the justification from the voice in your head and then it happens.  When “IT” happens let’s look at 2 possible scenarios shall we?

A – You’re working on the top floor of a 5 story building moving materials and doing repairs.  You are wearing your fall prevention gear which is properly anchored. You are in one of the above mentioned moods. You lose focus, trip and fall off the roof but are suddenly jolted to a halt because the gear you wore just saved your life. While you are profusely thanking your deity, you also get the opportunity to learn a valuable lesson and work another day.
B – You’re working on the top floor of a 5 story building moving materials and doing repairs.  You are NOT wearing any fall prevention gear since you don’t need it because those things only happen to the other guy. You are in one of the above mentioned moods.  You lose focus, trip and fall off the roof but the sudden jolt this time is your head impacting the concrete ground below, splintering in hundreds of pieces. You die. No second chance, no opportunity, just dead. Which one do you go with? A or B?

No excuses folks and don’t use your boss as an excuse, wear your fall protection gear. As of April 18th. (the latest data from OSHA), 706 people have died in industrial accidents and that’s just about half way into the fiscal year.  701 in the same time period last year which is good and bad news.  Good – not much more, Bad – not much less either. Don’t ever be quiet about safety, you do not deserve to die on the job because of incompetent or greedy management.  Oh man, you know this unfortunately sounds like yet another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.

OSHA: Lloyd Industries in Montgomery Township fined more than $800K – PREVENTABLE – As I’ve said to you all many times before, a willful violation means the company couldn’t care less if you die on the job even though they know full well that could happen. So what do you think about how Lloyd Industries cares about their employees after OSHA found 10 Willful violations!  Yes my friends, this duct manufacturer’s management had no problem or concern that their own employees were having fingers amputated, suffering serious lacerations as well as crushed, fractured and dislocated fingers because for what ever reason they believe in running machinery without safety guards.  Lack of machine guards wasn’t the only issue. They also came up with the money saving idea of discontinuing their audiometric testing program which shouldn’t surprise anyone since they didn’t worry about the loss of body parts why would deafness be a concern. For all this the pending fine is $822,000 and when you add up everything since 2000 to now they’ve been assessed a total of $1 million in fines and earned them a spot in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.  There have also been 40 serious injuries during that same time period.  It is truly disgusting to see people treat other people in this manner and why this owner(s) is not in a jail cell I don’t understand.

OSHA cites $193K in penalties after Burnett Dairy worker dies in grain bin – PREVENTABLE – Again here is another company that knowingly allowed dangers to exist and this time a 52 year old long time employee died.  Burnett Dairy was cited with 2 Willful and 8 Serious safety violations, was placed in the Sever Violator Enforcement Program and a proposed fine of $193,200 because they couldn’t be bothered to LOTO a drag conveyor while the worker was trying to clear a clog in a bin when he was buried in corn and suffered a horrible death. This is a case where the person who operates the facility should be on trial for manslaughter.

     Geoffrey Schmidt

Geoffrey Schmidt

OSHA cites Kewanee factory for January death – PREVENTABLEGeoffrey Schmidt a 21 year old worker at the beginning of his journey was killed on the job in a forklift related accident.  The OSHA investigation found 4 Serious violations and proposed fine of $28,000. This was due to the fact that his employer Great Dane Limited Partnership didn’t think training was important as they lacked initial training for forklift operators, allowed employees to pass or stand under raised forks of a lift and forklifts not properly parked as the operator was not within 25 feet and the load still in the air and break not set. When ever you are out of sight of or more than 25 feet from a forklift, properly park it.  That means break on, forks lowered to ground and engine turned off. That’s it, no exceptions.  Never walk under raised forks with a load. Think of it as walking under a ladder, bad luck and dangerous.

OSHA proposes $50K fine for local paper company – PREVENTABLE – A routine inspection of Clearwater Paper Corporation by OSHA found 9 Serious violations and handed a proposed fine of $50,000.  The response by their V.P. of public affairs was the usual, employee safety is taken seriously and it’s our number one priority. Right, wink wink, nudge, nudge, it was so much a priority that the company lacked procedures for L.O.T.O. during repairs, lacked safety guards on operating machine parts, risk of amputation, lacked eye wash stations & safety latches on crane hooks as well as lacked guard rails to prevent falls over dangerous equipment. I think their corporate brass should get in touch with reality and visit the plant to take a good look at what management is doing by trying to cut corners on safety.

Westfarms Mall Forever 21 Fined $165,000 for Workplace Hazards: OSHA PREVENTABLE – No one is going to be forever 21 when having to work in such hazardous conditions.  Forever 21 is facing a fine of $165,000 for various safety violations found in many of it’s stores.  Their corporate safety plan appears to be based on luck and apparently doesn’t believe in training staff since that will cost money.  OSHA found employees having to work with emergency exits and hallways blocked by inventory, boxes unsafely stacked as high as 10 feet posing a hazard and open boxes scattered all over. This not only puts workers in danger but customers as well but when you’re trying to make a profit and pushing as much product as possible, safety only becomes an after thought if at all.


Americold Logistics in Manchester facing $47,300 penalty for safety hazards, OSHA says – PREVENTABLE – Nothing burns my butt more then a double standard and mixed message to employees. You take the time, effort and money to train your forklift drivers to follow proper procedures, pound it into their heads about safety, being vigilant and doing daily inspections and red tagging forklifts that are in need of repair and then when it’s convenient for you, the manager who’s suppose to be offering leadership and keeping your workers safe, tell them to go ahead and use the forklifts. What kind of message are you sending Americold Logistics?  Some of the employees became confused as well by this double standard and 3 of them filled complaints with OSHA. Safety is not a matter of convenience, it’s a matter of consistently enforcing the rules.  For the lapse in intelligence they are facing a $47,300 fine. Someone needs to sit down and retrain their management staff.

Oregon OSHA fines aircraft cleaning contractor at PDX – PREVENTABLE – OregonOSHA responding to 2 employee complaints on their employer, Prospect Airport Services, a cleaning service contractor at Portland International Airport found 5 Serious health and safety violations and proposed a fine of $1,140. Prospect had workers using vehicles without seat belts for all riders, inadequate eye or face protection while using sanitizers, using issued gloves that didn’t offer enough protection, not provided with eyewash or shower while using harsh cleaners and didn’t have a written hazard communication program.  Now you know why the employees complained. When companies bid for contracts as Prospect must have, the lowest price shouldn’t be the only consideration.  You should look at their safety record and audit their safety program to make sure this is someone you want to do business with.

Tenn. Contractor Appeals OSHA Fine, Judge Increases It – UPDATE – I really enjoy this one. A contractor had appealed their willful violation involved with a crane collapse and the judge not only upheld it but raised the fine.

Report: North Dakota Again Leads Nation in Worker Fatality Rate – MOST DANGEROUS STATE – North Dakota has the distinction of being the most dangerous state 3 years in a row.  Check out the article as the booming oil and gas industries are leading to more deaths of workers.

Make company directors personally liable for workplace deaths – AUSTRALIA – Read the article. They are going to make the company directors liable for workplace deaths which is something that needs to happen here as well.

Well my friends that brings another episode of Companies Behaving Badly to a close. Thank you for stopping by to take the time to read these articles and please don’t hesitate to use any of them at your next tailgate/toolbox safety meeting. Don’t know if you noticed but it appears more and more employees are filling complaints with OSHA.  A worker has to be pretty frustrated and at their wits end to finally make that call to OSHA.  It usually begins by bringing up the safety issues to their supervisor and getting no response or worse, some half assed comment. They go to H.R. and again nothing changes and now they are labeled as a complainer or told they’re not being a team player.  Then they see a fellow worker have a near miss or injured and still nothing changes so finally they call. NEVER blow off an employee when they’re trying to tell you about safety issues, because once OSHA is involved it’s going to cost you plenty.  Not just in money, but reputation and trust by your workers.  Remember, never stay quiet about safety for the life you safe may be your own.  Until next month, be safe.



Companies Behaving Badly – Child’s Play


Silence may be golden but not when it comes to workplace safety. Never keep quiet about safety. It’s May and the kids will be out there looking for jobs and showing up at your place of work maybe as an intern, seasonal or temporary agency worker or maybe someone looking for a career. Before you go rolling your eyes because you feel put out by the those rookies running around in your shop and dreading it, think positive. This is an opportunity for you to be a mentor, a molder of minds and developing a future top employee or CEO.  You know when you began working you would have loved to have had someone there to show you the ropes instead of yelling what a bonehead you are?  It’s not your job? Who says? You want co-workers that are as good as you, why not demonstrate why you are that good.  I experienced it both ways, the leaders and the managers.  The ones I learned from went on to become great leaders in their fields and we formed great relationships.  Take that extra step and help that young worker have a great learning experience and you’ll leave a legacy forever.  For the young workers out there, Never stay quiet.  Ask questions. You are here to learn, there is no such thing as a stupid question but don’t operate anything until you’ve been shown and trained how.  That unfortunately sounds like yet another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.

 Russell J. Scharenbroch

Russell J. Scharenbroch

Michigan OSHA fines injection molder PREVENTABLE – When Russell Scharenbroch left for work that Friday he was probably thinking about plans for the weekend with his wife and 6 beautiful children.  He had no idea that he would not be coming home that day as the 34 year old worker was inside a molding machine that was left in automatic mode while he cleaned when another worker cycled the machine which then closed on Russell, crushing him to death.  His employer Grand Rapids Plastics Inc. couldn’t be bothered with enforcing the use of L.O.T.O. It’s quite possible some idiot told the boss how much time they could save by keeping the machines running and the $$ of lost production by observing the LOTO process.  For this indifference to human life the MichiganOSHA has hit them with a $558,000 proposed fine for 3 Willful serious violations related to Russell’s death including inadequate training and not using LOTO devices but then days after the accident investigation, when OSHA began looking at the whole operation they found 6 more willful serious for a grand total of 49 violations. This company had not bothered to develop any kind of safety culture and had been cited 10 times from 2011-2014 and have earned a spot on the federal Severe Violator Enforcement Program. I do greatly applaud the large fine but in my opinion since this involved several willful violations and an employee death, the owner(s) and management should be on trial for manslaughter.

First Capital Insulation exposes 3 to asbestos dangers, OSHA says – PREVENTABLE – A willful violation according to OSHA is when an employer knowingly fails to comply with a legal requirement or acted with indifference to employee safety or as I like to put it, they knew of the danger to workers but couldn’t care less what happened to them and First Capital Insulation really couldn’t care as they were found to have 7 Willful violations and were handed a proposed fine of $490,000.  First Capital not only exposed workers to asbestos dangers removing thermal pipe insulation but also failed to make sure respirators fit correctly and didn’t decontaminate workers and clothing before they left the worksite which means workers were bringing those asbestos fibers home or left in their vehicles to be inhaled.  First Capital is an environmental services company that apparently loves green, the green of money as a safety program protecting workers costs money. For these actions of disregard to human life they should be suspended from doing any future business for at least a year.

Bumble Bee Tuna, two former employees charged in 2012 death at Santa Fe Springs plant – PREVENTABLE – This goes back to 2012 where another life was lost on the job because of complacency and now the Los Angles County District Attorney’s Office is doing something about it.  Jose Melena a 62 year old employee who had worked there for 6 years was loading ovens with tuna when he stopped to make repairs on a chain. Somehow he was trapped in the oven and was burned to death.  The original CalOSHA investigation found 6 violations, 5 Serious for a proposed fine of $73,995.  They failed to perform inspections or audits, failed to determine whether the industrial ovens constituted permit-required confined spaces or post warning signs for workers about confined space or have a confined space training program.  It also turns out that Bumble Bee hadn’t bothered to report employee injuries as required by law. One worker amputated a finger and another suffered a fractured skull.  Now the D.A. has filed charges against Bumble Bee as well as Saul Florez, a former Bumble Bee safety manager and Angel Rodriguez a former Bumble Bee director of plant operations.  For all you newbies out there, if you are required to climb into a confined location like a tank, vault or other enclosed area that has only one way in and one way out, don’t go into until you are trained on confined space.  If they tell you it’s not needed call OSHA.


Mississippi Contractor Willfully Ignores Fall Protection Standards that Lead to Worker’s Death PREVENTABLE – For Gerald Moran, a 42 year old father to two boys, it was like every other workday except today, Gerald would lose his balance on the balcony he was working on and because there wasn’t a railing to prevent his fall, Gerald fell more than 20 feet and died eight days later. His employer, Thomas Matthews Framing LLC, didn’t think it was important enough to provide fall protection to it’s employees working over 6 feet high and for that OSHA slapped them with 1 Willful and 2 Serious violations along with a proposed fine of $58,700 and proposed placement in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program. The company also didn’t provide guardrails on scaffolding more than 10 feet above a lower level and didn’t provide training to recognize and prevent fall hazards.  Oh and they also forgot to report the death to OSHA. Here again, a willful violation has led to a death of an individual trying to provide for his family. Someone should be on trial.

Corning manufacturer cited, penalized by OSHA – PREVENTABLE – An employee had seen enough and filed a complaint with OSHA against his employer, Mid-America Steel Products Inc. The resulting inspection confirmed his complaint as they found a total of 19 violations, 17 were Serious along with a fine of $41,200.  They ranged from failing to maintain a hearing conservation program, (workers were exposed to noise levels above 85 decibels) didn’t provide required training and there was no guarding on the machinery exposing them to possible amputations.  You do not have to tolerate unsafe working conditions and you should be provided, free of charge, with hearing and sight protection when it is required.

OSHA proposes nearly $200k in fines after workers’ fatal tower fall – PREVENTABLE – NO matter how many times people survive not wearing fall protection gear when working at heights over 6 feet, there is always going to be that one time when “IT” happens. Even if your employer doesn’t offer you fall protection or train you to use it don’t be a fool.  Insist on it.  Florjan Nilaj and Gazmend Vukaj are both dead because their employer V&T Painting LLC. didn’t insist or train them to wear proper fall protection. Upon their inspection OSHA found a total of 30 violations between the tower and other worksites.  30!  Scaffolds were not designed properly, no assembled correctly, their safety program was built on a wing and a prayer.  For this lack of safety protocol a proposed fine of $199,000 is pending.  If it looks unsafe to you, it probably is unsafe. Don’t be afraid to speak up.


Workplace safety remains elusive as 44 Australians killed at work in 2015 – AUSTRALIA – Even down under they are dealing with making the workplace a much safer environment.  There have been 44 deaths so far this year. Read what areas they mostly occur.

NOM-006-STPS-2014 on Health and Safety Conditions in the Handling and Warehousing of Materials Takes Effect in Mexico – MEXICO – New tougher rules on safety have taken effect in Mexico. Check out the article and I applaud them for taking this step in safety especially with all the American companies with operations there.

Eight Michelin Plants In The U.S. Recognized For Workplace Safety – CONGRATULATIONS – U.S. Michelin was recognized at the annual Rubber Manufacturers Association meeting as 2 plants were given excellence in worker health and safety awards and 6 plants were acknowledged for significant improvement. It can be done!

Young workers not speaking up about unsafe workplaces, study finds – CHANGING CULTURE – You should never be afraid to ask a question. Not everybody learns exactly the same way. When you begin a new job you should be given some sort of orientation explaining how and when you get paid, where the restrooms are, when and how long breaks are and where and when the work schedule is posted.  If you work in the food industry or with chemicals you should receive training on proper cleaning and handling and storage of chemicals.  If at any time you are not sure about something, ask.  I always suggest taking notes during training and asking lots of questions. Don’t just nod like a bobble head.


That my friends brings yet another episode of Companies Behaving Badly to a close.  Thank you for stopping by and taking time to read these stories and hopefully they will begin a serious dialogue on workplace safety. As always please feel free to use any of these stories at your next safety tailgate/toolbox meeting.  Buffalo Springfield said it in their song For What It’s Worth, “Young people speaking their minds. Getting so much resistance from behind.”  Don’t ever be afraid to ask a question or speak up if something doesn’t appear right.  As a new and young worker your energy and enthusiasm will offend some and they will give you some resistance but don’t take it personal, blow it off and keep moving on.  There are no dues to pay, lessons to learn, hazing, initiations or secret ceremonies. Listen, learn and ask questions but never come through as a know it all.  You will cut off avenues of communication that are vital to your development as a worker. Taking the time to listen to some of the veteran workers long stories is worth more than any training video.  As they talk listen but watch their hands, the tools, the parts and what they do. Remember you never have to perform an unsafe act against your will. Stay safe and take care. Until the 15th, be safe,the life you save may be your own.


Companies Behaving Badly – Knocking At Death’s Door

My first real job was working at a supermarket.  It was full of dangers and accidents waiting to happen and I was young and stupid, not a good combination.  There was no safety or other training back then as you were just pointed to your work station and told to watch someone else do it for a while until you were told you’re ready.  We had a conveyor belt in the supermarket that ran from the basement to the first floor to get product up or down and we also used it as a short cut to get here and there as quickly as possible.  One day coming up the belt I slipped and my foot got caught in the gap between the top roller and wall but I was lucky and pulled it out quickly escaping injury but putting a good scare into me for a little while. Then one day an employee got their hand crushed using the conveyor and we were told not to use it for transportation any longer, but we still did as the consequences were, well never really spelled out what they were.  Soon after I had my first industrial accident.  While using a box cutter I committed a rookie mistake and cut towards me and wound up putting a nice gash in my thigh.  At first I was more upset about cutting my jeans then my thigh. Remember there was no training and we were never told what to do in an emergency.  You learned as you went.  Our assistant manager was on duty at the time but he usually would take naps in a corner of the basement on his bed of paper products after a few shots.  He was a dear man sober but a SOB when drunk and was out cold when I found him so I left and went to my doctor since the bleeding was beginning to upset some of my co-workers.  I returned the next day all stitched up and ready for work when I ran into the Spanish Inquisition. The manager and the assistant manager berated me publicly as the RULES were finally explained to us on injuries, report it to them first!  Privately I was thanked by the assistant manager for my discretion since I didn’t explain why I couldn’t report it and was given this advise, “If it happens again, or any emergency, don’t be afraid to wake me!”  I was lucky and I was able to learn and grow from my experiences.  That was 45 years ago so I have a real problem that in 2015 a 19 year old dies a horrible death on his second day on the job because he didn’t receive any training and his peers weren’t any help either!  He never got a chance to make a mistake and learn from it.  Like I was 45 years ago, he was just pointed to his job and told, get going.  Any job you begin and you don’t receive any training and told what Personal Protective Equipment you need to wear or what to do in an emergency – LEAVE!  They don’t care what happens to you.  Oh man, this really unfortunately sounds like another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.

       Bradley Hogue

Bradley Hogue

State agency asks for criminal charges in teen’s workplace death – PREVENTABLE – We first covered this tragic story of Bradley Hogue, a 19 year old who was killed on his second day on the job, in the January 15th issue of Companies Behaving Badly.   After their investigation, the Washington State department of Labor and Industries fined Pacific Topsoils $199,000 for 2 willful and 12 serious violations as Bradley died trying to clear a jam in an auger that was spreading bark.  He was not trained, not shown how to properly clear a jam or how to do LOTO.  A moving conveyor was the only place to stand to clear the jam.  This could have been prevented but NO ONE at Pacific Topsoils bothered to tell him it was ok to turn it off before standing on it and apparently was the common practice to keep it running.  Now Washington L&I is seeking criminal charges against the company for their blatant disregard for a human life cutting short his journey.  WELL DONE!  Since there were 2 Willful violations related to the death, prison time is well in order.

Nabors Subsidiary Sanctioned by OSHA for ‘Preventable’ Death – PREVENTABLE – Dustin Ray Payne had survived tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and as a Marine, always knew the members of his unit had his back under any conditions.  After serving his country proud Dustin was ready to begin a career, settle down, he got engaged, and pursue his version of the American dream.  When he began working for Nabors Completion and Production Services Company, Dustin believed his employer would have his back and not let him weld on a tank that wasn’t washed out and still contained explosive vapors. The explosion ended this 28 year old’s journey as a company killed him in America. OSHA found 1 Willful and 4 serious violations along with a proposed fine of $92,000 and placed them on the OSHA’s list of Severe Violator Enforcement Program.  This was willful intent and someone should be on trial for this Marine’s death.  However Nabors Industries LTD.,a Bermuda-based company has a history of killing workers.  Read the article and wonder as I do how the leadership of this company can look at themselves in the mirror while they comfort their guilt with the profits they reap.

OSHA: Lack of Cave-In Protections Led to Trench Collapse PREVENTABLE – Oscar Portillo and Selvin Zelaya were probably caught by surprise as the walls of the deep trench they were in collapsed onto them and suffocating them to death.  There was no retrieval system in use and the trench that ran 9-13 feet deep had no supports to keep the walls up.  Their employer, Bednar Landscape Services Inc. had put them in harms way as OSHA issued 1 Willful and 9 serious safety violations.  As you know a willful violation means that Bednar knew of the danger they put those men into but couldn’t care less what happened to them.  Shoring those walls and having cave-in protection costs money and that cuts into profits.  The $77,000 fine issued by OSHA is nothing and again this is a case where management should be on trial.


Southbury Builder Faces $52K Fine for Exposing Workers to Potential Fall Hazards: Officials PREVENTABLE – Some companies for what ever reason just don’t seem to care what kind of dangers they place their employees into.  Rock Hard Homes, Inc. (like their heads) was cited by OSHA for 4 repeat and 1 serious violation of workplace fall safety standards along with a proposed fine of $52,360.  The repeat violations are related to the same lack of fall protection at their worksites in 2011 and 2013 as they failed to give workers adequate fall protection systems while they worked on a pitched roof 28 feet off the ground, allowing workers to walk on surfaces without fall protection while exposed to falls through holes and improper use of portable ladders to access upper landings and use of defective equipment.  With falls being the number one cause of death in the construction industry the workers need to start speaking up and not putting up with this any longer.  Protect yourselves and wear fall protection.  If they don’t offer it call OSHA – 800-321-OSHA (6742)

Barron company facing penalties from OSHA PREVENTABLE – An employee of Koser Iron Works Inc. had seen enough and called OSHA to file a complaint. No wonder he called as they found 2 Willful, 4 repeated and 12 serious safety violations which included lack of training and PPE.  For this a proposed fine of $102,180 was issued as similar hazards were found in 2013 (also based on an employee complaint) like no LOTO, failed to ensure safety mechanisms were in place.  They also didn’t bother to certify or train their forklift drivers and exposed workers to fire hazards or issue PPE.  As these employees who filed complaints decided, you don’t have to work under these conditions.

Beacon Industries Fined for OSHA Violations PREVENTABLE – Beacon industries must use LUCK as their safety program as they went for the gold a were found to have 18 serious violations of workplace safety standards along with a proposed fine of $71,100.  The violations ran from employees exposed to dangers that could cause cuts, crushing injuries, electrocution and amputation.  They also didn’t bother to properly train workers and weren’t issued PPE.  Again, why bother with safety, it costs money and cuts into valuable profits and bonuses. Don’t become a statistic.

USPS out of order as usual

USPS out of order as usual

OSHA Demands Changes To Workplace Conditions At Lincoln Park Postal Facility – PREVENTABLE – Yet another US Postal Service facility is cited by OSHA and this time it was based on an employee complaint.  Sad when one quasi-government organization feels that it has to call another government organization to get protection for the workers.  The inspection found 2 repeat and 5 other violations with a proposed fine of $63,540.  The repeats were electrical outlets not used properly and improperly grounded fans.  They also found unapproved electrical equipment and improperly spliced cords. True to form the USPS said it is addressing the problem but offered no timetable.  They can’t as their leadership is so inept they never know when they’ll fix a problem if at all.  They would never give us any estimates on completion and it took 82 days to replace a community mail box and the machine in the picture above has no estimate for repair either.  It’s time to shut down this waste of time, money and labor called the Postal Service.

OSHA Issues New Guidelines on Workplace Violence Prevention for Healthcare – Workplace violence is very much a safety issue and should be taken very seriously.  OSHA has released an update to its Guidelines for Preventing Workplace Violence for Healthcare and Social Service Workers.  Please take the time to read this well written article from the National Law Review.

Gateway Safety’s Glasses-To-Goggles Eyewear – PPE – Gateway Safety has announced the launch of Swap MAG, a unique safety eyewear solution that converts from safety glasses to goggles, now with bifocal magnification. Check it out.

That brings another episode of Companies Behaving Badly to a close. Thank you for stopping by a taking time to read the articles and as always please feel free to share any or all at your next tailgate/toolbox safety meeting.  I would ask that you just mention you found them here, witzshared.  We all need to work together to make workplace safety happen.  If you see a new guy about to make a horrible mistake don’t just shake your head and mutter, “moron” but be a hero, be a mentor and show them the right way.  It only takes a few minutes and it doesn’t hurt to be kind and you never know what new friendships can develop. You were there once and you know you would have loved to have had someone show you the ropes.  We want our young people to succeed and develop not die young.  Remember the life that you save may be your own.  Until next month my friends.

Burns My Butt – Death Wish

I had previously posted about this construction group and how sloppy a site they’re maintaining.  It is obvious that these workers received no training, have no supervision, don’t care about their own safety and couldn’t care less about putting the residents that live here in danger. (For the record, I don’t live here).

Some numbers for you to think about while you look at the photos below. 2012 – Of 775 construction deaths 269 (34.7%) were from falls.  2013 – Of 796 construction deaths 294 (36.9%) were from falls. When you see someone like the worker below on a roof, alone without any fall protection you know why the numbers are going up.

This is an exit used by the residents.  The contractor leaves a ladder, bucket and trash right outside the door.  There is NO sign on the inside of the door to warn you of workers outside.  One resident told me the contractor left a ladder partially blocking the main door over the weekend.


Generator running sitting in the walkway and there are no signs or cones to warn you of the operating machinery and the hose runs across the walkway and again there is no signage.





Notice the boards overlapping to cover the open gap. They are shifting since they are not anchored in any manner.







The bases are not totally flat on the ground.  At least half of the board is hanging over the dirt area which is at least an inch shorter.




This guy apparently has a death wish.  Working on the roof of a 3 story building without any safety equipment.




How lucky do you feel today?











This is what a  poorly run, unsafe operation looks like and unfortunately gives all honest law abiding contractors a bad name.


Burns My Butt – today

When you accept the lowest bidder, are you still getting safety with that bid?  Do you ever consider the vendor’s safety record before awarding a contract?  Do you care?

Today in the city of Vallejo I came across this intersection.  I was amazed how close to harms way these workers were placed.

We wonder why the number of work related deaths this year is 9% higher than last year.  This needs to stop.