Safety Lessons Learned From Wile E. Coyote 4


Today’s lesson learned from the Wile E. Coyote school of safety where they constantly defy the laws of physics, perverse the rules of nature and live in animated immortality.  But here gravity always rules.


LESSON 4 Preventing Falls: Falls don’t just occur off the top of a building but can happen in facilities where production occurs within buildings of several stories including several levels of mezzanines and conveyors belts.  Lack of railings, guard rails or open holes in floors are especially dangerous in these areas since you are not wearing fall protection gear so if you drop the only thing stopping you is the bottom.  If you were to slip or trip in an elevated area the safety railing/guard rail is there to stop you from going over the side preventing serious injury or death.


If a section of safety railing needs to be removed for repairs or replacement it should be completed as fast as possible and not wind up on a backburner.  Until the railing is back in place properly mark the area as hazardous with signs and cones and limit the amount of traffic.  As far as the odd holes in the floor, they’re usually the result of machinery that use to operate in that space.  Why some companies leave the holes I’ll never understand as it’s dangerous and illegal to do so. How can you concentrate on your job when you have to wonder if you’re taking your last step.  In areas where a lot of debris is created makes the holes even harder to find.  Cover and repair them immediately!

If these unsafe conditions exist where you work and you have reported them and no one gets back to you, there is no movement to correct it, or you’ve been told to mind your business and you’ve spoken with H.R. and/or your union representative and still, nothing is done then you have to decide how important your life is.  Call the OSHA Hotline 1-800-321-6742(OSHA) and make an anonymous complaint.  The life you save may be your own.


The TopTen OSHA Violations Before Christmas. On the Eve Day


It’s Christmas Eve at the Northpole and everybody is busy and celebrating!  Santa and the elves did an outstanding job of fixing all the violations which included hours of training and practice and then completing the seemingly impossible task of getting all the toys and gifts that boys and girls around the world had asked Santa for produced and loaded on the sleigh!  This could only have been accomplished thanks to the great team effort of the elves.

That’s what it takes when it comes to safety at the workplace,  It takes a team of dedicated workers watching each other’s backs and reminding how to properly deal with hazards.  Even if the call for safety doesn’t come from the top executives you can still control what goes on in your work area.  You make the decision to wear your PPE, (safety goggles, ear protection, dust mask, and bump caps.  You make the decision to wear your fall protection gear, you make the decision to work on your machine without LOTO.  You make the decision to inspect your forklift before using it.

It is against the law to bully or threaten an employee to commit an unsafe act.  It is against the law to tamper with any kind of safety shutoff.   Yes, some companies are disrespectful dumbasses and may fire you for insubordination but do you want to work for a company that doesn’t care enough about whether you live or die on the job?   You do have OSHA in your corner.  That’s why they have an 1-800-321-6742 (OSHA) HOTLINE.  

Tomorrow is Christmas day, and around our beautiful country, as families gather and celebrate the holiday, there will be over 5,000 empty seats.   Mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, uncles, aunts, cousins will not be there because they died in an industrial accident this year.  We will miss the way they carved the ham, that special pie she made, the awful jokes Uncle told or the great laugh she had.  They will be missed and the heartache will have to be relived all over again.  We are all like snowflakes, no two alike.  Each with our own combination of skills and talents which makes us unique.  We come into this world for a short time to accomplish goals, have families, make a comfortable living.  You never know if they were the one with the next cure for a disease or invention to benefit the human race.

Thank you for stopping by and taking time out of your busy day to read our presentation of the TopTen OSHA Violations before Christmas.  The reception has greatly exceeded our expectations and that’s only because of great fans like you. Thank you.  Wish you all a Happy Chanukah and a Merry Christmas.


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The TopTen OSHA Violations Before Christmas. On the Tenth Day


Santa received a notice of violation(1926.501) Fall Protection-General Requirements and this unfortunately still #1 on OSHA’s TopTen violations for 2019.

In fact, falls have been the number 1 cited violation since 2011 and shows no sign of loosening its grip on that distinction.  This is very frustrating since falls can be stopped with the use of one word, NO.  If your foreperson or boss tells you we don’t have the time for you to put on your safety gear and properly tie off tethers to finish work on the roof just tell them I don’t have the time to die today, so NO!

Why?  Let’s say you do the right thing and wear your harness and all the gear needed.  You grab that 4×8 sheet of plywood to take it across the roof when a gust of wind catches the board like a sail and pulls you over the edge.  However, your fall is suddenly stopped by the tether and as you wait to be pulled up, you realized you lived and have a good tale to tell.  Meanwhile, in an alternate universe, you decided the boss is right and not to wear any of your protective gear.  Your reasoning, it’ll only take a second to move that sheet of plywood to the other side of the roof and it’s almost quitting time.  As you carry the board across the roof a gust of wind grabs the board and pulls you over the edge and as you plummet there is no sudden jerk from the tether to stop your fall but you have enough seconds to think,, rethink and rethink your mistake, your family, your kids until the ground breaks your fall.  If you are lucky the fall killed you instantly, no pain or suffering if you are not, expect a long life of pain, rehab, therapy, and disability.

So as you see the choice is yours.  It always has been.  Never allow anyone to challenge your courage, your manhood, your personality, your culture,  your capability to be a team player or other abilities just to goad you into committing an unsafe act or be bullied or threaten your job to do the same.  The law protects you.  Call the OSHA HotLine at 1-800-321-6742 (OSHA). 

Santa’s crew is training on how to properly wear their harness and how and where to properly tie off tethers before working right after they spent time learning what hazards to look for before working at any height over 6 feet, (9 feet in Arizona) since there are so many other ways to die from a fall.  Mis-use of ladders, poorly assembled scaffolding, side rails with missing sections, unmarked holes in the floor, wet or slick floors, distraction while working with spinning or vibrating equipment.  This is why you always inspect the area and safety equipment to be used before beginning work and never use any safety equipment that is damaged, frayed or altered.  What good is a side rail going to do for you if a section is missing to stop your fall?  What good is a rope rated to hold 100 lbs., when you weigh 220 lbs.?  Get in the habit of asking questions. The answers you get will give you enough insight to tell you if you want to continue working for that company.  If they give you answers and take safety seriously you found a keeper,

Santa’s Northpole workshop as well as your fall prevention program should include:

  1. Training – Identification of fall Hazards, how to wear and use PPE, anchoring tethers/lanyards and other associated items.
  2. Live demonstration and practice wearing and using.
  3.  Document all training including signatures of attendees, the material covered and who conducted the training.
  4. Enforce the rules, evenly and consistently.
  5. Group inspection of PPE  Equipment needs to be inspected on a regular basis, what better way to turn it into a safety training.
  6. Morning Huddle is a good tool to keep everyone in the loop as to what’s going on and any changes that are being made.
  7. Training – This is not one and done.  Don’t hesitate to have a refresher especially if you feel your staff needs it.

That was the last violation.  I believe Santa has complied fully and should get a clean bill of health but then you never know what the grinch has up his sleeve.  TOMORROWTHE DECISION







The TopTen OSHA Violations Before Christmas. On the Eighth Day


Santa received a notice of violation(1926.451) Scaffolding which is severe making it #3 on OSHA’s TopTen violations for 2019.

Think of scaffolding as another way to keep you from falling.  It gives you a stable platform to work on at several stories high if needed.  You can surround your project with scaffolding and work on it safe from all angles while stacking materials and using small pieces of equipment.

There are several kinds of scaffolding.  Single or brick layer’s scaffolding, Double, Cantilever, Suspended, and Trestle.  No matter which one you use it is only as good as it’s base so only a certified individual should direct and train other workers on its assembly.


Santa forgot to have one of his fore-elves certified and would have understood the procedures to control or minimize the hazards associated with erecting scaffolding and to train other elves so they may participate and assist in the construction.  So guess what?  Here again, training is critical for the safety of everyone involved.

  1. Plan ahead
  2. What kind of conditions will you be dealing with and for how long?
  3. How many people and what kinds of equipment and materials will be used?
  4. Pick your scaffolding
  5. Inspect
  6. Refresher training with all workers involved and how you’ll all proceed
  7. Assemble scaffolding
  8. Inspect. Never assume.
  9. Inspect
  10. Inspect
  11. Taking it down can be as dangerous as putting it up if not more.  Pay attention and stay focused.
  12. As with all training, document with signatures and a copy of the materials used.

It seems like it’s been a long week with so many issues cleaned up at Santa’s workshop and we are now down to the top two.   Friday: On the Ninth Day. 




The TopTen OSHA Violations Before Christmas. On the Fifth Day



Santa received a notice of violation(1926.1053) Ladders which is #6 on OSHA’s TopTen violations for 2019.

It’s looking more hopeful at the Northpole as Santa’s team spent the weekend getting all the elves caught up on much-needed training and important upgrades of equipment to fix the first four OSHA violations.  Today we work with ladders.  What?  Ladders?  Seriously? How dangerous can a ladder be?  It’s dangerous enough to become sixth on  OSHA’s TopTen list for killing 150 workers a year and injuring another 20,000.

Maybe because a ladder looks so easy and innocent to use or maybe we learned how to use a ladder incorrectly from our Dads why so many winds up visiting the E.R.  Here again, training is the most critical part of safety and learning how to properly use a ladder is a skill you’ll use pretty much the rest of your life.  Remember as with any training given, always document by having workers sign in and attach copies of the material covered.

  1. Ladder missing rungs, cracked or broken rungs, broken side rails or broken spreaders should never be used and immediately tossed into the trash.
  2. Set up the ladder on a firm flat even surface.  Using a ladder on an incline may only hasten your fall.
  3. Always open a ladder and lock the spreaders in place before using so you have a firm base to work on.
  4. Keep your hands free from holding tools, tool bag or a cup of coffee when using a ladder.  You need both hands to keep your balance and safely ascend/descend the ladder.
  5. Don’t stand on the top cap.  It’s not a step or a place to stand on.  It also makes the ladder less stable and more possible of a fall.
  6. Don’t be lazy.  Get down and move the ladder closer to what you’re working on instead of overreaching which can lead to loss of balance and a fall.
  7. NEVER use a metal ladder when working near or around power lines.

Santa still has some work to do but all the elves and everyone else seem to be responding well to the changes especially since no one wants to see the workshop shut down.  Tuesday: On the Sixth Day.



The TopTen OSHA Violations Before Christmas. On the Third Day



Santa received a notice of violation( 1926.503) Fall Protection – Training Requirements.  This happens to be #8 on OSHA’s TopTen violations for 2019.

It appears we’re on a roll solving the issues at Santa’s Northpole workshop so let’s keep the momentum going.  Training is the most critical part of safety.  Without it, you may not know how to properly wear PPE, or at what height you need to wear PPE or how to respond in an emergency.  There are several ways to prevent falls and whether using a safety harness and tether or railings and handrails training needs to be conducted for all of them.

Even Santa didn’t just wake up one morning and say, hey, I think I’ll climb down chimneys to deliver toys for a living.  (Well he actually may have).  He had to learn how to and then practice repeatedly to safely land on a roof with a team of reindeer as well as getting down and back up a chimney without detection.  The hours of training he received from chimney sweeps and ninjas.

Santa needs to make sure that all of his elves and other employees get training before they are allowed to work at heights over 6 feet from the ground (9 feet in Arizona).

  1. Classroom training – all the employees at the workshop are required to attend the training which should include hazards that can be encountered when working at heights and why you need to wear the proper PPE.  Carrying a sheet of plywood on a roof may seem easy but if a gust of wind comes along and catches it, chances are you’ll be airborne and fall without the proper protection.
  2. Live Demonstrations – A senior employee can show how to properly wear PPE/fall prevention gear and then give all employees the opportunity to try on and wear the PPE to get a feel for it.
  3. Document and keep on file all training including signatures of attendees and the actual material covered.
  4. Don’t try and be a nice guy.  Uniformly and fairly enforce the rules to prevent falls.

We’ll begin conducting training later today in shifts so the elves can keep working throughout.  The deadline is near and Santa is still not out of the OSHA woods yet!  Tomorrow: On the Fourth Day.






Companies Behaving Badly-The Hole


Welcome back and thank you for joining us in another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.  Hope all is going well.

I  hate to always reference my old childhood days and how things were growing up back then but it is my baseline and even though comparing anything to today’s world is not really fair as it’s more apples/oranges kind of thing, seriously, who thought there would come a time when ethics, morals, accountability, and responsibility would fade out of style?  Who knew that the more debilitating problem for companies today is not the ever-widening “skills gap” but is actually the “leadership hole”!

We are in desperate need of leadership as a large vacant hole has developed.  Leaders that listen to every voice and understand their needs in developing consensus with all groups and that it is more important than just winning at all cost for your side.  Unfortunately, there is no short supply of examples out there of the existence of the leadership hole and by all accounts, it’s only getting wider, deeper and we’re all sinking into it.  Leaders who believed that they should be in charge worked hard to get good returns on investment, enough to keep the people happy and enough happy people to drown out the little voices, like wisps of smoke that would rise time to time of abuse and corruption which were really driving the ROI as ethical and moral behavior became profit stoppers.  As long as things were good, a deaf ear was more than the latest corporate fashion.  Luckily the same time as the voices got louder, these honorable men running corporations avoiding responsibility and accountability, believing ethics and morals are weaknesses rather than strengths finally had it all explode in their faces. 


A gas pipeline blew up murdering 8, a bank caught creating fraudulent accounts, a social media company sold us all out.  They accepted reality television accountability as PGE, Wells Fargo Bank, Uber and FaceBook to mention a few now spend millions of dollars on ad campaigns telling us how sorry they are that they lied and let the green glow of cash and power blind them rendering their moral compass useless and the reason why they didn’t think twice about ripping us off.  “We’re sorry”  “We went astray” “Lost the path”  “We’ll do better”.  All things men caught cheating on their wives says.  By all accounts, not one of them has gone to jail and the ones who did lose their jobs, don’t waste your time feeling sorry for them, they landed on their feet with the ability to go astray again at any time.  Cause “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” and they love us, or our greenbacks actually.

Those corporations were only the tip of the iceberg.  Now the leaders of the largest colleges and universities who are entrusted with the task of teaching, training and preparing our future leaders have let us all down, giving the lesson that listening is not important especially if it’s something you don’t want to hear about the “good ole boys.”  First hand demonstrating to future leaders how to ignore the voices of young women who only want an education and career but had to work twice as hard to get there due to the constant body shaming, abuse, and rape!  Michigan State and U.S.C. , great schools now saying how sorry they are.  Even the city of Berkeley, California where many a mind has been enlightened over the years has sent the message to women of you are not important enough to listen too, as rape kits sat on shelves only collecting dust instead of collecting evidence.


Look I get it.  When you accept responsibility it takes work, lots of work.  Following up on work-related issues, reviewing your process, talking to employees and listening, finding and filling the cracks in the process, budgets, competition, employee retention, and your bonus. When you’re responsible you also need to be proactive as well, guessing what the future will bring and how to deal with it.  That’s also hard work.   That’s why so many of our leaders just keep the status quo, you don’t have to work as hard and listen to or care about all those whiny people and still collect all your bonuses even if they don’t make the goal.  Life is wonderful when you can shed all your morals and ethics for a few dollars more.

Will there be a new we’re sorry ad campaign in the future for–Bumble Bee CEO Indicted On Charge He Fixed Canned Tuna Price.  Smart and lazy CEO decided hey, we don’t need to compete against each other and fight for a market share when we can all just share the wealth by pricing our product exactly the same.  We all win!  When you shed your morals it is so easy to do and if you think they’re the only ones doing this…..

Then there is ethics I can never understand and seems both ironic and hypocritical to me at the same time.  Human life is a human life, right?  If I believe that human life needs to protected at all costs wouldn’t you want to protect them just as much from dying on the job as from the hands of terrorists? Despite wave of fatal building accidents in Israel, safety is rarely enforced.   Over 100 have died on the job since 2016 but they are still not taking workplace safety seriously letting many of these corrupt construction companies to operate freely and keep killing workers.  If the PLO had taken 100 Israeli lives there would be an uproar for blood, revenge, and retaliation but I guess when you kill your own building, that’s o.k.  It seems to me if you protect human live all lives should matter equally.


We all rely on and love our local Firefighters.  They do so many wonderful things like put out large and small fires, work in burning buildings to save people, rescue small animals from trees or sewers and make a fabulous calendar but one thing they are not is expendable.  State fines Camas $4800 over firefighter safety violations.  The city of Camas should be ashamed to put two firefighters in danger the way they did.  The job is difficult enough as it is and the key to firefighting is working as a team to make sure everyone is safe while accomplishing their assignments during a fire.  As I have said in previous blogs, my city of Vallejo, a population of 121,000 has only 21 firefighters on each shift and we still have to ask for mutual assistance several times a week between freeway accidents, house fires, chemical spills, and other emergency calls.  

Why be complicit in your own death?  Wichita roofing contractor cited by OSHA.  What kind of moron sends employees out on a roof without fall protection?  Well, Jose Barrientos for one, who was cited by OSHA for exposing employees to falls and other safety hazards and now faces proposed penalties of up to $191,071.  To make it worse 2 of the violations were WILLFUL which means he knew it was wrong and dangerous to not provide fall protection and that someone could be killed but he DIDN’T CARE which is obvious since he’s been cited 5 times in the last 10 years.  Time to shut him down!  This is why falls continue to be the OSHA number 1 violation and killer.  Don’t put your life at risk and if you are bullied or threatened to be fired for doing an unsafe act call the OSHA hotline 1 – 800 – 321 – 6742


Every job, heck everything you do has its own set of inheriting dangers and how we mitigate those dangers and awareness of those dangers helps keep us safe but you still never know.  These gentlemen were doing their job, covering a story to keep others safe. Thoughts go out to the families of  TV News Anchor, Photographer Die When Tree Crushes Their Vehicle.  This is why you hug, smile and say I love you every day to loved ones, for you don’t know how long that enjoyment will last.  

Until next month my friends, (yes, there will be no issue on June 21, summer hours folks) stay safe and never keep quiet about safety, for the life you save may be your own.



Aunt Ida’s Recipes for Disaster – 4


Thank you for stopping by and checking out the latest recipe from our Chef de Catastrophe Aunt Ida which was exclusively developed in our test kitchen and now available to your business.

OUR FEATURED RECIPE – Construction pancakes.  – I can think of no better way to start ones day than with a full fluffy stack of these.  Quick and easy to prepare, especially when you develop the skill to constantly justify and make excuses for not wearing fall protection gear.

Prep Time – Just about none, however, if you decide to put on your harness and use fall protection gear and inspect that the lifelines are properly anchored there will be a delay.  Otherwise, climb to your desired height and fall.  

Cook TimeTimes vary depending on the height of the fall, as thanks to gravity all objects fall at the same speed no matter the size of the mass and also affected by the number of trips, slips or falls that occur at the worksite but you should always keep an eye on it when preparing this dish or at least listen for the “splat” sound.

Yield – This also varies depending on how many idiots you can get on a space, working more than six feet off the ground without the use of fall protection gear but since FALLS is the number 1 violation, you are guaranteed at least 1 fall off a building, flattening that person like a pancake and killing them instantly if they’re lucky, so they don’t have to experience the pain of crushed bones or impalement.  

As stated, FALLS remain the number one cause of death or injury and have been for quite a while now as well as the number one cited violation given to employers.  In this day and age of communication and news, everyone should be aware that when you are working over 6 feet off the ground you are to be supplied with some form of fall protection,  whether it’s railings, scaffolding with railings, or fall protection PPE.  You can refuse to work under those conditions.  You did not train to be an acrobat in the circus or were hired to be one, so why would you want to work like one without a safety net?  You can make an anonymous complaint.  Call the OSHA HOTLINE 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).




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.

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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.