Safety Lessons Learned From Wile E. Coyote 3

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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 in our world, the earth sucks as gravity still wins.

 

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LESSON 3 – Weight Limits.  Each of you has a limit on how much weight you can lift and hold safely.  Machines and equipment are very much the same way in that respect. When they are built at the factory, with the specifications made by engineers, they can easily move or lift the weight they were designed to handle.  That’s why it’s important to familiarize yourself with those limits so you use the right equipment for the job so it’s done quickly and safely.  

 

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This applies to everything from forklifts (try to pick up something over the weight rating and you will tip over) motorized pallet jacks and tugs.  It also applies to trucks, (too much weight on an axle will get you red-tagged at the state scale because it’s dangerous). An overweight truck is harder to stop and very unstable and harder to control on the road.  Even the steel racking in your warehouse has weight limits that you must observe and should have posted so everyone can stay safe and not worry about falling racks.  So as you see it’s just not just fashionable to worry about being overweight but healthy for you on many levels.

 

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Safety Lessons Learned From Wile E. Coyote 2

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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 in our world reality always wins.

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Lesson two – Daily inspections and checklist.  Yea, yea. They’re a pain, every day the same thing, what a waste of time said one employee as he picked up a forklift checklist and just marked everything off right down the list as ok without even looking at the forklift.  When I challenged him on it he asked does anybody really look at them?  Yes, I do, I replied.  Not only did I look at them and keep them on file but when items are indicated that need maintenance or repair I always attach the repair technician’s report of repairs so there is one easy continuous paper trail available if you were to ever have an OSHA audit.

 

However, what is more, important than the completed checklist is the actual conduction of the inspection.  That’s right, the checklist is not there just to torture you but to remind you what to look at and for during that preshift inspection so the forklift or other powered vehicle is safe to operate for the full shift.  An inspection report is a tool for communicating needed maintenance and a legal document that must be properly completed.

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Did you see a puddle under the vehicle, does the horn work properly, what condition are the tires, do the breaks work?  Those observations make inspections critical to your safety.  Don’t assume the last person to operate the equipment had no problems or the warehouse fairy will do repairs overnight and if the horn stops working or the breaks are pulling don’t wait to report the problem on the next inspection.  Stop and report immediately!  Take the few minutes to do a proper inspection, complete the checklist and have a productive day at work.

 

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The TopTen OSHA Violations Before Christmas. On the Eve Day

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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 Fourth Day

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Santa received a notice of violation( 1910.178) Powered Industrial Trucks.  This is listed as #7 on OSHA’s TopTen violations for 2019.

We must be on the right track because we haven’t seen or heard from the grinch since we began this series.  As mentioned yesterday, training is the most critical part of safety.  I can’t say it enough.  With proper training chances are an elf can retire with all body parts intact.  Powered Industrial Trucks are included in the category of don’t touch until you’ve been trained.  Powered Industrial trucks include tugs, ride-ons, forklifts and any other vehicle that moves within your warehouse using electric, propane, diesel or reindeer as a power source.

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Even before Santa was allowed to fly the sleigh he had to spend hours training and practicing at the controls and learn what to inspect during pre-flight, how to properly hook up the reindeer and board and care for them as well.  The training should include how to professionally operate the forklift within the confines of or the outside of your facility.  You need to know how to inspect the vehicle before operating which must be done at the beginning of each shift and how to properly red tag out of service if needed so someone else won’t operate an unsafe vehicle.  You also need to be aware of the capacity of your forklift.  How much weight can it lift safely without tipping over?  Yes, tipping over.  If you lift beyond what your forklift can handle or shift in the wrong direction it all, including yourself will tip over.

Forklifts are the workhorse for every facility in every trade or industry.  They are NOT toys and NOT to ever be used in horseplay.  Santa pays an enormous annual workers compensation premium and doesn’t need your help to increase it any time soon.  So now the elves will be trained as follows:

  1. Never operate any powered industrial truck that you have NOT been trained or certified to operate.  You need to be certified to operate by a trained instructor.
  2. Certification is achieved by first completing a classroom training session using a combination of written materials, videos, and instruction.  Document all training with signatures of those attended and the material covered and keep.
  3. Upon completion of the classroom segment, the candidate takes a road test operating the vehicle.  Some think you need to set up some sort of obstacle course as part of the road test.  I want to make sure my elves can pull or put away pallets and load trucks.  That’s what I actually test them on.  Again, document.
  4. Demonstrate what to examine and look for during a preshift inspection of a forklift. If it is not safe to operate never be afraid to RED TAG it.
  5. NEVER use your forklift to transport people, as a piece of exercise equipment, like a ladder, like a racecar or drag racer and NEVER use it for horseplay.

Santa will be taking a breather during the weekend as the crew concentrates on their upcoming deliveries around the world.  He greatly appreciates all of everyone’s support and good wishes in getting his workshop back in order.  Hope you all have a great weekend preparing for the holidays.  Monday: On the Fifth Day.

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RBMB-Exceeded Limitations

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We all deal with limitations of one sort or another and at times we have depended on machinery of some type to help us compensate for those limitations.  However, we tend to become enamored by their speed and strength and forget that those pieces of industrial powered machinery have limits themselves as we take them for granted and push them beyond the tasks they’ve been designed for.  That means it falls upon us humans to protect the machinery and make sure they don’t exceed their capabilities so they can keep us safe at the same time.

It really burns my butt that workers are being injured and killed due to mis-information or lack of communication on what task their machine can do safely or the weight capacities of equipment.  By following the steps below, you can protect yourself, prevent accidents or serious injuries at work if YOU know what to look for when it comes to equipment limitations .

Step 1 – Certification:  When you were hired and your job involves the operating of any kind of industrial powered trucks/equipment you should have first received a general safety orientation and then been trained and certified by the company to operate that piece of equipment.  If you were certified on a powered pallet jack and you need to operate a forklift, you need to be certified again for the operation of that forklift as well.  

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Step 2 – Data Plate:  During the certification process you were introduced to the “data plate”.  This plate is very important since it’s an I.D. the manufacturer has put together to tell you how much weight you can move safely in the facility without having to worry about tip over.  It will also come in handy and help you for those times you may have to operate a different type of forklift.  The weight you can move with a diesel powered forklift is more then an electric and you would learn this by reading the data plate.  In fact, the data plate is so important that it is a OSHA violation to operate any powered vehicle without a date plate.  So if your industrial powered truck is missing the plate, immediately inform your supervisor via the daily checklist and verbally.  

Step 3 – Seatbelt:  Always wear a seatbelt when operating your forklift.  The manufacturer has designed your forklift to protect you within it’s cage, so if you do unfortunately experience a tip over, the seat belt will keep you within that cage and safe so you don’t wind up under a 8,000 pound forklift.

Step 4 – Modifications to any piece of equipment should be approved and done by the manufacturer of the equipment only!  They know how to safely add any modifications so the equipment will continue to operate properly.  As soon as the modifications are completed it is critical to have retraining of operators so they know how the modifications affect operation.

Step 5 – New Equipment:  When ever you get any new piece of equipment, before anyone is allowed to touch it, training needs to be given.  Why?  Where is the emergency shut off, what are the weight limitations, are there exposed moving parts?  I always reccommend that the manufacturers representative do the initial training to management and staff so questions can be asked by all on the equipment and then later you can develop your own training for in-house use.  

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Step 6 – Quick huddle:  When you find that your crew has to operate equipment that hasn’t been used in a while, like seasonal equipment such as a snow plow or large industrial vehicles like a boom lift, take the few minutes and have a quick huddle to go over and remind everyone on proper operation, it’s limitations and any safety reminders related to operation of the equipment.  Those few minutes taken to explain and remind can avoid hours of accident investigation and/or a trip to the E.R.

Don’t let anyone ever push you to operate equipment beyond it capabilities, limitations and safety limits.  Don’t let anyone ever push you to operate equipment in need of repair and unsafe to operate even if it’s “only this once”.  If it doesn’t sound right to you, ask questions and if you don’t get answers and still being bullied to do the wrong thing, call the OSHA hotline at 1-800-321-6742 (OSHA).  Never keep quiet about safety, for the life you save may be your own.

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Really Burns My Butt – Die Young

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Kelsey “Bug”Hagenson

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Burns My Butt – Double Standards

wait-whatThis week Americold Logistics, was issued 2 repeat and 2 serious citations from OSHA at their Manchester facility based on complaints from 3 employees.   The employees were forced to use forklifts in need of repair and were not taken out of service as they were trained to do.  This really burns my butt.  You spend all that time and money training forklift drivers to work safely, to do daily inspections and red tag unsafe equipment under the penalty of reprimand or termination and then you tell them to forget all that training and go ahead and use the unsafe forklifts?  What kind of message about safety are you sending?  What double standard is this?  If anyone of those workers had used a red tagged forklift and were injured or worse you know damn well that Americold would have thrown them under the bus.  There is only one message – SAFETY.

I commend those 3 employees who obviously were paying attention during training, however the supervisors and managers there need some retraining now!  If you know a piece of equipment is not safe to operate, RED TAG it and don’t let anyone use it.  If your boss tells you or threatens you to use it, CALL OSHA!

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