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.
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.
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.
Preliminary investigation from Delaware State Police said the incident occurred around 8:11 a.m., Tuesday Jan. 31. Police said a male subject fell from a roof of the power plant on 29416 Power Plant Road and died as a result of the fall. Was he wearing fall protection gear, was it properly tethered or did he think nah, I don’t need to waste time with all that gear for a quick job? Make sure they follow your safety rules.
The same safety orientation needs to be offered to Temporary workers as well. The safety of temporary workers is a shared responsibility. To assume that these workers know how to respond to an emergency, or how to LOTO “that” machine or know how to ride a man-lift is irresponsible. Don’t assume the agency has given them the necessary safety orientation as well especially those specific items that apply to only your facility. Give them a chance to succeed and survive.
Safety orientation and training is also critical for your regular employees as this company found out. OSHA cites Marathon Galveston Bay Refinery on training. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a citation in January alleging Marathon Petroleum Corp’s Galveston Bay Refinery in Texas City, Texas, failed in 2016 to train workers in changes in the operation of a coking unit. Really! They apparently didn’t think it was worth the time and effort to make sure their own employees wouldn’t die if something went wrong, because, after all, what could go wrong? OSHA also alleges Marathon failed to document training of the workers, according to a second citation. The first thought that should go through your head whenever you put in a new piece of equipment, modify a piece of equipment, change a procedure or anything that chances the current practice, is the training you need to give before anyone begins operating it. Your workers deserve to have a chance to survive any emergencies that may occur at work.
Poor or lack of training is a great indicator of poor leadership which in turn gives you a company behaving badly. When you begin to look closer beyond the lack of training you’ll see poor housekeeping, expired or damaged inventory, equipment in need of repair but still used at the risk of employee injury. What’s even more disturbing is when those companies basic business is transporting people to and from their jobs like the Metro in Washington, D.C. Union: D.C. Metro transit system has long record of putting safety last and BART in the San Francisco bay area, BART hits record low in survey of its riders. It’s not enough to worry about safety at work, now you have to worry if you’ll get to work in one piece which brings me to the incident where two railroad maintenance workers were killed on the job when hit by another train. We all figured it was just poor communication within the Amtrak but it seems to go even deeper and is very troubling. The autopsies revealed that one maintenance worker was had cocaine in his system and the other tested positive for morphine, codeine and oxycodone. To add to this mess, the engineer operating the train that hit and killed the workers tested positive for marijuana. This is also an indication of poor leadership as it seems everyone needs some kind of drug to get through the day. Read for yourself, Tests: Maintenance Workers Killed By Train Were On Drugs.
Relatives criticize PG&E for 2010 pipeline blast that killed 8 and Iowa Spill Is The Largest Of Diesel Fuel In US Since 2010 Just two of the many reasons why we DO need regulations. Also why not ask the over 4,000 humans who died last year in industrial accidents. We can’t depend on companies self regulating themselves. Look at PGE. The asked for a rate increase so they could track and upgrade the buried gas lines in Northern California and instead they gave themselves bonuses with the money and then 8 people were murdered due to their indifference to human life. You should also read this article as well, Commentary: Regulation saves lives by Jim Weygand.
I’m sure you’re like me and am always looking for new and more interesting ways to train and bring safety to the forefront. Here’s a great one and I love this. Lorry drivers trained on bikes in bid to cut cycling deaths in London. Getting employees to see things from another point of view. Maybe having forklift drivers walk around the warehouse and working forklifts? Call it what what you want, thinking outside the box or being a dreamer, anything that helps get the point across with a different twist is fantastic.
That’s it for this episode folks. Training is the most critical aspect of safety. You need to know how and what to do so you can go home the same way you arrived. Thanks for stopping by and please, don’t ever keep quiet about safety, for the life you save may be your own.
And I’m not even talking about hacking of a computer, this is all human error. Hopefully this article will spur most of you to double check where you’re sending personal information about an injured employee. Get into the habit of reviewing and updating your phone and fax numbers for medical clinics and the state workers compensation board on a regular basis.
I’m still not sure why or what changed but the fax landline number that I’ve had for 32 years has been receiving for the last seven years full sets of information on employees who have been injured on the job. The last one was this week and now I have Mr Smith’s dob, home address, work address, SSN, his injury and other personal information that if I was dishonest, would also be hurting Mr. Smith financially as well as from his accident if I assumed his identity. I called the medical office to let them know the information didn’t get to where it was suppose to go but to my home instead. The clerk was perplexed and asked me again the patient’s name and birthdate. Still not getting it he told me he needed to check with his office manager. After being on hold for five minutes I hung up. Hopefully there were able to figure it out with the info I gave them.
To make it worse, The state of California doesn’t seen to care either. When this happened last August I tried to inform workers comp I was getting personal information. She thanked me and was ready to hang up when I said, don’t you want to know who sent it and what it was about nor did she ask if I still had the information or destroyed it?
So folks, you’re going to have to take it upon yourselves to make sure this doesn’t happen to you. FYI, when I do get this info and after reporting it to the sender, I take the time and shred it at no charge to anyone. You’re welcome.
Happy New Year and welcome back to the first episode of 2017. You know, you can have all the laws in the world on the books, you can have well written procedures laminated and posted all over the office, you can have a fantastic game plan drawn out and ready for game day but it all means nothing if you can’t EXECUTE it. We’ve seen this a lot in 2016 especially in our cities, in mass transit and on the job, where laws and rules are clearly spelled out but no one bothers to enforce them or follow up and when things go south, then comes the litany of excuses, WHY! We didn’t have the budget, we didn’t have the man power, we didn’t follow up soon enough, we need tougher laws but you don’t hear-we didn’t execute our job. Unfortunately this trend is going to continue and probably get worse while you Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public will be the collateral damage to all of this. People will continue to die due to poor execution of duties and the excuses will continue to flow. How much more are you willing to put up with, how many lives before you say enough? Will it take the death of a loved one?
I’m sure you’ve all heard about the horrific warehouse fire in Oakland, California that killed 36 and the initial knee jerk reaction was, we need to make new laws but if the current laws, rules, regulations had been executed in the first place, the fire and deaths may never have happened. Your supervisor sees a worker on the job not wearing their PPE and they give you an excuse as to why not, they forgot, they left it in their locker or the dog ate it, you know the answer is bull shit but you want to be a nice guy, so this time you let it slide. Well now the next guy or gal does it and don’t you have to let it slide again or you’re perceived as discriminating, picking and choosing who to protect? You need to protect them all!! Then later in the week, month or year when that worker is injured because you wanted to be a nice guy, who do you think is going to get tossed to the wolves by their lawyer? YOU, Mr. Nice guy. Now you know why Nice guys finish last.
As you will see in the stories below, without proper execution, people can get hurt and die so keep your employees and customers safe by executing the plan, uniformly enforcing safety procedures, policies, laws and rules then you don’t have to waste time making up excuses.
First the bad news. Workplace Fatalities Up Slightly Last Year – 4,836 human beings died in 2015 in industrial related accidents. That’s moms and dads, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters. Loved ones who were missed this holiday season. This is the largest number since 2008 as fabricated metal product manufacturing as well as building and grounds cleaning and maintenance deaths jumped up the most. That’s a clue people, we’re not executing properly! NEVER KEEP QUIET ABOUT SAFETY.
Families of 2 Oakland warehouse fire victims file 1st lawsuits – So it begins. The first lawsuits resulting from the Oakland warehouse fire are on the books. The warehouse owner as well as the main renter and the city are on the hook and this is only the beginning. More lawsuits to follow along with trials, editorials and hell of a lot of finger pointing. Is it worth all this just to be a nice guy? Who are you really helping with offering people space to live and work when you have overloaded outlets, over crowding, poor heating and ventilation and NO emergency exits? Sure you feel good about yourself when you see their smiling faces while they paint and sculpt but how do you feel when you see their charred bodies burned beyond recognition? Still worth it? Enforce the current laws and stop making excuses as to why you can’t. There is always a solution if you want to find it.
Rules are in black and white but enforcement of the rules has to have some common sense. Viral video sparks Indiana OSHA investigation – When I interview potential employees, I hire workers who can size up a situation, think for themselves and make adjustments accordingly and not quote why they can’t. When it comes to safety you want to follow the rules but sometimes that is not enough as some rules are written by people who sit behind a desk all day and have never done the job or task themselves. You want your workers to have the freedom to do what is required and then some if needed as in this situation. Instead of thinking this may not be safe enough, the Comcast employee said he was following standard procedure: at least one cone for every ten miles per hour in the speed limit. Workers like this will get someone else killed by their lack of awareness. Based on my dealings with Comcast customer service, this incident didn’t surprise me as I find Comcast doesn’t do enough training of their employees and their hiring process needs to be vastly improved to weed out the morons. If you find yourself in this situation, call your supervisor and tell them what’s going on so the procedures can get fixed before someone dies and leads to lawsuits and bad press.
WA mining company fined for workplace safety breach – Here is another company that poorly executed and almost killed several workers because of it. Their excuse was, the company was aware of the need to carry out regular inspections and repairs of the tanks, but they failed to carry it out! They knew it but didn’t bother to do it, how stupid is that?How long do you think Coach Belichick would put up with a lineman who kept missing his blocking assignments and caused Brady to be injured and out of the game? People this is easy. You make a schedule of inspections, you execute that schedule without excuses and on days it gets missed due to unforeseen circumstances you make sure it’s resumed the next day and not forgotten. Leadership has a big role in this as well. If you know that management isn’t following up to make sure it’s happening, you won’t rush to do it.
Ever wonder why it’s so hard to recruit workers for manufacturing? This may enlighten you. OSHA cites Wisconsin factory for safety failures after teen worker dies from injuries – A 17 year old boy, on the job for only 2 weeks died because his idiot employer couldn’t be bothered to train this young man how to execute proper L.O.T.O. Would you put a soldier on the battlefield without weeks of basic training? Do you think other 17 year olds believe this is a great way to make a living? This young man could have developed into a fantastic employee and who knows what he would have contributed to make the company great but they thought it would be better suited for themselves just to kill him now. You can’t execute a job without training and you can’t have a career without safety. If you are new to a company and don’t receive any safety training for your job call the OSHA hotline and make an anonymous complaint – 1-800-321-6742. You life is more important then your bosses profit margin.
Kerry Inc. Cited After 2 Workers Suffer Severe Injuries At Bread Factory – Another failure to execute proper L.O.T.O and now two workers have amputations. Well, LOTO can slow down the production line and hey, we can’t have someone wanting for a loaf of bread. When something goes wrong, that is an indication you may need to review your procedures but many bosses are just too lazy to do that. It’s tough as it means more work, reviewing the job, rewriting procedures, retraining workers and follow up. Very tough, NOT! If you don’t care enough to protect your workers maybe you are more suited to be a grave digger. How can you mess that up, they’re already dead!
This employee knew it wasn’t right and called OSHA. Michigan auto supplier tops $400K in fines after state safety inspections – My guess is the issues were brought up to management and they either totally ignored him or just told him to shut up but he did the right thing and called and they found 19 violations! This company didn’t execute a safety plan just tried to execute workers. Again, never keep quiet about safety.
If you are not sure about a safety procedure, or you feel you didn’t get the proper training or you want to know what a safety hazard is begin with your union representative and ask, unless you work for the US Postal Service, who’s union has forsaken it’s workers, in that case you are SOL. You can also speak with your supervisor, manager or Human Resources representative. If your company has a safety committee you can bring issues to their attention and become part of the group. If your company doesn’t have a safety committee, ask and maybe you can begin one. However, if you don’t get answers, or you are bullied or threatened into unsafe acts at work then it’s time to put your safety into your own hands and call the OSHA hotline at 1-800-321-6742 (OSHA). Never keep quiet about safety for the life you save may be your own.
Hope you appreciate my top 5. Now lets finish the year looking at other disturbing trends from 2016 that’ll continue into 2017.
The continued lack of leadership that prevails at the US Postal Service. Blood incidents prompt OSHA to fine Brooklyn Postal Service location $342,000 – How stupid is the leadership? Pretty damn stupid and the workers know it since they filed a complaint with OSHA that found 2 WILLFUL and 3 REPEAT violations. 3 Repeat!!! Which means they never bothered to fix the problem of not having written instructions or training for workers responsible for handling and cleaning up biohazard packages that are stained or leaking. Managers also did not offer hepatitis B vaccines to affected employees. It’s a wonder that your junk mail even gets to you! I predict you’ll be reading more stories of violations at the USPS next year since management has proven it’s incapable of finding it’s own way out of a paper bag.
Continued lapses of safety on our railroads and ignoring the fixes needed for infrastructure to ensure protection of civilian lives. N.J. Transit Safety Jobs Vacant as Christie Allies Hired at Top – Some politicians, actually only the clueless ones bent on personal power think the way to fix a problem is to hire their friends to top management positions or by making new and “better” laws when all that is needed is to fill the open positions with employees who do the job at hand and not brown nose their way through. While accidents continue on one of the worst transit systems in the world the Governor thinks it’s better not to fill the safety positions since they’ll ask for money to fix it while his buddies will keep the status quo and let constituents continue to die. I guess the transit system isn’t as easy to take care of as the George Washington bridge. Look for continued lack of a plan and leadership into the next year and beyond.
Continue to poison ourselves, our water supply and the environment because we are too cavalier on chemical safety. New Martinsville chemical plant cited for workplace-safety violations – We need chemicals for food production, building materials, cars, planes, homes and just about anything you can think of but why are we so sloppy and careless about handling it? Could it be that it maybe takes 20 years for the exposure to show up as a health problem? Could it be that we truly believe the planet can handle all those chemicals in the air, land, streams, rivers and oceans to dilute and render them to harmless? Could it be that chemical companies find it a needless expense to make all the needed safety measures and training to prevent chemical injury and death? Either way, YOU as a employer, whether a supermarket or chemical plant are responsible to train your workers on what they are working with, it’s potential hazards, the proper PPE needed and how to handle in a spill or other emergency. However I predict this also will continue to be ignored since we never learned anything after the 1984 Bhopal, India gas leak that killed 4,000 humans immediately and residual effects claiming a total of 15,000 human lives!!! If you think it can’t happen here, you’re just in denial or brain dead.
Continued deaths of civilians due to budget cuts and lack of leadership at all major and small cities. Operator accused of ignoring safety in deadly Oakland warehouse fire and Fire Chief: We were not aware what was going on in Ghost Ship – What happened in Oakland, California at the Ghost Ship Warehouse is just the canary in the mine warning f0r all cities. Due to the competition by city departments for that little slice of the budget pie, things are not getting done and the leadership instead of thinking outside the box and developing solutions to working with what they have are just crying about it and doing NOTHING! Between all the departments within the city, Ghost ship slipped through the cracks and now people are dead. The mayor of Oakland at one point stated we need better laws but this is just rhetoric since all you had to do was enforce the current laws and better leadership developing communication between the departments instead of every man or woman for themselves. If you think this can’t happen in your town, then think again. When you city is more hell bent on saving the baseball team or football team from leaving, the safety of it’s citizens is a moot point. Time to wake up Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose and Vallejo. Sure there’s a knee jerk reaction happening now and everyone is aware but over time this will fade, things won’t get done and we’ll all be horrified again when it happens again.
That does it for now. I greatly appreciate your support over the year and wish you all a Happy Hanukkah and a very Merry Christmas. After the interesting year we’ve had it’s nice to see the show of solidarity by Hanukkah and Christmas as they begin back to back. As you visit family and friends remember to please not drink and drive or drive distracted. Be your own fire marshall and safety inspector to protect your home and family from fire, accidents or visits to the ER. If you’re into making resolutions for the new year, resolve to be a better person to you fellow human beings, treat them with respect, be polite and especially be kind to those less fortunate then you. There is a lot of love out there and we can obliterate the hate with it. Until next year, never keep quiet about safety for the life you save may be your own.