Companies Behaving Badly-Rules? We Don’t Need No Stinkin Rules

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As it is workplace safety is not the most glamorous topic around the world and when it comes to personal safety in general it’s not something most people talk about at all unless a major incident has been recently covered on television or the internet.  It doesn’t help when safety managers and other professionals are perceived and portrayed as scolding mothers reminding the kids to wear their mittens or put away their toys.  The reality is it’s not easy walking that fine line between what the regulators proclaim, what the company wants, what the employees comply with and what YOU know is right.
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What the recent defiant acts of the people, opening a salon by the owner while quarantine ‘stay at home’ orders were in effect or protests by other members of the pubic serve as a perfect example as to why workplace safety is so difficult to prevent 100% of accidents.  When you are dealing with people, as we are witnessing when it comes to the health and safety of others let alone their own health and wellbeing, they’re going to do what they want to do even if what they believe to be their right is wrong and dangerous.
So your company spends all the money in the world on high-quality training manuals full of detailed glossy colorful 8 x 10 photos, along with the best quality professionally produced videos possible and enlist the most elegant and entertaining silver voiced of all motivational speakers and after all that plus the additional training reminders, slogans, contest, drills, toolbox meetings, tailgate meetings, monthly meetings and huddles if that worker has it in their head they can still beat the machine and grab that jammed package out of the way without doing a proper Lock Out Tag Out, they’re going to do it, consequences be damned, not when a challenge is right there in my face.
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p>Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Unfortunately the consequences of this employees actions are a reality no one wants.    The employee wound up with a serious injury (total of 15 stitches on two fingers), the company issued a written reprimand along with a 5-day suspension without pay so the employee could contemplate the error of their ways and then upon their return must suffer further indignity by going throught the company safety orientation and safety training on his machine again before being allowed back to work.  Do you now have.a loyal happy employee?  Was a suspension necessary? I didn’t think so, I thought the injury and safety refresher was enough.  Why did he do it and will he be careful and use better judgement next time?  Only the shadow knows. We’ll come back to this later on.
When the people openly protested the stay at home quarantine and gathered close in proximity while not wearing masks or other protections they did so because they believed their freedom to do what they wanted was being taken away.  Their freedom to expose themselves and innocent people to the virus.  Isn’t it funny how people pick and choose which freedoms they want but damn everyone else.  What if a manager or supervisor believed repairs on a piece of equipment needed for production was taking too long and he wanted to sped it up and decided to unlock the LOTO in place at the power source and get things going while a worker was still finishing up on it.  Is he wrong?  He did justify his actions by stating his concerns that his bonus may be reduced for not meeting production goals or as we used to call it making quota?  Because of that, he would not be able to feed or properly care for his family and so he cut safety corners even though someones life could have been at stake.
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Let’s take it further.  A manager is tired of the production line stopping and starting due to a safety mechanism.  The device is doing the job it was intended for and that is stopping the high-speed production line so employees don’t get injured or worse, caught in the conveyor and killed.  However, this manager is concerned about losing his job due to problems beyond and within his control at the plant.  So to get ahead on production he disables the electronic eye from stopping the machine and keeps the line going, that is until an employee got a sleeve caught and was pulled in to the machine and now ironically the line is down and production halted until OSHA can finish their investigation.  As he told the grieving widow, “Yes he’s gone but we met quota and hey, you’ll meet someone else, no big deal.”
In actuality these two stories are OSHA violations and would be willful violations at that but hopefully it bothered you that people were purposely put in danger.  It is against the law to tamper with safety devices and yet like everything else in life there are those who will obey the law and do proper LOTO and then there are those who only care about themselves and their own greed and that’s why more than ever we need to watch each others back.  Now back to our machine operator with the stitches.  Did the company really do justice in that situation?  Did they look at all the facts including his previous record in which he was given increased responsibilities over the 5 years he worked there and improved his skills and abilities without an accident until now?  No, they did not, only pointed out he had an attendance problem over a year ago as they didn’t care it was due to issues he had with childcare.  So what motivated him to do what he did?  Could being pushed to make quota be a partial cause for his accident?  Was it to close to break or end of shift and his blood sugar was off?  Was it boredom or just a case of poor judgment?  The truth is he was was going to hit a new personal high on the number of cases packed on his machine during a shift.  He was very proud of himself in how well he had the machine tuned and got lost in all the excitement and really wanted to hit that number.  The good news is he will set a new record on that machine and he won’t lose any body parts to achieve it.

 

So as we see contrary to popular belief, rules are not meant to be broken.  It’s actually records, records are meant to be broken.  Rules are put into place for a reason and not just because Mom said so, or your teacher is mean, or your boss is a jerk but to keep you safe from yourself and the world. So before you decide to change or ignore them be sure you are ready to suffer the consequences.
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Secrets of the Professionals Revealed That You Can Use at Home.

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Companies spend thousands of dollars each year on sanitation and pest control along with thousands of hours on the training of personnel to properly handle those tasks or spend hours screening and evaluating outside contractors.  Either way, they want to provide the highest level of quality to ensure the best product produced.  The fabulous news is I’m going to share with you their secrets that you can do in your home. 

The professionals know that when the weather changes for the worse or nearby vacant fields are disturbed by construction or an idle facility comes to life, the displaced vermin will find a new place to call home and raise a family but by following these professional tips they won’t find your home a hospitable place and it all begins with the walk around.

The walk around is critical to maintaining any facility.  It’s your way of being proactive, finding what needs to be repaired and getting it done in a timely manner while getting a little exercise.  Walkarounds should be conducted consistently and once a month is an excellent schedule.  Walk the entire perimeter of your home, looking for and making note of the points of entry from the vermin’s point of view.  You are looking for small openings, any small cracks or holes should be noted to be repaired as they don’t need much room to squeeze through.  A mouse can fit through a hole as small as 2 cm/.787 of an inch. while a rat only needs a hole the size of a quarter to gain access to your home.   Also make note of any vegetation, weeds, shrubs or grass that’s abutted up to the house.   That should be cut back or removed since it’s providing cover for the critters.  Are there large gaps underneath the doors to the outside like the side door of the garage?  Is the area where your trash cans/trash bins are stored free and clear of trash, scraps, and clutter and are they sealed properly keeping trash secure from critters?  Take care of repairs right away as procrastination will set you back and create more problems.

Now you’ll do your walk around inside the home.  Again look for openings around valves and pipes under sinks, the furnace/ac, and laundry room.  If they get into the garage and the walls this is how they’ll enter your living areas.  After identifying your problem areas get the needed materials and do the repairs and hole filling immediately.

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To resolve the problem of a large gap under your side doors you can purchase and install a Door Sweep.

 

 

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Trap set by garage side door.

Now, with that accomplished, we’re going to add an extra level of protection by setting traps in different areas not just to trap those unwanted guests but also to alert you if the problem is remaining stable or getting out of hand and needs more attention.  I tried different traps and found some more effective than others.  There is one covered trap, to spare you from seeing the dead, that is the worst with a 40-50% kill rate.  The best trap I found that never missed a beat with a 100% kill rate was Ankace Power Rodent Killer.  I have 6 traps set up, one on each side of the garage roll-up door, one by the garage side door, one on the side of steps leading into the house from the garage, one under the kitchen sink and the last one in the heating/ac closet.   IMG_1818

If the idea of traps bothers you then you can buy bait traps and place those in the same locations as you would the traps and also around the outside of the house.  I have a combination of both around my house.  I also keep non-latex gloves and zip lock bags on hand for those times I have to clear a trap, which by the way hasn’t happened in quite a long time.  If you are doing everything else right you won’t be emptying traps every day and as I said before, the traps are also an alert that something has changed.  Once you have this all in place then set yourself a reminder and check the traps on a regular basis for activity, at least once a week.

Ever wonder how the professionals remember when to clean and how often?  They use a master sanitation schedule that is posted for all to see so they know when what and how.  Next time, we’ll show you how you can use that at home too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Companies Behaving Badly-The Art of the Pop-In

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The art of the Pop In –
One of the most valuable things I learned as an employee through years of observation is that boys will be boys at any age, so when I joined the ranks of management I made sure to implement another concept I learned, the Pop-In.  You may have heard this referred to in other terms like Gemba walk,  Genchi genbutsu,  walk about, safety walk, walk or a stroll.  Whether your warehouse is a multi-shift operation or you oversee several different sites, the pop-in, what ever you want to call it is a great tool to use.
My experience has been that companies are very cavalier about their graveyard shifts.  It’s a time when the workers have free run of the place since 99.9% of management is not on the premise.  No nosey executives poking around, no office people getting in the way, no sales/marketing staff with inane questions about products, usually just one supervisor or manager with maybe a lead and a crew entrusted with millions of dollars in equipment and inventory.  The challenge of keeping everyone focused through the night on the job and not wandering off on tangents is rigorous. 
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I perfected my Pop-In technique as a supervisor.  I would constantly show up on the shop floor but always from different entrances and directions.  I would do what ever it was I had to do at my desk for 15-20 minutes and then go for a Pop-In from the office door. Sometimes I’d Pop-In from the break room and sometimes from the dock entrance, not keeping to any set walking routine.  You get to see the whole operation from different points of view which give you the opportunity to see if there are repairs or other things that need to addressed as well as being available to employees for a chance to bend your ear and of course, it keeps everyone on their toes.
When I was hired to manage my first three-shift distribution center the Pop-In became even more critical of a tool.  I always knew what was going on during  day shift since I was always there so several times during the month I would tweak my schedule so I could Pop-In on other shifts.  Sometimes I’d stay over to be with swing shift or come back in the middle and the same on graveyard shift.  Except for my assistant, no one else knew when or where Phil was going to pop-in.  As a DC manager, when you’re always on days you don’t get to bond with other shifts supervisors or their staffs like you do on days. and that can make them feel left out of the loop or worse, that no one cares but you can alter that perception by seeing what they go through on their shift and listening.  When I would pop-in, like any good visitor, I’d never show up empty handed when I did the Pop-In. Sometimes I’d bring dinner, snacks, a safety meeting or an impromptu evacuation drill.
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Now I’m going to share a personal Pop-In story that should hopefully demonstrate how important a tool it is.  As with any new job you spend the first few days learning the lay of the land as well as being trotted around in a marathon dog and pony show.  Everyone wants to speak with you and share their opinions and air their grievances on the operation you’ve just inherited.  Your staff good or bad,  your operation dependable or not, the long history and so on and so on.  Most of it you just take in with a smile, an occasional head shake and a thank you.  A few weeks into it as things settled down, the day shift warehouse lead came to me and said, you told us you have an open door policy, can I speak with you?  Of course you can.  He started with, I know I can get fired for going over my supervisor’s head.  He then told me he had pointed out an issue of discrepancies on what graveyard shift said they picked and staged and what was actually being done to the previous DC manager, but he didn’t seem to care about it.  I asked him if he had spoken to his supervisor.  Yes, he was about to stop and suddenly got emotional but he just puts up with it and doesn’t want to rock the boat and I’m tired of watching him work his ass off and not getting the credit for what’s getting done!  I thanked him for his concern and passion, reassured he wasn’t going to get fired and promised that I would get back to him within two weeks.  
After I had finally settled in to my routine for day to day activities I turned my attention to those daily shift reports and alleged discrepancies.  The reports were simple, number of orders completed, number of cases picked, number orders shipped, staffing, equipment issues and any other problems that occurred.  According to the supervisor’s report, graveyard was picking an astronomical numbers of cases and completing orders in record times!  Wow!  I was impressed.  Is there a problem?   However, one thing I also noticed was something that was missing from the report.  There were never any equipment issues noted on graveyard shift but day shift had them almost daily and their reports showed just slightly more cases picked over the course the whole shift.  Now what did our WMS have to say about what was being done?
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The numbers told me that graveyard was doing about half of what their reports indicated and that day shift was doing the bulk of the work as well as dealing with repairs and cleaning.  I spoke with my day shift supervisor on how things were going and that’s when I was told that he knew the lead had come to me and that his crew could be even more productive if they didn’t have to spend an hour each morning cleaning up after graveyard which surprised me since per graveyards report they should have had plenty of time to do this.  I kept all this info to myself and knew it was time to do a Pop-In.
They exceeded my expectations.  I entered the building through the offices, since they should have been locked preventing warehouse entry, arriving an hour after the shift had started figuring things should be in full swing and they were.  The first two I ran into was the shift lead and he was half dressed along with a female employee.  I can still remember vividly the expression on their faces.  I had to stifle myself from laughing.  Told them to either go home now or wait for me in the lunchroom.  As they got themselves together I went to the lunchroom and found employees smoking pot, playing cards, reading a newspaper and a whole lot of nothing else.  Morning all.  Why don’t you all wait here until I get back and then entered the warehouse.
The quiet was deafening, well except for the loud boom box, there wasn’t the usual noise of a functioning warehouse.  The first section I came upon was the small package processing and the lead of that area was enjoying greatly whatever he was listening too on his cd player.  As I gave him a few moments to finish his air guitar solo I noticed the naked young woman on his computer screensaver.  It looked very much like the young lady I found with the shift lead in the office.  In fact, it turned out it was.  Finally we made contact with each other and got another priceless expression.  I asked, where’s your shift supervisor?  He stalled, there was a long pause and I began to ask again but was suddenly interrupted by the sound of hoots and hollers and loud screeching as a worker on an electric pallet jack was doing a full speed spin as fast as he could go on the loading dock. He looked at me and shook his head and finally pointed to the shipping office.  I invited the lead to wait for me along with the stunt drivers and others in the lunchroom.  I headed for the office as word must have started to spread that I was here as people began to emerge from the nooks and crannies and the sound of forklifts grew.  The small shipping office had all the shades down and was dark inside as I opened the door.  There was my shift supervisor, soundly asleep in the fetal position on the couch.  Flipped on the lights and before I could say anything, with his back to me he shouted, this better be important!
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I responded, oh I think it’s pretty damn important.  He slowly rolled over and saw my happy face.  I remember being thoroughly impressed with the list of excuses that flowed as he defended how it looked in between justification of his actions.  I had enough by the fourth one and simply told him, give me your keys, go home and wait for H.R. to call you. Then I called everyone to the lunchroom so I could face my merry band of workers with a choice.  You can stay and get back to the job you were hired to do and I’ll stay for the remainder of the shift to help or you can go home.  All those I had previously left in the lunchroom had already left the building and the others  did go back to work as each and everyone of them apologized at one point during the rest of the shift
When the HR manager arrived and found me waiting for her, she knew something was up but even she was not prepared for this scenario.  After the HR investigation some workers were terminated, some suspended and or put on probation and everyone else went back to work all having learned a valuable lesson.  The eager and determined day shift lead was promoted and given the graveyard supervisor position and it’s nice having all the numbers line up correctly.  So if you haven’t done it in the past, get up off that butt, grab your 3×5 pad and go pop-in.  The exercise is great, you get your blood to flow faster and you get to see things your WMS will never show you.  
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 Thank you for stopping by and taking the time out of your busy day.  Until next month my friends, stay safe and never keep quiet about safety, for the life you save may be your own.
 

WarehouseFlow’s Tip of the Month – September

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This Month’s Tip From WarehouseFlow Advisors-Jun

 

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This Month’s Tip From WarehouseFlow Advisors-MAY

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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!

thesafetywizard

 

 

That’s Like Cash Sitting There!

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If the inventory in your warehouse looks like this, you have already lost money.  Give enough room for storage, keep fast movers close to the dock, cross dock whenever possible and respect all inventory like it was cash.

Need to up your AIB/ASI score?  Customer audit pending?  Need help? We’re here and ready.

Companies Behaving Badly – New Dying Year

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Happy New Year and welcome to the first issue of 2015. Unfortunately it’s beginning to look like other years, as of November 22, 2014 (FY 2014) 246 workers have already died while doing nothing more than their job.  This is 23 more deaths then this time last year, that’s a 10 percent jump! The numbers are going in the wrong direction folks and that’s all our fault. We’re not doing a good enough job of watching out for each other.  Yes the company is responsible for safety too but it also requires your participation.  Watch out for each other and challenge others to make sure they’re using PPE, doing LOTO or wearing Fall protection gear.  We need to stop the dying NOW. That unfortunately sounds like the first episode of Companies Behaving Badly for this year.

 

OSHA cites Ohio-based tree company following worker’s death – PREVENTABLE – A young person is killed because he trusted that his employer, The Davey Tree Expert Company wouldn’t willfully put him in danger and use equipment beyond manufacturers posted limitations. The 21 year old tree trimmer, just beginning his journey in life was run over by a utility task vehicle that was operating on a 20 degree slop when the max the manufacturer allows is 15 degrees. OSHA’s investigation found that this caused the vehicle to roll over, killing him and issued a Willful violation which as you all remember means the company knew of the danger but couldn’t care less if someone got hurt or killed. What is so sad is that Davey Tree had a previous rollover incident in July 2012 so they knew it can happen but didn’t bother to make it a safety rule or enforce it.  For this violation a proposed fine of only $70,000 for loss of a human life.  Manufacturer limitations are posted on machinery and equipment so you know what to expect when operating.  You should never exceed these limits unless the manufacturer has approved and posted that info on the equipment.  Don’t let anyone tell you it’s o.k. to push the limits or that its been done before.  Your life is too precious.

 

   Tristin James Wood

Tristin James Wood

Missouri Company Cited in Death of Teen Worker – PREVENTABLE – The young keep dying as Tristin James Wood, a 16 year old employee of Robertson Incorporated Bridge and Grading was struck by a swinging cab and boom of a crane that was being disassembled.  The OSHA inspection that followed this tragic accident turned up 13 serious safety violations and a proposed fine of only 44,730.  We need to do a better job of keeping teenagers safe on the job with better training and mentoring.

OSHA fines Surelan Foods after worker’s death – PREVENTABLE – Raul Saucedo a 68 year old 10 year employee was busy picking up trash outside a company warehouse when he was struck by a van and died at the scene.  His employer, Surlean Foods was cited for 9 safety violations found in the investigation following the accident which included the company’s failure to provide high-visibility clothing. They also found workers were exposed to amputation hazards, an inadequate written process safety management system for chemical exposure, followed improper procedures for chlorine and anhydrous ammonia, no equipment inspections and no proper plan and development of an emergency action plan.  For not even thinking about dealing with hazards and the effects on fellow human beings the proposed fine is only $52,000.

OSHA fines Pilgrim’s Pride $59,500 in connection to Nacogdoches worker’s electrocution – PREVENTABLE – Bobby Joe Beall, a 50 year old employee at Pilgrim’s Pride was working on machinery like any other day when he was electrocuted and died.  Apparently at this facility in Nacogdoches, Texas,based on OSHA’s findings, just hitting the off button or off switch constituted as the L.O.T.O. program instead of killing the power at the source. The investigation of the accident also found 3 serious and 1 repeat violation with a proposed fine of only $59,500.

Sidney auto parts maker cited by OSHA – PREVENTABLE – When some companies make a mistake, they apologize and fix it right away, then move on but then some companies don’t bother fixing mistakes because they just don’t care about their workers. Formed Fiber Technologies LLC, just doesn’t care as they have been cited for the 3rd time in 2 years and placed into the Severe Violator Enforcement Program for 2 Willful violations exposing workers to the risk of amputation and other injuries by moving machine parts. The proposed fine is $140,000.  It would have been great if their customers like Toyota and GM took a look at vendors safety records instead of cheapest price before working with them.  OSHA had also found 11 violations back in 2013. Profits over people.

PA Manufacturer Fined by OSHA After Multiple Finger Amputations – PREVENTABLE – Speaking of companies that don’t get it, it seems that Olympia Chimney Supply Inc. of Scranton, Pa. kept operating business as usual even after knowing workers were having fingers amputated, but an employee had seen enough and filed a complaint with OSHA. Their inspection found 14 safety violations that come with a proposed fine of $49,000 as over the last two years workers suffered more than 20 injuries including lacerations, crushed and pinched fingers, multiple fingertip amputations and the amputation of several fingers. As OSHA saw it, Olympia failed to safeguard machines and had flaws in a system designed to prevent machines from starting up inadvertently during maintenance.

Anheuser-Busch fined $162K for safety violations at Jersey City warehouse – PREVENTABLE – Why are warehouses allowed to become depressing dungeons of danger?  Lack of leadership and no pride in the job.  A distribution warehouse in Jersey City for Anheuser-Busch, (this bruise is for you) was hit with 2 Willful and 8 serious violations to a tune of $162,500 as they allowed untrained drivers to operate defective forklifts but couldn’t care less to fix the problem.  That is one of the best recipes I’ve seen for a disaster.  As if that wasn’t enough the Anheuser-Busch warehouse also had obstructed exit routes and damaged storage racks.  I would show this warehouse manager and his staff to the door but they might find it blocked.  Horrible and disappointing conditions for such a manufacturing giant but when you put the wrong leadership in place what can one expect.

Packaging firm gets £14.6k fork lift injury bill – PREVENTABLE – Meanwhile in the U.K. Platt Packaging Ltd. was prosecuted for the injury of a driver waiting to pick up a load. While standing by his vehicle he was knocked down by a reversing forklift in which he suffered double ankle fracture and damage to his leg.  You should never back up a forklift especially on the dock where people are without first looking.  A dock also needs to be controlled which means all visitors must wait in a safe place and not wondering around.  Make it so your people can succeed not struggle.

New Reports Outline TX Plant Chaos, Deaths – PREVENTABLE – Some things can be done by the seat of your pants but when it comes to workplace emergencies everyone needs to know what to do in order to save as many lives as possible. Take a moment and read this chilling report on the events of November 15th when a chemical leak at the Dupont plant killed 4 employees.  You can never under estimate the importance of training.  If you work for a company that deals with dangerous and/or toxic chemicals and you never receive any training on emergency response or evacuation demand to know why.  Your life may depend on it.

Infographic: OSHA’s New Injury Reporting Rule Explained – Are you ready for the new OSHA reporting rules? Safety.BLR.com explains it.

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That brings this episode of companies behaving badly to a close. Thank you for stopping by and checking out the stories.  Please feel free to share them at your next safety tailgate/toolbox meeting.  It’s always a good time to have a refresher on workplace emergencies.  What is the signal, the escape route, the assembly area or how to shelter in place and then throw in a drill once in awhile.  In fact training throughout the year makes your team more efficient, responsive and interested and will improve communication and moral.   Give it a try, you’ll be surprised.  Don’t have a safety committee in the company, why not start one.  Get the conversation going.  It is my biggest hope that one day I will have no companies behaving badly to write about.  Take care and see you soon.

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5 Steps For a Successful Peak Season – STEP 4

As we had learned in step 3 – Training, even though it is listed as the third step, it is still an extremely important detail to a successful peak season. With that said, this next step, safety is not only just as equally important as training but in fact, they go together hand in hand.  Safety is always a challenge in the workplace but then add in temporary workers and getting them to buy-in to your safety program is even more of a challenge.  Then, if that’s not enough include young workers, ages 15-24 and it will be a trial by fire.  Even if the temporaries receive safety training through the temp agency, you’ll need to reinforce it even further through your own safety orientation including clearly spelling out the consequences of not following safety rules including those infractions that’ll get them escorted off the premises immediately. (Please note for the purpose of clarity in this article, when I speak of safety I’m also including sanitation as cleanliness is part of safety.)

STEP 4 – Safety

To help make this more manageable for you and easily digestible for temp workers, break safety down into different levels/categories of skills and knowledge.

General safety for all (orientation) – this is safety information you want everyone to know.  Evacuation plan including route and assembly area; type of signal used to alert of emergencies (do you use bells, horns, whistles, etc.); required wear needed to be in the general area like appropriate clothing, hairnets, beard-nets and other general P.P.E. like bump caps, safety glasses, steel toe shoes and ear plugs; use of pedestrian ways;  cell phone use while working; keeping work area free of clutter and debris;  where to place cardboard, plastic and other trash; not using boxes and product in lower racks as stepping stools to reach upper racks; how to report an accident, dealing with liquid spills or other hazards; signage; do not touch let alone operate any machinery or equipment without being cleared to do so by management.  I know temp agencies want their people to report accidents to them but I’ve always insisted that they tell us immediately first so we are aware of any issues or hazards and can ensure proper treatment quickly.

Specific safety  – this would focus on the area and type of work the temp has been assigned and what equipment they’ll be using.  Use of tuggers, forklifts, manual and electric pallet jacks and other vehicles are always a safety concern. Take the time to watch them in action after their training is completed.  For minor concerns coaching will help greatly but I strongly reccommend a zero tolerance when it comes to horseplay or willful acts by temporary employees.   Another specific area would be use of the compactor and banding of bales for recycling.  Only trained temporaries should be allowed near the machine if it is so decided.  Even if someone says they had previous experience using the equipment, still make sure they’re properly trained by your standards before being allowed to operate it.  Step ladders, stairways, mezzanines and any other means of travel within the building should also be a safety concern.  Don’t take it for granted that temporary employees know how to use those modes properly and that they fully understand any associated hazards.  I worked in a large plant that used man-lifts to get up and down the 9 stories.  We had an outside contractor come in for a construction project who the company assumed knew how to use the man-lift.  He tried to save time and bring his tools along on the man-lift and fell, breaking his ankles, wrist and ribs. If they will they be working near Conveyor belts, again make sure they’re aware of the associated hazards and know where emergency shutoff buttons are located and how to use.  Will they be operating mechanical pallet dispensers, shrink wrap machines, they need to know and understand L.O.T.O. for dealing with jams or who they need to contact and how.

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Bottom line, for a successful peak season look at each job a temporary employee will do as if it’s you first time and see if there are hazards lying in wait and don’t assume they’ll recognize the hazards on their own.  When you clearly communicate like with anything else, most workers will learn and comply but you will also find those gems out there who’ll keep you on your toes.  I once had a temporary worker, trying to impress me with his enthusiasm, climb up the side of 5 levels of racking like an acrobat to retrieve an item off the top. Needless to say I was not amused.

Next installment – STEP 5 – Leadership