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.


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

Companies Behaving Badly – Trips, Falls and Amputations, Oh My!



The Green Brick Road of Safety is a long winding road that has been well traveled over the years by many people in search of the elusive safe workplace. The high traffic on the road is graphically illustrated by the strewn litter of fingers, limbs and other body parts along with the constant wailing sound of grieving family members and friends in the distance.  The road is was paved with lots of good intensions, safety slogans & campaigns, disciplinary actions and unused PPE, as small groups of safety advocates travel the road like pilgrims on a mission.  I’m here to tell you a safe workplace is not a fantasy or fairy tale but something that is real and attainable but YOU must be part of the solution by following the safety rules and saying NO to unsafe acts at work.  Trips, falls and amputations, oh my! That sounds like this must unfortunately be another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.

   Marvin Vincent Roesti

Marvin Vincent Roesti

OSHA cites co-op in death of 73-year-old man – PREVENTABLE – Marvin Vincent Roesti, 73, was a husband, father, grandfather who loved farming, passed away 6 days after falling and hitting his head. The OSHA investigation that ensued found Farmer’s Cooperative had 1 repeat and 2 serious violations at the McCool Junction fertilizer plant.  Apparently the Farmer’s Cooperative is not very cooperative when it comes to the safety of the people working there as they had failed to have a guard rail in the batching area a violation found in 2011 in Exeter and 2013 in Wilber. On top of that they also failed to provide fall protection to employees working on top of tanker trucks and NOT providing railings on stairways.  All this is costing them $84,000 in proposed fines, but this is again another case where the fine is nowhere enough.  Any body in the position of supervision who allows a worker to fill a tanker truck, working on top of it without fall protection is a criminal.  I’ve witnessed several times how it saved a person’s life if not from serious disability for life.

OSHA fines Behr Iron following fatality – PREVENTION – Alfredo Arrendondo a 39 year old native of Beloit, Illinois had no idea that he would die on the job this day.  He had worked in the pit before clearing it of scrap metal that had accumulated and he was use to the fact that his employers Behr Iron & Steel Inc, kept the unguarded conveyors running while he worked in there. But on this day, because Behr Iron & Steel couldn’t care less if workers were maimed or killed on the job, Alfredo’s arm was caught by the conveyor and he died, right in front of the horrified faces of his fellow workers who tried to scramble through the 2.5 foot X 3.5 foot opening to the pit. 7 willful violations were issued and 1 serious for a proposed fine of $497,000 as they were also cited back in 2010 for no LOTO program.  In my opinion there should be company mangers in jail for there indifference to human life.

Ardmore plant cited by OSHA after worker dies from fall – PREVENTABLE – Christopher Cryer, 31, a family man who enjoyed fishing and hunting but most of all helping others died after he fell 15 feet, hitting his head and later died in the E.R.  He was working at Atlas Roofing who for some reason didn’t think to provide it’s workers with fall protection and now have a pending $49,000 fine.  What the hell is so hard about wearing fall protection?  Because this company didn’t push it now several lives have been altered.  A wife has lost her husband, children a father and who knows who else Christopher would have helped down the road.  This is senseless and should no longer be tolerated.

OSHA: 22 Vallourec citations; worker crushed, injured in Feb. – PREVENTABLE – A full time operator was crushed between an activated transfer paddle and a stationary electrical box crushing him and causing several pelvis fractures.  The following OSHA inspection at his place of work, Vallourec Star Factory turned up 22 serious (violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists) violations!  They found that Vallourec didn’t have sufficient procedures to protect workers from moving machinery parts during servicing and didn’t train workers to recognize hazards and proper LOTO procedures in addition to improper machine guarding, unguarded floor openings and allowing the use of forklifts that needed repair.  For all this the proposed fine is $94,000.  Vallourec President Judson Wallace responded, “Workplace safety at Vallourec Star is a first priority.” Wow, if safety is the first priority, hate to see the second one.  I think Mr. Wallace needs to begin taking a Gemba walk around the plant.

Customer dies after tiles fall at Menards in Chesterfield Township – PREVENTABLE – This is a very sad tragedy.  A forklift operator had just placed a pallet of tiles on top of another pallet of goods on the top rack when the load shifted and up to 600 pounds of ceramic tiles fell on a customer’s head severely injuring him and he later died in the hospital. Retail stores can get busy and Managers tend to push workers to the point where little things get missed.  I don’t know the circumstances here, and this could also happen in your warehouse but when ever you place a pallet of goods on top of another make sure the bottom pallet can handle the weight.

Rock Island trucking terminal owner fined and cited for alleged safety violations – PREVENTABLE – Central Transport LLC is a full service LTL that says they’re “Central to your success” but apparently not central to the safety of their workers.  OSHA cited and fined Central Transport for repeat and WILLFUL violations and you remember a willful violation means they knew of the safety violations at their Rock Island terminal but couldn’t care less about them or if anyone got hurt.  Their concern for their workers was so great they allowed them to operate forklifts that were in need of repair in fact they didn’t even have workers perform pre-shift inspections which was a repeat violation found in 2010 at their facilities in Massachusetts and Ohio.  Portable fire extinguishers were not mounted and clearly labeled and workers were found using damaged extension cords as well.  What I am also amazed about is that 103 years after the Triangle Factory fire in New York, OSHA found a metal bar across an exit door in their Rock Island warehouse locking it shut!  For all this there were issued a proposed fine of $108,020. Their corporate headquarters needs to get out from behind their desk, get their heads out of their asses and put people before profit.

Christiansburg man killed in forklift accident PENDING – Robert J. Tucker, a 50 year old forklift driver was killed when he tried to escape his forklift as it overturned.  Robert was at the controls of the lift as it supported another worker in an elevated bucket while he trimmed trees and for what ever reason the forklift began tipping over and when Robert tried to get out he was hit by the elevated bucket.  The young man in the bucket was flown to the hospital with serious injuries.  Forklifts are designed not only for the daily tasks they perform but for your safety as well.  The seat belts are there not as ornaments but to keep you in your seat for rollovers so you are not tossed and crushed.  Your first instinct is to run, but to live you need to stay within the forklift cab for protection.

OSHA Investigating Deaths of 2 Florida Tree Trimmers – PENDING – Two men trimming palm trees in southwest Florida were electrocuted when their 30 foot aluminum ladder slipped and hit a live power line.  They were rushed to the hospital were they were both pronounced dead.  Like with any other tool that is not properly used, ladders account for about 136,000 accidents a year between work and home that result in about 13,600 requiring hospitalization in addition to 100 deaths.  You can help minimize your exposure risk on ladders by first making sure the ladder is not in a state of disrepair and sits firmly on the ground and sturdy before climbing. If you are working around live power lines an aluminum ladder may not be the best choice and please contact the power company and let them know what you are doing.

OSHA Cites Douglass Colony Group Inc. For 11 Violations; Exposing Workers To Asbestos – PREVENTABLE – Douglass Colony Group Inc apparently has no problem exposing their employees to the hazard of asbestos as they were hit with 4 REPEAT and 7 serious violations by OSHA. What I find most horrendous is the 4 repeat, (June 2013) violations as 3 of them were for failure to provide a competent supervisor to oversee the removal of asbestos containing material, failed to conduct asbestos exposure assessment and provide adequate training for the workers.  But you see that would cost money to do and cut into profits!  The proposed fine is only $45,000 but for repeat offenses, especially when exposing workers to a substance that can cause a life time of disabilities it should be at least triple that along with jail time.  Proposed penalties total $81,000 and the ironic part is they did provide proper fall protection for their workers to prevent immediate injury or death but wasn’t worried about the effects of asbestos that would come to light down the road as workers developed health issues.

OSHA citations over practices at company that led to employee death upheld on appeal – JUSTICE – The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has rules against Texas based Austin Industrial Specialty Services’ in its appeal of OSHA citations over circumstances that led to the death of a worker.  The message is companies can’t send workers into dangerous conditions without proper training and assessment of hazards.  People over Profits.

Prosecutors: PG&E ignored safety law on numerous gas lines – ACTS OF GREED – There is no doubt in my mind that corporate greed and arrogance by PG&E led to the murder of 8 people who were just trying to live their daily lives.  A rate hike that was to go to gas line safety instead went into the pockets of corporate leaders as bonuses while their accomplice in this murder was the P.U.C.  Now PG&E plasters the airwaves with their slick new ad campaign explaining they are not murderers but people with families just like you and me and that we’re taking safety seriously NOW, really we are.  It’s too little too late and there should be corporate leaders of PG&E sitting in a jail cell right now.

AHF: $11K Cal/OSHA Fine to Porn’s Jake Cruise Media Reminds Industry that Condoms Remain the Law – SKEWED PRIORITIES – Oh how the mighty have fallen.  The once proud agency was very good at their job a long time ago and even bragged how they were one step better than the Federal Government in protecting workers, has fallen on hard times due to poor leadership, benign neglect and budget cuts.  With a reduced budget and limited resources, (a large number of inspector jobs have not been filled) you’d think their leadership would better prioritize the handling of worker concerns and concentrate on oil and energy companies as well as the construction industry who seem to have the highest accident rate and not checking for sexual PPE.  I’m not saying spreading of disease isn’t a valid concern but to me that is more of a job and concern for Department of Public Health.

Utility Manufacturing Company Receives Gold Safety Award – SAFETY AWARD – Utility Trailer Manufacturing Company’s Paragould, Arkansas plant has received the Liberty Mutual Insurance Gold Safety Award. Congratulations!

OSHA honors Southeastern Mills’ safety program – ANOTHER SAFETY AWARD – Southeastern Mills based in Rome, Ga. has been recognized by OSHA for its creation of and commitment to a work environment free of safety and health hazards.  Congratulations.



Well my friends, that brings this episode of Companies Behaving Badly to a close.  As always, please feel free to share these stories at your next safety tailgate/toolbox meeting or safety committee meeting.  Safety in the workplace begins with YOU and succeeds only with YOU.  Be active in your companies safety committee and if they don’t have one, help start one. Report safety hazards and concerns to management immediately and don’t take NO for an answer.  There is no reason you should not to expect to go home the same way you arrived at work, in one piece. There is no reason to risk injury or lose your life for one package or container of product.  Stop the line, do proper L.O.T.O. wear the correct P.P.E and work within safety guidelines.  The worst thing that’ll happen by doing it right is someone will get their item a day late.  Until next month, stay safe.



5 Steps For a Successful Peak Season – STEP 3

Even though this is presented as the 3rd step in the series, you should never under estimate the impact of training on your operation as it is a very critical element. Training as with communication works best when it’s delivered consistently, concise and with conviction. This goes for all types of training from forklift certification to safety meetings to emergency evacuation procedures. If you treat training as a joke, that’s how it’ll be perceived and what you’ll get. This is your opportunity to set the tone in your house.

STEP 3 – Training

You know what jobs you’re filling with the temporary workers, now gather all the written procedures, SOP, descriptions and policies that cover those jobs and any other pertinent company policies and prepare your training plan. It is extremely important to have this information on hand and readily available not to mention a great habit to develop, reviewing and/or updating job descriptions, procedures and as well as conducting a hazard analysis at least once a year to keep your workers safe, practices current and regulatory obligations filled. Get your stuff printed and assembled and rehearse giving the training. Decide what kind of handouts, videos, power-points or other media you’ll use in your presentation. Don’t forget to include checklists, PPE that’s required and how to properly wear it, what materials are recycled or tossed, procedures on reporting and handling of spills, injuries, forklift use, sanitation and even include breaks and lunch periods. This is also a great way to get your staff involved in the training by having them demonstrate how to wear PPE or do a LOTO or any thing else you want to show.

Depending on your location it may also be a big help if you had the training material translated into the predominate language of the temporary workers. Some workers may speak english much easier than they can read it and this is information you want to make sure you get across. Remember, even though these are temporary workers they are still human beings and should be treated with the same respect as anyone else. I was the day shift manager at one place where my boss the D.C. manager would send temps home for extremely minor offenses as he patrolled the time clock area like a mad hen protecting her nest. Barking out their infraction as he pulled their time card and told them to go home. I would cringe with each one, “Your a minute late, go home”, “your shirt is not tucked in, go home.” It drove me nuts trying to plan the day while losing staff even before the shift began. Needless to say as he continued his campaign for crimes that were never explained upfront let alone written down anywhere he also sabotaged our relationship with the temp agency. Don’t ever hesitate to run your operation the way you see fit but make sure to be up front with workers and explain the rules clearly including the consequences if the rules are not followed but make sure they’re reasonable and not unattainable. One last comment on respecting all temporary workers. Even if their first language isn’t english that doesn’t mean they are any less intelligent and you never know who’ll surprise you with a great idea to save time and money for the operation.



Make sure to document all training by using a sign-in sheets and make sure all employees attending sign to acknowledge their attendance, attach copies of the training material used for that meeting and keep for your records. Well trained employees do impact your bottom line and can lead to a well executing, sustainable workforce.

Next installment – STEP 4 – Safety

5 Steps For a Successful Peak Season – STEP 2


Now that you have Staffing under control, (SEE STEP 1) you can focus your attention on the next important step, storage. Seasonal items are always an interesting collection of flavors, (pumpkin, eggnog, gingerbread and peppermint), new and unusual food products, new electronics and premiere of other household goods, all making their annual appearance. The good news is many of these incoming sku are only temporary items for the season and will be moving fast over a short period of time.


Depending on the orientation of your warehouse or facility cross-docking is a great way to temporarily store product without taking up valuable storage space in the racks. Cross-docking is basically taking product coming in and instead of putting it away into storage just keep it on the loading dock for shipping that day or the next. Begin by looking at upcoming shipments a few days out and the quantities needed and then look at the receiving appointments and quantities coming in. If you’re using a WMS you should be able to flag those incoming purchase orders so the product stays on the dock after being received for immediate shipping whether you’re loading your own trucks or preparing for shipping LTL. If you’re in a strictly Manufacturing environment, most orders especially in food manufacturing are made to order. As the order is produced especially those seasonal ones and brought to shipping, place them right on the dock and ship them out. Be sure to set up locations in WMS for holding the product on the dock so everyone is aware the items are for orders shipping. It also doesn’t hurt to have pre-made labels handy to place on the pallets also alerting everyone to what they are and how they’re shipping.

Renting/leasing trailers is another storage alternative however the down side is sometimes things get lost. Don’t lose track of what you have out there and stay on top of it. Give the trailer an assigned location, (usually the trailer number so you can find it) and an accurate inventory of it’s contents. There is nothing worse then having a yard full of trailers and not knowing which one has what you’re looking for. If possible keep only one sku in a trailer and if you store 2 sku keep them on opposite sides of the trailer from each other since you don’t want to have to move product to get to other items behind them. The chance of damages greatly increases the more you move them. If you need to keep things cool, refrigerated trailers are also available for rental but don’t recommend them for extended period of time since fuel usage will add to the cost of operation.



Even if you are a small operation and can’t do either of the above another fallback to help you with storage is to place the extreme fast moving items in large bays closest to the loading dock. If need be double the number of bays used to hold more product for picking and shipping to reduce the number of replenishments needed. If you load full pallets keep them above the bay you chose as a pick location for quick retrieval. If your product is not perishable and you have good weather as well as a secured parking lot you can store product outside and remember as I said before, set up temporary locations in your WMS and don’t lose sight of inventory.

You can also pay someone else to hold and ship your product. A third party logistic (3PL) operation can store and ship orders directly to your customers from their location for cents per case per day or what ever agreement you make. You just need to make sure they have a continuous supply of your product and hope they care about it as much as you do as well as have a very good inventory control system in place.

No matter how many items you need to store and move in your warehouse, never compromise safety no matter how crowded things get. Don’t ever use pedestrian walkways for storage of product as this only forces people out of using a protective area and right into the flow of traffic and a possible accident. Don’t put product in the aisle-ways or block pick areas and storage racks with product. Why slow down your staff and make them squeeze around stacked pallets of product with their lifts or riding forks and it is more likely to lead to increased damages and make moving items off the upper racks very difficult and dangerous. Above all don’t ever block emergency exits, electrical panels and fire extinguishers even for a short period of time. Those are bad habits you never want to get into.

Next installment STEP III – Training


5 Steps For a Successful Peak Season – STEP 1

It’s the beginning of August, those lovely dog days of summer, it’s hot, it’s slow at work and folks are away on vacations. However this is not the time to kick back and relax since before you know it, the seasonal rush for goods and services will be upon you and your warehouse will be fully engaged as the home entertaining season begins with Halloween and then right on through Thanksgiving to Christmas and the New Year. Will you be ready to handle those peak season orders? Chances are if you don’t already have a plan or working on one right now you may not be prepared to keep those service levels your customers are expecting.

When business peaks you will be challenged by staffing issues, storage space limitations, increased number of orders to process, increased demands on equipment usage all while maintaining worker safety and sanitation standards. It sounds like a lot to deal with but this all can be handled expertly and professionally. First let’s break this down into steps and examine each one more closely.


This is when having established a great rapport with your sales and marketing departments comes in handy. You can always get a good idea on the projections of units to be sold or manufactured during the peak season from them. Also find out what seasonal products will be available during this period and the duration, what other pricing specials and the anticipated movement as well as any other promos or combination promos or brand new items. Some customers like and are offered to buy mixed pallets of goods for promotions. A great example for around the holidays would be a promotion with a mixed pallet of light brown, dark brown and powered sugars, or in the summer a mix of catsup, mustard and pickle relish. This is important since you’ll need to plan on labor to build the projected number of pallets needed. If you’re not on a sales/marketing distribution list just ask to be added.

Now you can begin to determine your staffing needs and whether you may be able to handle the seasonal rush by going with your current staffing level and working extra hours or shifts. This is not a bad solution but be careful not to push people to far as increased work hours can lead to fatigue and an increased number of accidents. Another issue to consider if you do go this route is the tendency to sacrifice housekeeping and sanitation when it gets busy. Don’t allow it to happen since it’ll become another thorn as again the incident of accidents can increase due to trips and falls. Also consider the increased hours of usage on the equipment and the associated maintenance and charging times. Nothing worse than people standing around because the equipment is down or charging.

However, if you decide you do need additional staffing, first determine what jobs are they going to do? Picking orders, packaging, replenishments, sweep? Speak to your regular staff and get their input on where help would be most beneficial. How much training do you want to do and how. What skill level do you want in the workers? Using a temporary employment agency to place seasonal employees will greatly help with staffing but don’t put all your eggs in one basket and work with at least 2 different agencies. Get to know your representatives at the temp agency and invite them to a tour of your facility so they can see first hand the various kinds of jobs and working conditions. Make sure to give a very thorough job description along with percentages of bending, stooping, standing, and so on in a typical 8 hour day along with the estimated weights of items that will be handled. Also supply the temp agency a copy of your safety standards that all your employees get during orientation, and other policies on attendance, tardiness and any tools or equipment including PPE like steel toe shoes that are required. Also ask to see what kind of safety training they offer their temps. Some just show a video and some a video followed by a multiple choice question test. It’s not the greatest engaging safety training but you can build on what they offer. Think what kind of previous experience would make them attractable for you and will there be opportunity to offer them regular employee status at any point? Be sure to track any issues that may arise with temporary employees, their response on issues, turnover rate, quality of employee, attendance and did they deliver on the number of people you requested and were promised? You can use these items as a report card to measure that agencies performance and justify whether you want to continue doing business or not.

You can also make training easy by putting everything together now, while it’s slow season and practice on your staff and make sure to listen to their feedback. We’ll go deeper into training in a later step.

I’ve used both methods in dealing with seasonal peaks, separately and at times little of both. Just be prepared for everything and anything when using temporary employees. Even though most agencies do a fantastic job of screening applicant’s sometimes a real pill will get by. I came in one morning and a temp worker was immediately pointed out to me since he was taking an incredible amount of time picking one order. I pulled him aside and after speaking with him realized he was very inebriated and to my surprise he admitted it. I thanked him for being honest and politely declined his offer to have a snort. Since he had no car I sent him home in a cab with his bicycle in the trunk and billed the Agency for it.

Next installment STEP II – STORAGE

Aunt Ida’s Recipes For Disaster – PICKLED FORKLIFT


Our Chef de Catastrophe, Aunt Ida has really stepped outside the box in creating this new holiday classic for all to enjoy.

TODAY’S FEATURED RECIPE –  PICKLED FORKLIFT –  This treat is not only easy to make but can be made year round and is especially a great accompaniment for any disaster whether used as a side dish or condiment.  The best part of this recipe is the pickling process does not take much time.

Prep time: A minute      Cook time: Blink of an eye     Yield: Severe head trauma, crushed limbs, and death.

Ingredients:  Any forklift can be used in this recipe;  sit down, stand up, picker, electric, propane, or diesel.   

Directions:  After selecting the desired forklift type, you must use it any other way than what it was originally intended to be used for.  Don’t even bother with a safety pre-check and here are some recommended uses.      













Paul Blomfield PR Flicker

Paul Blomfield PR Flicker


Toyota lift of Minnesota

Toyota lift of Minnesota










In reality, forklifts are an integral part of the warehouse and manufacturing plants and like any other piece of equipment if not properly trained to operate or not used properly it can KILL you or someone else.  It’s the workhorse that doesn’t need to be groomed at the end of a ride, but you do need to treat it with great respect and it’ll be sure to take care of you.

Please feel free to read the other articles in this blog or contact us witzshared.com for your workplace safety questions.

Companies Behaving Badly – Happy 2014

HAPPY NEW YEAR!   Welcome to 2014 and I wish each and everyone of you, a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.  Ah yes, inhale, love that fresh new year smell!  Ready to hit the ground running full of promise as we begin a new start and ready to nail those resolutions we made on those things we want to improve only to later regret and beat ourselves up for not following through.  Such a waste of time.  Lets just forget the word “resolutions” and rid yourself of it’s connotations and instead write out GOALS, ACCOMPLISHMENTS, EXPLOITS, FEATS, what ever you want to call them for this new year.  Ones that are realistically attainable and here are some examples to help:  *I will always wear all PPE required by the company when doing my job.  *I will always follow LOTO (lock out tag out) procedures when cleaning, adjusting or any work on equipment.  *I will participate on the company safety committee.  Simple, attainable…Easier than you thought?  With that said, unfortunately, this is another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.

Two Amazon Workers Crushed to Death on the Job – PREVENTABLE –  A temporary worker employed by Abacus, a temporary staffing firm, was crushed between pieces of equipment in a New Jersey 3PL facility owned by Amazon but operated by Genco.  As we have seen in the past with the facilities under contract to Walmart they are not run very well and training does not generate profits so it’s rarely done.  In another facility operated by Amazon an employee was killed when a forklift fell on him and is still under investigation.  Just because they’re called temporary employees doesn’t mean their lives should be and it is not fair to put these workers on the floor with the attitude they’re not worth the time to be trained!

OSHA Cites Metal Company for Safety Violations after Worker Blinded – PREVENTABLE – McNeil Group, operating as Pinnacle Metal Products was fined over $90,000 after an employee was blinded by a serious head injury.  It turned out the employee was not properly trained on operating a scissors lift and this led to further looking by OSHA and guess what, they found 11 more violations from no adequate training on machine guarding, exposing workers to amputation, failure to train and no load ratings on machinery.  Nothing like tempting fate.  

OSHA Serves $150,000 Fine to Olé Mexican Foods for Alleged Safety Hazards – PREVENTABLE – You really have to wonder about the intelligence of a company when OSHA comes in and points out serious violations and they do absolutely NOTHING to correct them to protect their workers, to the point the workers complained to OSHA and now Ole is faced with $150,000 in fines.  The repeat violations included failing to ensure workers doing maintenance understood the energy-control program and procedures, nothing like hoping your staff can get the job done safely.

Hartford welding firm hit with OSHA fines – PREVENTABLE – Jarosz Welding of Hartford, Conn. failed to correct workplace safety hazards cited during an August 2012 inspection, that’s what OSHA found when they came back.  “We found no evidence that the employer made any effort to safeguard its workers from these serious hazards that prompted great concern and various citations upon initial inspection,” Warren Simpson, OSHA’s area director in Hartford stated.  Those uncorrected issues included no welding screens near welding stations, not maintaining suitable extinguishing equipment in ready condition while work was being done and failure to install safety guards on machinery.  Knowing your employees are in harms way and not caring enough to do anything about it should lead to jail time. 

Rite Aid Cited by US Labor Department’s OSHA for Safety Hazards at Kings Highway Store in Brooklyn, NY – PREVENTABLE – Rite Aid gave workers the wrong aide when they exposed them to 11 foot falls, lacerations and other trip and fall hazards. Imagine working in an area with an uncovered opening that led to a 11 foot fall and a good chance your death.  That one day while rushing to help a customer you forget about the unmarked opening and poof!  These fines for intentionally exposing workers like this, did I mention it was a repeat violation,  is only chicken feed to these companies and we need much stiffer fines to stop this madness.

North Brunswick Furniture Warehouse Fined $71,000 Following OSHA Investigation – PREVENTABLE Yet another repeat offender!  Complete Liquidations, doing business as The Furniture Exchange was cited with 4 repeat and 13 serious violations.  The repeat violations were not keeping exit paths clear, failure to label dangerous chemicals, failure to provide adequate work area near electrical equipment and failure to keep spray booths free from storage.  Sounds like they were trying to liquidate the workers as well!  On top of that there was no emergency action plan, maintained fire extinguishers and no training.  Total lack of regard for the employees who are trying to house and cloth their families.

Main Street Post Office cited by OSHA – PREVENTABLEThe U.S. Postal Service receives quite a bit of criticism about it’s lack of customer service and for being very slow to respond to problems, which are indications of poor management.  Nothing spotlights their lack of leadership better than the 2 REPEAT violations for not providing adequate exit routes  and allowing blocked and obstructed exits in addition to slip and fall hazards due to a damp and wet floors in one area.  These violations will cost the cash strapped Postal service $84,000 which is outrageous for a quasi-government agency to expose it’s employees to hazards this way.

Seinfeld television show

Seinfeld television show

Widow files $40M claim in Maybrook wall collapse – PREVENTABLE – Is it really worth the time or money you think you save by cutting corners on safety?  Employees are not expendable pieces of tissue paper they are human beings.  Whether the widow wins this lawsuit or not, again, is it worth going through all this.  As my Dad used to say, “just do it right and you don’t have to worry about it later.”

OSHA’s Top 10 Frequently Cited Safety Violations – INFO – This is OSHA top ten violations for FY 2013.  Even Letterman couldn’t make this funny.  Make a goal for 2014 to make sure none of them exist at your place of work.

This brings another episode of Companies Behaving Badly to a close.  If you do see safety hazards at your place of work, DO something about it!  Speak UP!  You don’t have to put up with it and except for first responders and the military there is NO job that you should have to risk your life to save a few minutes or dollars.  You should expect to go home at the end of your shift the same way you arrived, in one piece.  The Wizard knows your future and that is you will become a safety advocate in 2014 and be active on the company safety committee.  Stay safe.

warehouseflow consulting

warehouseflow consulting