Companies Behaving Badly-Don’t Do That

zohandon'tdothis

Welcome back and thank you for stopping by.

I’ve gotten a lot of advise on “what not to do” over the course of my life.  Beginning with my first ever safety training, don’t touch the stove when the burners are lit.  Then it was don’t play with matches and don’t play with dad’s lighter fluid, (my sister’s doll house was made of tin which made it resilient enough to hold up to the multiple times it was set on fire with the aid of dad’s lighter fluid).  As I got older the “don’t play with” advice became more indirect, but still telling me what not to do.  “Do you know the old woman in apartment 15?  No?  Good.  Don’t go there.  She’s crazy and eats children”.  “Do you know those guys on the corner?  No?  Good, don’t hang with them.  They’re bad dudes.”  “Do you chew tobacco?  No? Good. Don’t get started, it’s a nasty habit i wish I could kick.”  “Do you smoke? No? Good. Don’t get started, it’s a nasty habit I wish I could kick.”  You want a beer? Don’t drink? Good, don’t get started it’s a nasty habit I wish I could kick.”  I had a dear friend at the time, who offered me a paper bag with airplane modeling glue inside.  I declined, “You don’t?  That’s good and don’t start, it’s a nasty habit I wish I could kick.” He did eventually kick it, but not before the damage was done. 

A lot of people concerned about what I may get started doing but not why I shouldn’t get started except that it’s a nasty habit.that’s hard to kick and of course many of these well intentioned folks were role models that affected me for life.  “Hey. You a safe worker?  No? Good, it’s a nasty habit I wish I could kick.”  I could see Stubby, one of my dad’s buddies who owned a garage/gas station saying that.  He earned his nickname while working on a car when the spinning fan blade separated him from three of his fingers.  “You don’t want to get started on this.”  He would have been right, had he said that.

.peterpushbuttonIt’s not enough just to tell people not to do something, especially since some folks will do it anyway and don’t have to wait for a dare!  It also sounds very hypocritical with “Do as I say, not as I do” if not properly explained.  You want people to learn and understand WHY they shouldn’t do it by explaining what the consequences can be, how the hazard can be mitigated, does exposure need to be limited?  So I really don’t need to lose fingers in the process of getting the job completed?  The more you teach and educate a worker, the don’t do this morphs into “what you should do” to safely complete tasks while also building their confidence and giving you a better prepared and safer worker.  

When a near miss or accident occurs you do an investigation and determine if your training needs improving, the employee needs improvement or more safeguards are needed to be put into place but don’t let those events distract you from missing the little things that indicate change is needed.  When leadership is on the shop floor, listening, observing and walking in workers steps you’ll see if there’s an area where workers keep bumping their heads on a overhead pipe or the glue machine that heats up to the point it can burn your hand.  Will bump caps or padding the pipe help best?  Should I invest in gloves or talk to the glue machine company rep about the machine?  Open and honest communication between people, making a better and safer workplace.  Wow!  What a concept.

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Sugarloaf Owners Cited by OSHA Following Employee Death  Hazards lurk everywhere and sometimes the company leadership just doesn’t see the big picture from behind their desk, blinded by the glare from their computer screen.  Don’t overlook or fail to report little safety incidents like head bumping, cut fingers, burns to management and see if PPE is required to help mitigate these issues.  At one time, baseball players didn’t wear batting helmets and  hockey players didn’t wear helmets.  Now it’s pretty much mandatory for a safe work environment.  This is also where having safety committees can help as they can review these incidents and help bring in the best solution through open discussion and employee input.

When companies go through growing pains, unfortunately sometimes so do the workers.  Amazon has had a few bumps in the road,  Two Worker Deaths in September at Different Amazon Warehouses Spawn Concern from Worker Advocates.  Amazon’s success has made them everyones favorite target but two deaths in one month does raise concerns.  Then Amazon faces $28,000 fine after Indiana warehouse worker crushed by a forklift.  They found that Amazon didn’t provide adequate training and safety procedures weren’t followed.  These are symptoms of a fast paced, fast growing company where training is rushed and can be confusing.  It also sends a bad message when you say Worker Safety is important to Amazon and then pull a double standard mixed message of when it’s convenient.  I understand jobs are tough to come by and working for Amazon can be like hitting the jackpot and finding where they keep the soylent green, but if you’re not sure about something, ASK!  If your supervisor seems bothered or put out by your question then this may not be the place you want to work.  It’s your life.  You choose.

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Then Tesla, another successful company driven by one man, to make life better for all of us, well, maybe, except for their own workers.  Tesla’s Biggest Problems.  Running behind on production goals, increased injuries and accidents on the job what’s a CEO to do?  Fire as many as you can to send a message to workers that Safety First is just a slogan and has no real meaning if we don’t get cars on the road.  CalOSHA may have to set up a field office at the plant in Milpitas.  I have a problem with companies that blame their problems on the workers.  If you don’t properly train workers, if you don’t make safety a real priority and just say how important safety is, people do eventually see through the BS.  Then when you push the poorly trained poorly disciplined workforce they get exhausted working 16 hour days and accidents as well as sick calls greatly increase and the worst thing to do in a situation like that is come down hard.  Terminating people for your faults only tell me you don’t care about anyone but yourself.  Workers respond much better when they’re part of the discussion on safety and conditions.    

Being prepared means not just having the equipment and supplies to deal with an emergency but also checking and monitoring them to make sure they’ll be action ready when needed.  Make sure fire extinguishers, emergency lights and battery backup, eye wash stations, respirators and other emergency response equipment are on a regular inspection program.  The manufacturer is a good place to find out how often.  Don’t make excuses to put it off, this is critical to safety.  Otherwise you may find yourself making excuses in front of a jury.

Thanks for stopping by and checking this episode out.  We appreciate you all.  As some of you head out to points unknown for Thanksgiving and others prepare to entertain friends and family, please be safe in your travels.  Don’t let an asshole ruin your holiday, be patient and be prepared.  If you are feeling alone, depressed or hopeless please remember you are NOT alone and you can speak to someone who doesn’t judge.  1-800-273-TALK (8255)  There is no shame asking for help.

Until next month, Happy Thanksgiving.  Never keep quiet about safety for the life you save may be your own.

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Companies Behaving Badly-Practice What You Preach

Preacher

Welcome back. Happy Day of the Dead.

Practice what you preach!  That’s what I was taught as a child growing up on the streets of the Bronx back in the dark ages, (1950’s-60’s).  You practice what you preach, lead by example, do as I do!  So when I first supervised and told workers that their safety was important, I never allowed a corner to be cut for the sake of saving time or looked the other way during horseplay under the guise of boys will be boys.  I practiced what I preached cause I had to answer to one person and one person only.  Myself.  I had to be able to deal with the guilt if someone got hurt because I didn’t do or say something and I knew that wasn’t me.  So I took the path of practicing what I preached and was bullied, ignored, harassed, threatened and fired for doing so.  But I was also rewarded, promoted, appreciated and honored for taking that path at.  The path has always been the same, just different terrains, cultures and experiences. 

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So if we are going to practice what we preach, we can no longer be allowed to use the following phrase as an excuse, “boys will be boys”.  It can no longer be tolerated, embellished, chucked at, shoulder shrugged or eye rolled.  “Boys will be boys.” is no longer an excuse when someone is found at work joy riding on powered industrial equipment or using powered industrial equipment to perform dangerous acts well beyond the safe operation of the equipment.  “Boys being boys” can not only no longer be tolerated in a workplace that wants to have a respected safety program but in ALL aspects of life as it will no longer be an acceptable excuse to explain poor behavior.  Boys will be boys can no longer explain dangerous hazing rituals, drinking initiations or paying your dues.  Boys will be boys will no longer be used to explain inappropriate touching, verbal abuse and degrading of women.  You’d think by time you get to the age of adulthood and begin working for a living the practical jokes suffered in elementary school, the bullying of JHS and the initiations of freshmen and overall silliness of high school would be done.  Yet  it never seems to end, as boys will be boys.

So we deal with this like we do with everything else.  Our leaders decide we need new laws.  Not just any new laws but new and improved laws with teeth because the old laws didn’t work as well.  But as we all know, laws or rules or regulations are only as good as they’re enforced!   While the news media covers the making of the new laws along with the names of the brilliant leaders who give us the new laws, it tells us, they must be solving our problem.  I no longer have to worry since we have such great new laws!  Soon the fanfare dies down and the new laws are treated just like the old laws, lapses in coverage, uneven enforcement, not consistent for all and then those who are rich will get around the new laws and those that are poor will do the time, but then, thats just boys being boys.

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When Police officers and firefighters see something odd in a warehouse, like people living there when they shouldn’t, electrical wires and extension cords running all over and wall to wall junk no matter what the law, if they don’t say something, nothing happens people may die and even if they do say something and nothing is done up the line, again, the laws are useless since people still die.  It’s up to all of us, Men and Women working together to help enforce them.  We are people folks.  All born the same way and no matter what our packaging is, white, black, yellow or red we are all gray in our heads and red in our arteries and blue in our veins.  We need to protect each other.

One of the good things about practicing what you preach is you could prevent yourself from being blown-up.  Foreman didn’t follow protocol before Detroit explosion, manager says.  Sounds like a rookie mistake but the foreman, Anthony Tower, 62, had decided that even though he was trained and probably trained others to use water only to wash out the bin.  He wanted to give his two workers an important lesson on, do as I say not as I do, and took a metal shovel to clear the bin wall which created a spark and the following explosion.  Surprise!  Luckily no one died but they were all sent to the hospital for treatment with one worker sustaining bad burns.  As much as the foreman didn’t follow protocol, I have found that workers are lax on safety and procedure when the culture, created by management, allows it.  I say that because this company Northeast Agricultural Sales, Inc. was fined in 2014 for 10 safety violations after a bin collapsed and injured a worker.  Do it right the first time and live a happy life with all your limbs.

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When it comes to “practice what you preach” what is the time frame?  WV DEP found problems at Parkersburg warehouse earlier this year, records show.  If you didn’t know, the Parkersburg warehouse had burned for 8 days!  Yes, over a week and the smoke was toxic and no one knows what’s really burning since the company won’t say and probably have no idea themselves.  They were inspected by the state earlier this year and they found all kinds of violations that indicated continued problems at the facility such as their unsatisfactory general housekeeping while operations, maintenance and storage were found marginal and nothing was done.  Waste and pellets were scattered around the site, a diesel spill had not been fully cleaned up, deteriorating storage drums exposed to the elements as well as not submitted required monthly progress reports and still, nothing was done.  Two local volunteer firefighters had warned nearly a decade before that this could be a potential major fire and yet nothing was done.  Just boys being boys under the poor leadership of morally bankrupt morons.

When it comes to practice what you preach I find industry groups are the best at promoting their industry but the worst at telling the truth of the safety of their product or their own preachings. They say they don’t need no government watchdog but that they can regulate and monitor themselves and not kill anyone in the process.  The American Petroleum Institute just flat out ignored the problem when they failed to respond to concerns about oil train safety even after a town was obliterated from the map when 47 of it’s residents were vaporized by a derailed oil train.  American Petroleum Institute Failed to Respond to Concerns of Oil Train Safety.  Even though they supply the railroad with their oil cars they don’t care after that, it’s in the railroads hands and their problem now.  When we hear of the horrors of mass shootings or trucks running over as many people as possible we wonder how people can be so heartless to take a life yet we sit by and allow industries to put dangerous railcars on the tracks, store chemicals in reckless fashion, pollute the air and poison our water.  Fyi, it’s still murder, just a lot more subtle about it. 

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It’s always interesting to see how a company reacts to adversity.  When Tesla began to fall behind on meeting it’s production goals and had a rash of industrial accidents, so instead of looking at their safety and training program they,  Tesla fired hundreds of employees in past week.  Sounds like the way to go and just gives workers more reason to want the union in place to protect them.

Speaking of training,  The top five workplace safety issues faced by small Aussie businesses revealed.  Australia has rolled out new workplace rules and regulations and like with any new program the literature and training is not helping much as small companies are concerned about the complexity of the rules and constant changing along with the paperwork.  Let’s hope the government offers lots of patience and tolerance as people adjust.  Maybe a better way of getting the message out is in order as well.

Building a better death trap.  OSHA Investigation Finds Hazards Remain at North Jersey Warehouse.  What began as an employee complaint, OSHA came in and found blocked exit routes, blocked electrical panels and struck by hazards so they cited the company in February.  OSHA returned recently and found that just about nothing had been fixed and workers were still being exposed to hazards so this time they’ve been hit with a potential fine of $181,280.  It would have been much cheaper just to fix things in the first place but some companies just have to do it the hard way and that’s why you should never keep quiet about safety.  If it doesn’t look right and appears dangerous, then it probably is.  Say something and if you’re ignored called the OSHA hotline 1-800-321-6742.

Back quickly to Australia.  They are doing something that is happening more in this country.  That is giving out prison sentences if a worker dies due to company negligence.  Yes,  Industrial Manslaughter – Up to 20 Years Imprisonment and Maximum AUD10 Million Fine for Corporate Offenders.

  angerissueburning dIt is amazing that the San Francisco Bay area, teeming with entrepreneurial spirit, rich in investors, and near by silicon valley that we are saddled with two of the most inept companies.  PGE has had a vacuum in leadership for years now, as profits became more important then human lives and BART, the transit company that made dummy surveillance cameras and dummy transit cops a thing.  State agency slaps BART with a nearly $220,000 fine for worker deaths  Their continued lack of leadership earned them a $220,000 fine from CalOSHA for the deaths of two maintenance workers hit by a train.  The incident exposed BART’s horrible training program for new train drivers and the lack of communication about scheduled maintenance and repairs and protecting workers.

True trickle down economics, California style.  Legal marijuana causes warehouse rent to skyrocket in Sacramento – 4 or 5 times normal

That brings this episode of Companies Behaving Badly to a close.  Thanks for stopping by and taking time out of your busy day.  Please feel free to use any of these stories at your next safety tailgate/toolbox meeting.  Safety is everybody’s job, don’t be afraid to ask questions, do your own research on the web.  It’s you life.  Until next time, please never keep quiet about safety, for the life you save may be your own.

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Companies Behaving Badly-Stupid Tax

stopbeingstupid

Welcome back.

Well, it’s official people, it’s fall season, oh and it’s the beginning of autumn as well.  As the Governments fiscal year ends, OSHA has published its listing of the top 10 safety violations and yet again, falls are number one.  I don’t get it.  With all the focus on fall prevention and all the fines handed out, there are still those that believe they can defy the law of gravity for the sake of saving a few minutes if not seconds and put their life at risk.  The problem is once you begin a fall and there is nothing attached to you to prevent this, depending on the height of your fall you will have time to watch at least part of your life flash before your eyes before it is suddenly jarred by the hard ground you hit.

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Even though you were told at the morning huddle to wear your safety vest while working on the roof and late at the site reminded to anchor your lines to the building you still unhooked yourself cause the line was holding you back from reaching and freeing the air hose that got caught up.  Now, without the tether line you can reach and begin to untangle the hose. Unfortunately, your over confidence minimizes the danger and you step wrong, slip and off you go.  This is not another scary  story but has actually happened to workers who are now just a memory of family and friends.  If you die, well I think you just paid the ultimate price for your actions but if you survive, shouldn’t you be charged a stupid tax?

Yes, the company is responsible for providing you with a safe work environment as well as the PPE and tools needed to accomplish that, so then, don’t you owe it to the company to give them a stupid free employee?  In the above scenario, your stupidity will cause the company to be fined by OSHA and go through an intense examination of practices, policies, procedures and all the documentation to back that up.  The site supervisor will be interrogated and maybe sued or face criminal charges, the companies worker comp premium will increase, your fellow workers who watched your death will get counseling and your widow and children will fight it out in a court of law with your employer as lawyers from both sides go back and forth deciding the monetary value of your life.

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But no matter what I say here, or your bosses tell you, or the videos show you, one of you is still going to believe they are immortal and work at a dizzy height without any protection or forethought, cause it’ll only take a second.  You survive the ordeal and laugh about all the hype and then laugh at people like me who go on about workplace safety.  However if that one time comes up, your number is up and you slip or trip or get carried by a gust of wind at least you won’t hear me say, I told you so, because, you’ll be dead.

So with that all said, the falls continue.  OSHA investigating roofer’s fatal fall from building in Ashburn  He fell 35 feet.  Plenty of time to reflect on the way down and guess what?  There was no evidence of any fall protection equipment being used.  His employer, STA Enterprises Inc., as you expect had no comment.  It looks to me that no one at the site took the responsibility to make sure Mr. Hrdlicka wore and used fall protection gear.  Look, we’ve been around this block many, many times.  If you’re employer, boss, foreperson or supervisor tells you to repair a roof, you say, sure, no problem but where’s my gear

and continue.  Fatal fall from TV tower is deadliest such plunge investigated by feds in 5 years  Three men, 23 year old Brachton Barber, 31 year old Marcus Goffena and 35 year old Benito Rodriguez who were employed by Tower Kings II, were replacing a antenna for a local television station when their scaffolding went out from under them plugging all three to the ground.  Hopefully the investigation will determine what went wrong but it’s a good reminder that you should inspect everything before using it.  The tower, the scaffolding, the anchor points, everything.  Don’t assume that someone has done that a head of time for you.

and continue.  Danbury man in critical condition after impaling himself on metal rod  This guy was very lucky as he was on the roof checking an exhaust fan and well, it was only 10 feet off the ground (OSHA max height is 6 feet before use of fall protection), what could go wrong?  Well, the goods news is he was prevented from hitting the ground when he impaled himself on a pole, which I can tell you is not the approved method of fall protection.  The lesson here is even with what seems to be a easy task can become dangerous if the correct steps and proper attitude are not taken.

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and continue, but the following is a practice that should never be tolerated in any facility, EVER and in fact, there are only two times where I’ve terminated an employee on the spot and in both incidents it was for doing this. OSHA warns about forklift-elevated pallets  One time the excuse given to me was that they couldn’t find the cage to use to properly lift an employee, they actually didn’t look very hard and the other time a temporary employee was convinced that being raised on a pallet was a right of passage.  No matter who tells you to climb aboard a pallet to be raised, a supervisor or company owner the answer should always be a resounding NO!  You can’t be fired for refusing to do an unsafe act.

Lack of training by companies doesn’t help the situation any and a recent survey confirmed this.  17 Percent of Small Business Employees Never Get Workplace Safety Training  If you think you’re saving money by not taking the time to do training you are not only kidding yourself but also putting your workers and your customers in danger.   Training is the most critical aspect of safety.  If employees don’t know what to do in an emergency it can lead to even a larger catastrophe and more injuries and deaths.  Just like safety meetings, training is something you can arrange and make time for, if you want too, without creating over time or other issues.  You just need to be creative and yes, it’s a little more work, but then, aren’t your employees worth it?

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Which brings us to this.  12 Sickened Following Chemical Spill At Mushroom Plant  What kinds of chemicals are used in your facility?  Are there reactions you should be aware of if chemicals mix?  Does you staff know what to do if there is a chemical spill?  Those first few minutes of a spill are critical as you try to evacuate and determine what you are dealing with at the same time and without any training, well, you may be as good as dead.  In this case all 12 were able to go home after being checked out at the hospital but sometimes in these incidents people aren’t so lucky as deadly vapors are invisible and sometimes odorless.  Make sure chemicals are clearly labeled and used in a well ventilated area and that workers are using the proper respirators if needed.  Also make sure to check and verify safety equipment like respirators and ventilation is in top working condition and serviced regularly.

Until science can change this, Death is not temporary, it is forever and temporary workers are human beings trying to make a living just like everybody else and should not be treated like tissues.  The article below is some fabulous reporting as to what this person experienced, going undercover as a temporary employee.  In most cases we don’t treat them with the respect we should.  I went undercover in a Toronto factory where temp workers have died. Here’s what I found  People should always treat people with respect.  You’d be amazed as to what can be accomplished with a little encouragement.

Well folks, that brings this episode of Companies Behaving Badly to an end.  Thanks for stopping by and please plan on doing what you can to help eliminate falls at the workplace. This is an epidemic that has gone on for too long and we have the knowledge and technology to prevent it.  At least until they can come up with a vaccination to cure stupid.  Take care and remember, never keep quiet about safety for the life you save may be your own.

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A Surefire way to improve your chances of survival – Emergency Kit

 

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It’s a wake up call.  One humungous wet, windy wake up call.  When hurricane Harvey blasted into southwest Texas leaving extensive damage and flooding, the scale of which is all most beyond comprehension.  Then hurricane Irma took the spotlight unleashing her fury on the Caribbean and Florida.  This is very sad and horrible on so many levels of loss and human suffering and now people who decided to ride out the storm in the keys are stranded, cut off from the world without food, water or power.  I’m sure when most of you heard that, you said to yourself, “Really need to put that survival kit together.”  A fabulous thought that will unfortunately fade along with the coverage of the epic catastrophes until it becomes “Texas, Florida a year later” and then again you’ll say, “Really need to put that survival kit together.” and then one day, the dam breaks, the fires burn rampant, the earth shakes, rattles and rolls.  No kit!!  Now, did you have a plan B?

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Did you notice how fast conditions on the ground changed, from dry to chest high water and did you also notice how with a slight change in direction, Irma hit areas that thought there were originally safe?  That’s how natural disasters work.  No warning, no how do you do, no pleased to meet you, just HERE!  If you think I’m going to use these disasters to motivate you to prepare and give yourself and advantage to survive something like this, well, you would be correct!  You never know when an earthquake is going to hit, you don’t know how bad it’ll flood, you don’t know where the twister will touch down,you just don’t know.  That’s why we buy insurance, hoping to never need it, but very happy that it’s there and by preparing an emergency chest/barrel/kit will give you insurance to be able to survive the first week of an event, but hope you’ll never need it.

A lot of cities, of all sizes struggle daily with their budgets and the cost of firefighters, police, infrastructure repair & maintenance, parks and recreation, public transit, administrative staffing, courts, pensions and lawsuits.  The level of city services are not what they once were and that includes the number of police and fire on duty at any given time and in the event of a natural disaster they would be immediately tied up responding to the hundreds of calls they would receive in the first few hours, (In Houston area alone they had over 75,000 emergency calls in the first four days).  They will triage the calls and handle the most serious including bleeding and severe trauma first, those with minor injuries will have to wait or treat themselves.  Depending on the conditions of the roads in and out of town, additional off duty first responders could be greatly delayed if at all able to report to work in the city or town they serve. 

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That’s why a survival kit comes in handy especially if you are able to stay in your home after the event.  After checking on those in the household the first thing you’ll do is a walk around your property and check to make sure it is still structurally safe to stay in and there is no smell of gas.  Now you can stay put and you have supplies to wait the few days until power and water come back online and life come back to normal.  Putting your survival kit together can be a fun family project and learning experience.  It’s also a great opportunity for a team building exercise for a company or safety committee.

My Survival Chest – This is what I used and put together for our home of two adults and one dog.  I was able to purchase just about everything on Amazon.com.  Use you imagination when it comes to the container and what you want to stash for an emergency. 

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A Rubbermaid 50 gallon capacity container, water proof and made of sturdy plastic, it’s durable and on wheels in case you have to move. Yellow so it can easily been seen.

 

 

 

Now, what and how much to put in your survival chest.  Base the amounts to store on a worse case scenario for your location.  How isolated are you?  Are you in city limits?  Are there bridges?  How many people and pets are you planning for?  You should also plan on 72 – 96 hours before all utilities and services are restored so a 3 – 5 day supply of food and water should be adequate.  

 

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WATER – Plan on 2 gallons per person per day. One gallon for drinking and one gallon for hygiene, sanitation and other.  Multiply 2 gallons with the number of people in the home and don’t forget to include water for your pets.  I have a mixture of bottled water and packaged sterilized water.  I would also add one or two of the straw water filter tools just in case things don’t get back to normal right away and you begin to run low on bottled water.  You can also boil water to sterilize it and if fire isn’t possible, keep a small bottle of bleach in your kit.  It can be used for purifying water for drinking, 8 drops for a gallon of water, shake and wait thirty minutes.  

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FOOD – Any combination of what you enjoy of prepared camping meals, fruits and canned goods (make sure to include a can opener) as well as some of your favorite snacks, power bars and chocolate which will come in handy to help with the stress.  Don’t forget to store emergency food for your pets as well.

 

 

 

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RADIO/CHARGER/BATTERIES – There are several radio choices but the ones that come with a hand crank/battery/solar powered are fabulous.  You can leave it in the sun all day to charge or use the hand crank.  It also can be used to charge your phone if you don’t have a portable charger.  The radio is both AM and FM as well as _________  

 

 

 

 

Flashlights/batteries/Candles and matches/fire starter – With no electricity you’ll have to rely on flashlights, candles and lanterns to illuminate the area.  This is very important for everyones safety especially if there is debris on the ground.  Never leave candles unattended.  Check the battery size requirements of all your items and store extra batteries in your kit.   

First aid kit/non latex gloves – A first aid kit can help you greatly for treating minor injuries.  If you need to treat a neighbor or stranger, the non latex gloves will help protect you.

Sleeping bags/tents – If your home is not safe to stay in but you have a large yard in the front or back you may want to set up tents for protection from the elements.  Even if you can stay in your home, to help get the kids through this, set the tents up and pretend you’re on a family camping trip.  Also keep a tarp in your kit as well to help protect from rain or use to keep you off the ground or help move someone who can’t get around on their own.

Blankets/warm clothes – Natural disasters don’t care what time of year it is so be prepared and keep some extra sweatshirts, jackets in the kit along with blankets to those chilly nights.

Make sure to keep an inventory of what’s in your emergency kit along with the expiration dates of those items so you can replace them when needed.  Also designate a meet area so you know everyone who was in the house or apartment is out.  In the event of an emergency, phone traffic will be crazy as people call 911 for assistance, family members calling to say they’re fine and family members calling to find out if loved ones are fine not to mention the possibility of downed cell towers.  I suggest you designate a family member who lives in another state as the contact person you can call to say you are fine and then let them contact everyone else about your status.  

You can get more information about how to prepare for a natural disaster or other emergencies by going to the FEMA web site at fema.gov and get stuff like a Earthquake Safety Checklist and other great information.  Check it out but don’t wait too long as it’ll be hard to research and prepare when you’re in the middle of a disaster.  Really, do it now!

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Companies Behaving Badly-Ritual Killing

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Welcome back.  Hope your labor day weekend was peaceful and relaxing.

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It seems to me that when people learn about ancient civilizations and their culture, when the subject of their rituals like human sacrifices comes up our reaction is to be appalled, disgusted, horrified.  “How cruel and barbaric!”  “That would never happen in a civilized world.”  Yet here we are in the year 2017 in a civilized world and every day, like a ritual, a worker is sacrificed while on the job in the name of corporate profits and no one is appalled, disgusted or horrified, for longer then ten minutes.   

 

The same companies that constantly complain how OSHA regulations and environmental regulations, are holding them back from greatness believe that they would do a better job of self regulating their actions then the government.  Yet they pollute and poison the communities that supported them with nice fat tax breaks while making record profits for their pockets by cutting corners on safety and by doing so, sacrificing workers.  There is more public outcry for a dog locked in a hot car, “there ought to be a law” then a worker who is burned a live on the job because his company didn’t want to waste time completely emptying the tank of a hazardous substance, oh, and they didn’t even bother telling him that.  Poof!  “He was a father of 3, isn’t that, oh but look at that poor puppy.

Luckily, there are many, many companies out there that care about their workers and make sure they have a safe environment to work in and nurtured with training, drills and respect.  They have painstakingly put together a culture of positive ethics and goals. What we need to watch out for and continue to call out are the companies that have negative cultures and personalities.

Like the company with a serial killer personality for a culture. Weeks after employee died, Blue Springs firm cited for again violating safety rules.  That’s right folks!  After Donald J. Meyer died on the job by being buried a live in a trench that was not properly shored up by his employer, Blue Springs Plumbing, the morons went and did it again, trying to kill more workers, as 5 weeks later workers were found in a trench without proper shoring.  An owner who has no care for the well being of his employees.  For these two acts of stupidity, the pending fine is a whooping $714,142 for 3 Willful and 4 Serious violations.  In my opinion, the owner should be facing manslaughter charges like in Boston.

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For what ever reason, the accidental death rate has climbed in a dying industry, coal mining and people with a conscience want to know why?  Latest coal death brings renewed call for mine safety action.  The latest death, a 51 year old coal miner, Owen Mark Jones was the 6th death in West Virginia alone, this year and 12th nationwide.  Can it be morally bankrupt owners taking advantage of the perceived laxing of regulatory enforcement?  You bet it is and with the appointment of acting Chief of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration filled by a person who as no experience in mine safety.   Just based on hearing that alone tells me things should improve greatly, NOT!  Now more then ever, miners need to watch each others back along with their union.

What does an accident waiting to happen look like?  It looks very much like the Crosby, Arkema plant.  Crosby Arkema plant had 10 violations OSHA considered serious.  However the problems here didn’t begin with Hurricane Harvey, they began over a year ago when OSHA found 10 serious violations and fined them $91,714.  OSHA says all repairs needed were completed but who knows how soon they fell back into bad habits. If you are working under questionable practices you can always make a call to the OSHA Hotline 1-800-321-6742 (OSHA).  You’ll not only be protecting your life and the lives of your fellow coworkers but the lives of the surrounding community.

No matter where you work, all equipment should receive some kind of inspection.   Whether it’s a pre-shift inspection of a forklift or a visual check inspection of the outside of a jet airliner, it is necessary to make sure it is safe to operate.  Failing to maintain lifts endangers employees, risks fines.  In fact the best practice would be to have all equipment scheduled for maintenance through a master schedule that details when and what needs to be replaced and to document and record all repairs made and by whom.  The information is readily available from the manufacturer. All you have to do is make sure it gets done and avoid making silly excuses.

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Apparently in California, two wrongs don’t make a right but it does make an award. Riverside CA Security Guard Injured by Forklift Receives $16.9 M Jury Award.  Even though the security guard was wrong by his actions, the forklift driver’s lack of checking behind him before moving was considered worse and so the monetary award.  Go figure.

If you still believe that the company forces you to wear PPE just so you look dorky, then maybe this story will change your mind. 15 Reasons Why Wearing A Helmet Is Always A Good Idea  PPE is specifically designed and manufactured to protect your body parts so you can do the job safely.  There is no excuse not too.

Well folks, that brings another episode to a close.  Think about becoming a safety advocate at work.  It’s easy to do by joining and becoming an active member of the safety committee, participating in safety meetings and mentoring younger workers.  Working together we can keep each other safe.  Never keep quiet about safety for the life you save may be your own.  Until next time.

 

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warehouseflow.com

A Complete Guide To Warehouse Safety-Volume 3-House Keeping

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Dorothy and Scarecrow were enjoying the beautiful day as they walked along a very pristine Green Brick road of safety.  She was very impressed by how clean it was and remarked, the bricks look like they were just polished.  I wonder how do they do it?  It helped make for a pleasant walk even in the company of Scarecrow who constantly chattered on and on, answering his own questions with excruciating detail.  Dorothy was enjoying the weather, the landscape and had temporarily forgotten all about her troubles as they hit the bend in the road she spun around like the Belle at the ball when they noticed a gradual change in the up keep of the area.  Debris became more noticeable as piles of wood and metal scrap, paper, plastic wrap and other types garbage grew larger and filled up the path making it more difficult to walk and Scarecrow kept tripping on the discarded items.  Dorothy even had a few slips and slides while trying to keep Scarecrow upright.  It was a mess!  Streamers of toilet paper blew in the wind as it clung to the trees, heaps of rusted metals, machine parts, liquids, plastic, tools dotted the landscape like little land mines.  What’s the deal, this is ridiculous said Dorothy, it looks like our shop floor after a big project.

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Their pace slowed to a crawl yet Scarecrow still somehow managed to trip over a large discarded water heater or so he thought, until the object yelled, “OW!”  Scarecrow stopped in his tracks and asked, “was that you Dorothy.?”  Dorothy was just as freaked and shook her head, no it wasn’t.  In a soft faint tone they heard, “Etwasmi”   “What?” “Et was mi”  They looked and found lying on the ground a long forgotten tin man buried in the trash that had rusted over during the years it was there.  They stood him up.  “Earlcan”, he said as he eyes rolled and darted downward.  Faced with the blank stares from Dorothy and Scarecrow he repeated, “Earlcan”.  Dorothy realized it and picked up the oil can and oiled around his mouth.  The tin man slowly moved his jaw a few times and finally was able to say, “Ahhhhh, thank you.  I thought no one would ever find me. Can you oil the rest of me please.”  They brought him back to being mobile and was ready for the barrage of questions Dorothy and Scarecrow had.  “Well you see, I was cleaning the area as I was told to do until one of the other workers asked, why are we working so hard cleaning up?  They’re only going to make it dirty again and there are no bosses around to watch what we’re doing, let’s get outta here.  So they did but I did not have the heart to stop and do nothing so I kept working but then the rain came and with no one around to oil me.  I rusted in place and have been here waiting for help so long a family of field mice moved in for a few years until the ferrel cats took over.”  

That’s terrible, Dorothy said.  Scarecrow asked, “So you did the housekeeping here?”  “Yes I did when I could.  The Personwhomustbeobeyed of this section of the Green Brick Road of Safety kept pulling me off housekeeping duties and reassigning me to other non-productive tasks.  So it began to pile up, but the Personwhomustbeobeyed didn’t seem to mind how it looked so other workers figured what the heck and it got worse to the point you see it now.”  Scarecrow jumped in, “Hey, I’ve got an idea!  Why don’t we take this to the head inspector in the Emerald City!?”  The tin man looked surprised, “The head inspector!  Really!”  “Yes.  He needs to know about the trip, slip and fall hazards here and Dorothy has to see him anyway to report the inspector of the East’s death and I gonna get some PPE.  You don’t mind, do you Dorothy?”  Not at all guys but let’s get moving, I want to get out of this dangerous dump.  Off they went further down the road and closer to Emerald city.

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Since we began our journey down the Green Brick Road of Safety, we have done a Hazard Analysis to identify safety hazards.  Then further down the road we met Scarecrow and his lack of knowledge on PPE  as to what equipment is available to protect employees.  Both important factors to workplace safety, but can we still further protect our employees from injury?  Yes, of course we can and it’s up ahead around the bend where the poor Tin Man was left with a daunting task of Housekeeping.  Granted, it’s not a very glamorous sounding name as it brings up images of maids and hotels who are sweeping, mopping and dusting, but actually that is a small part of Housekeeping.

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Trips, slips and falls – continues to be a leading cause of injury in the workplace and good housekeeping practices contains the usual suspects and greatly reduces the number of accidents.  Keep work areas, walkways, entryways free of clutter and obstructions at all times placing scraps, cardboard, plastic and used strapping in proper bins for bailing or trash bin.   You need to have a policy in place on drinks and containers allowed in the work area and if allowed, only containers with lids should be used.  Make sure mops, pails and wet floor warning signs are easily accessible to staff to deal with small spills and for larger liquid or chemical spills have staff trained how to respond and handle with containment booms and absorbent materials.  Work areas kept clean and organized.  Tools, lubricants, oils, inks other items that are not needed or in use should be put away and stored in the proper cabinet.  Window sills, machine tops and computers are not proper storage areas.  Proper footwear is very important especially if you work in a wet or cold storage environment.  You need the correct footing to keep steady and not flat on your back.  –Inclement weather, (rain, snow) and not paying attention or distraction are issues that should also be addressed to help ensure fewer accidents.

Forklifts and other industrial motorized equipment – Yes, housekeeping can keep your forklifts and other motorized equipment working longer and spending less time in repair.  When trash is left on the floor, especially plastic and paper a forklift can suck up the trash into it’s gears.  Over time the plastic heats up, melts and forms a large plug of plastic causing restricted airflow internally which results in other problems.  

Sanitation Another critical part of housekeeping especially in facilities that manufacture and/or store fresh perishables or frozen food products.  Keeping the work areas clean to prevent contamination from bacteria or other foreign particles is a daily routine on a consistent basis thanks to the use of a master sanitation schedule.  The schedule breaks out exactly what areas to be cleaned and the frequency.  As part of the accountability the person assigned to the cleaning signs off that it’s done.  The cleaning and organizing of the facility also greatly reduces the chance of attracting outside visitors such as insects and vermin.

UpkeepIs also included when it comes to housekeeping.  Any part of the facility that is found to be in need of repair should be done immediately, since putting it off could lead to other problems down the road especially if it’s a hole in the floor where someone could fall into or as a gateway for the previously named insects and vermin.  Flaking paint and rusted metal are also indications that immediate repairs are needed.  Upkeep along with sanitation and other good housekeeping practices keep the facility a safe and clean place to work. 

  

Work station’s setup for maximum efficiency and ergonomics – 

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 This is not an example of that.  Cluttered workbench with spray paint not put away in proper storage cabinet, if not tossed as empty cans, tools and other items strewn about which wastes time trying to locate when needed, unnecessary items also on workbench adding to clutter and all surrounded by  trip hazards and poor lighting.  

 

 

 

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A workstation should be set up to allow the least amount of repetitive movements, (bending, twisting, stooping, squatting and lifting) by the employee to complete their tasks while  operating machinery or working over a workbench.  Everything within reach and easy to retrieve and little time stopping to find what you need.  A great example this is something you probably use everyday, the kitchen triangle.  To achieve maximum efficiency in the kitchen it is set up with a clear defined path so the chef can easily reach the three key areas;  stove, sink and refrigerator.

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5S – This is a term you may or may not have heard in conjunction to housekeeping and productivity.  If this is new to you, please allow me to introduce you to this concept.  It is a discipline created in Japan to eliminate waste (wasted time, wasted moves etc) in specific ways to keep your work area clean, free of debris and organized to work safely and highly productive.  The 5S are:  Seiri – Clearing up.  Seiton – Organizing.  Seiso – Cleaning.  Seiketsu – standardizing.  Shitsuke – self-discipline.  Like many other disciplines there are also variations of 5S around like 6S (Sort, Straighten, Sweep, Standardize, Self-Discipline, & Safety).  5S could be a great tool and a way to introduce if you wanted to create a new workplace culture that develops disciplines even a mother would dream of.  There is plenty of literature out there to read up on, just google it. 

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No matter what housekeeping program you decide to go with or what you call it, 5S, 6S, No S,  I think you can see now why keeping your facility organized and clean is so important.

A tip for you from my vast experience.  When your warehouse looks clean, organized and well kept, you’re offering a fabulous first impression and all visitors, whether internal inspectors or external inspectors, your boss or the bosses boss, usually don’t bother looking deeper for issues.  The only problem you may have is the influx of management and corporate visitors wanting to see your facility. 

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So as you can see cleanliness is close to safety and you can be a large part of the solution. Don’t discard trash onto the floor, use proper receptacles.  Keep your work area organized and free of clutter.  Do not use chemicals or other harsh cleaners unless specifically instructed to do so and then make sure to wear the appropriate PPE.  Thank you for joining us and hope to see you as Dorothy, Scarecrow and the Tin Man continue their journey on the Green Brick Road of Safety.  Don’t miss an episode, sign up to get every new issue of Witzshared.com delivered right to you.

 

Safety is never pointless.  If you feel that way you need to talk to someone.  If necessary call the OSHA hotline 1-800-321-6742 and file an anonymous complaint.  Never keep quiet about safety and always ask questions.

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Companies Behaving Badly-To Life

mickeymousepunchedife

Welcome back.

We all talk about how important life is.  Our religious leaders teach us how precious life is, we have 24/7 suicide hotlines to help prevent the premature ending of life, we have doctors who are sworn to do everything they can to keep life going and we respect and honor those first responders who put their lives on the line to keep our lives from expiring.  However in reality, we don’t act like we really care about life at all.

Instead we behave like Lilliputians and the Blefuscu, so desperate to be right, so desperate to win, there is no open honest discussion, there can be no consensus just hatred because you don’t like the way the other one breaks open their eggs and if they can’t crack them open like you do, they’re not worthy of life.  That would be like shooting your husband just because he hung the toilet paper in the opposite direction.  (Yes, I know you’ve thought it, but didn’t carry it out.)  We cut off other vehicles, cause we’re special and important without a thought what the end result could be, death.  We have fistfights in a metal tube cruising at 35,000 feet without thought of what the result could be, death.  We bash in someone’s brains just for cheering on the visiting team without a thought of the end result, death and prison.  We shoot at strangers on the freeway, cause, hey why the hell not and no thought what the result could be.  

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So with all that going on and all the training sessions, certifications, re-certifications, safety meetings, safety tailgates/toolboxes, drills, tests and news stories, we, in the name of expediency and under the guise of “just this time”, continue to find new ways to severely injure or kill ourselves because for that fleeting moment, we believe we’re ingenuous and immortal but for too many this reality fades too fast and in the blink of an eye, they’re dead.  No body cares that you saved 10 minutes by stacking paint containers instead of getting a ladder, you’re dead.  No one cares that you were mocking the boss right before you slipped and fell off the roof, you’re dead.  No one cares how may times you could spin the forklift, you’re dead.  They’re all in shock, stare at your dead corpse.  You no longer exist, in fact you’re now a burden.  The OSHA inspection, the internal inspection, the workers comp insurance company inspection, lawyers, courts, fines and settlements.  Meanwhile your body has be moved, cold stored, autopsied, prepped and buried/cremated.  

You’ll be remembered when the old timers are sitting around with the rookies at break and share their stories of the day you died, where they were, what they saw and over the years the story will expand and change to one of epic proportions and no where near the true story, but then, it won’t matter to you, you’re dead.

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This is a company that only cares about money and how much the owner can line his pockets with as he had the nerve to blame the large OSHA fine for Layoffs Triggered by Large OSHA Fine.  Aluminum Shapes was hit with a $1,922,895 fine for all the safety violations in the plant and this includes several workers receiving chemical burns while working in a tank that still contained corrosive material.  To add insult to injury they told them to return to work after their hospital visit.  Another worker got a broken pelvis and also was told to get back work.  Rather then offering leadership and taking responsibility for his actions, he turned and laid off workers using the large fine as to why.  He created the problem but blames OSHA for the layoffs but he may have done those workers a favor, since now they can’t get injured or killed.  What a man.  There seems to be quite a few immature, unprepared leaders around.  You do not have to put up with this kind of treatment and why would you want to die here?

Another company that believes safety is fake news, Fall hazards net roofing contractor over $1.5 million in OSHA fines.  Great White Construction Inc. was cited for 14 workplace violations, 11 of them Willful.  As I’ve told you before, a willful violation means the company knew the hazard was there and that someone could die from it but did NOTHING about it. This also earned them a spot in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program since their concern for employee safety is nonexistent.  They gave them harnesses to wear, so I guess it would look good, but didn’t tie them off to rope grabs and roof anchors.  In other words, if you fall you will probably die.  Learn what is proper fall protection suppose to look like and be.  Don’t put yourself in harms way for someone who doesn’t care.  Say no.  

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News flash, when people have to work more OT and longer hours, accidents increase. Research: Workplace Injuries Are More Common When Companies Face Earnings Pressure.  I’m guessing you already knew this.  We’ve all seen it at the factory, sales over sells and with short time lines to make it interesting,  Raw goods, packaging, parts, materials all need to be ordered, production goes into full gear.  With the Over time and extra work days, plus what’s going on at home and your world it begins to take it’s toll with fatigue, weary muscles and sore parts. Judgement becomes impaired, something gets missed and a mistake happens and you’re hurt.  It’s tough, I’ve been there.  When one of our plants went offline due to Katrina we had to help make up the difference in lost production and worked 27 straight days.  People were exhausted, we found one guy who fell asleep in his car in the parking lot after his wife called looking for him.  When we woke him he wasn’t sure if he was going home or coming to work.  One employee had a serious car crash when she fell asleep at the wheel.  We also had a sharp increase in cuts and abrasions. The schedules could have been made more employee friendly with a few more breaks thrown in, but then management’s attitude was push them until they break.  The end result was we lost a few good employees who quit or retired after that streak.  Was it worth it, I guess it depends on who you ask. 

Veterans, opportunities in construction and manufacturing are there and make for a very good career.  Check out this free, no cost 10 hour OSHA general safety course.  NO COST Osha 10 Hour General Safety Course 09/30 & 10/01/2017 @ Cal State University Fullerton

My two favorite examples of companies that lack leadership and competence were in the news again.  PGE where safety is important, sometimes, Collapsed Crane Lifted Off Campbell Home Amid PG&E, Cal/OSHA Investigation.  Can’t wait to read the final report on this one and see if lack of training was the root cause.  I’ll be sure to follow up on this one.  

And then BART was at it again showing just how incompetent their leadership really is. Anyone need a Clipper card? BART has thousands after Warriors parade blunder.  BART’s geniuses have a half million dollars tied up in Clipper cards, just sitting in boxes doing nothing but collecting dust and not interest.  They’ve demonstrated their incompetence several times and we agree, they are incompetent so let’s move on and get some new brains in there.  Maybe folks who have mass transit experience.  In fact we need to look at how the whole operation is run and eliminate the current board and bring in people who know what they’re doing, not politicians.

Well that’s it for this month.  Enjoy the last of your summer and now more then ever, treat everyone the same way, with respect.  Just because they come in different packaging doesn’t mean they are better then you, worse then you, they’re just different then you.  Vive la dif·fé·rence!!  Diversity works on so many levels by getting a different POV, different ways to solutions.  However, some people are just assholes.  They will always be that way and they will always be around with their negative energy and view points.  Don’t let assholes sour you on other people, just ignore them.  Never keep quiet about safety for the live you save may be your own.

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