Safety Lessons Learned From Wile E. Coyote 6

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Today’s lesson learned at the Wile E. Coyote school of safety where they constantly disregard the laws of physics, corrupt the rules of nature and live in animated immortality.  But here reality kills.

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Training/Certification – Whether you drive the family wagon or other pieces of powered equipment like a forklift or backhaul you need to be trained and certified before legally operating that piece of equipment.  To drive a car I took Driver’s Education to get training and then my written/road test to get certified and obtain my license.  In the workplace, the process is very similar.  The company that hired you will give you classroom training as well as hands-on training on how to properly operate, inspect, report safety/maintenance issues, report accidents and professionally conduct yourself within the confines of the facility.  After passing a written and road test you will be certified to operate that vehicle and the more hours behind the wheel, the better your skills will become and you will achieve the status of professional. 

A professional understands their certification is a privilege earned through hard work that can be revoked by the company at any time for violating safety rules.  A professional understands the limits of the powered equipment, never uses it for horseplay or any other purpose than the intended, observes the speed limit and all other rules of the road, reports all maintenance issues immediately, and respects the vehicle by keeping it clean and free of debris.

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The certification process is to protect the company as well as YOU!  Your certification says they invested the time and money to train you to operate the vehicle safely and efficiently.  If you were to operate a powered vehicle without training you could cause a serious accident and the company would have no choice but to throw you under the bus for doing this.  That’s why you NEVER do it without training even if a boss tells you that it’s okay this time.  It’s not okay at any time unless an extreme emergency.  If you do not receive any training at a facility and told you are required to operate an industrial powered vehicle you need to stop and ask why?  If the answer is not satisfactory you have three choices.  You can find another job, you can continue and risk your life or you can call the OSHA Hotline at 1-800-321-6742 (OSHA) and make an anonymous complaint.  Remember, the life you save may be your own. 

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#staysafe #socialdistancing

Safety Lessons Learned From Wile E. Coyote 5

wileecoyotelatinToday’s lesson learned at the Wile E. Coyote school of safety where they constantly defy the laws of physics, perverse the rules of nature and live in animated immortality.  But here fire burns.

 

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What to do if a fire breaks out?  You have 3 choices if this happens.  A – You can immediately alert everyone nearby, evacuate the area and call 911 allowing the professionals to deal with it.  This is the preferred method.  B – You can quickly assess the situation and size of the fire to determine if using a fire extinguisher will put it out safely.  If you can, grab the extinguisher, making sure you keep yourself between the fire and your means of escape and P.A.S.S. (Pull the pin, Aim at the base of the fire, Squeeze the lever and Sweep side to side)  C – Remember, you don’t have to be a hero. If the fire continues or gets out of control, evacuate and call 911.

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Whether at home or at work, make sure you know where all the emergency/evacuation routes are located and all the fire extinguishers, as well as smoke/carbon detectors, are current and fully operational.  At home, you need to have at the very least, two ways to get out as mentioned in Home Safety-Shouldn’t have to be an Escape Artist  If you haven’t done so yet, and please don’t tell me if you haven’t, change those batteries!  To me, the greatest act of karma is a smoke detector beeping its disapproval in the middle of the night. So you can do it then or you can get on the time change-battery change bandwagon.

Hope you are all staying safe and practicing social distancing while you stay at home.  I know it may have been tough to get adjusted to working at home and keeping the kids entertained but what a golden opportunity to solve a problem with the family.  Enjoy!

 

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Safety Lessons Learned From Wile E. Coyote 3

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Today’s lesson learned from the Wile E. Coyote school of safety where they constantly defy the laws of physics, perverse the rules of nature and live in animated immortality.  But in our world, the earth sucks as gravity still wins.

 

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

 

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

 

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Safety Lessons Learned From Wile E. Coyote

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Today’s thoughts on lessons learned from the Wile E. Coyote school of safety where they constantly defy the laws of physics, perverse the rules of nature and live in animated immortality.  But in our world gravity always wins.

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LESSON 1 Never stand directly under a suspended load of materials or a bin with a clogged auger.  If it were to suddenly drop or flow you don’t want to be there between it and the floor upon its landing.  Even when clearing any kind of jam don’t try to clear it from directly underneath. (Are you seeing the theme here?)  A sudden release of the jammed product could the very least seriously injure your neck, spine, shoulders, head or suffocate you if not outright kill you.  Also when you are clearing jams please make sure to Lock Out Tag Out the power source to help prevent injuries,  Never keep quiet about safety for the life you save may be your own.

 

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Companies Behaving Badly-The Return

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Yes! Because of your many fabulous comments and requests, which was so greatly appreciated- This is the return of Companies Behaving Badly which will now be published the third Thursday of each month.

This means I will have to add something new and make adjustments my routine so I can dedicate time to writing this series which is a good thing since it’s nice to change up one’s routine so it doesn’t get too stale and predictable but it’s also bad in that I absolutely hate changing my routine.  Once I get a routine all nicely broken in, comfy and predictable I’m set and can carry on for months if not years.  However, when it comes to safety in the workplace getting into a set routine can be very dangerous.

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When we fall into a set routine we develop a false sense of security and then complacency develops and focus is lost.  You’ve backed up your forklift hundreds of times when loading, unloading trucks or storage racks and you have always looked behind before moving and in all those times not once, did anyone walk behind you.  Complacency begins to woo you over to their ways and letting your guard down as your new false security is reason to believe people know better than to go behind you and they need to watch for you.  So now you backup your forklift without even so much as a slight swivel of your head.

One day it happens – 

So how do we combat complacency in the workplace?  We could hire cheerleaders shouting out encouragement to pay attention to the movement on the shop floor but that could become very impractical and costly overtime not to mention distracting.  We could use the grief and guilt generated from the accident to motivate workers to avoid complacency but unfortunately, that has a short shelf-life as the memory will soon fade.

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It’s not easy to be on the top of your game every day.  Even athletes have off days.  You didn’t sleep, you’re worried about a sick family member, you’re ill, you have money problems, but you do your best to stay focused.   You can’t be a helicopter manager walking alongside your employees every minute of the workday but you can have a huddle at the beginning of each shift.  It’s the best time to communicate with your staff about what to expect, what to watch for and any other reminders you want to convey.

It’s also why you as the manager/supervisor want to be on the shop floor 80% of your time.  Watching for signs of complacency and touching base with workers in real-time.  Let’s face it, workplace safety is not glamorous, at times it seems like your parents scolding but maybe if we think of it as a form of communication instead of safety where we discuss ways to ensure we go home in one piece and understand you are just as responsible for your safety as the company you work for, maybe even more so.

PREVENTABLE – Beer delivery firm fined £800,000 after a worker was run over by forklift truck at Dagenham depot https://buff.ly/2Uzutsx  Here’s a case where a forklift backed up and hit a worker.

PREVENTABLE WORKING TOGETHER –  Workplace fatalities are at their highest levels since 2008. What’s going on?  More than ever we need to watch each other back at work. Stay focused and don’t be afraid to speak up.

PREVENTABLE –  Ever wonder what an accident waiting to happen looks like?  Inside a chaotic warehouse where Hermes staff were ‘buried in parcels. https://buff.ly/36XHzTb Wonder what the customers are thinking.  Housekeeping is an important part of safety in the workplace.  It prevents trips, slips and falls not to mention makes the facility look really good too and keeps the brass from looking deeper.

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PREVENTABLE –  This is not complacency related but is a distraction issue which is just as bad. Jobsites’ most universal hazard is the personal cellphone  https://buff.ly/2UwtZU0: We really are our own worst enemy.

Why you need to inspect

PREVENTABLE – A worker was killed in a wood drying kiln because he couldn’t exit as over time corrosion prevented the door from being opened with the push bar from inside.  A routine inspection could have caught that.  The manufacturer was fined $281,250 https://buff.ly/39xcyY3

PREVENTABLE – Widow of a construction worker killed in light rail site fall sues maker of protection device https://buff.ly/2SrUCXx All safety equipment must be inspected on a regular and consistent basis to prevent tragedies. Make sure it’s being done.

Who’d a thought

We are an interesting species.  We love to solve problems even though the solutions make cause more problems like this one.  WIND turbine blades can’t be recycled so they’re piling up in landfills — https://buff.ly/2v6yI4e Just like all the spent nuclear rods we have piling up.  Eventually, we’re going to run out of space.  Do you have any suggestions for reuse?

Well, that brings this episode to a close and thank you all for stopping by.  Remember you are in charge of your safety.  Don’t let anyone threaten or bully you into doing unsafe acts.  Until next month, take care

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A Complete Guide To Warehouse Safety-Volume 4 – Training

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After a good nights rest our three travelers were back on the Green Brick Road of Safety and headed toward Emerald City in hopes that the Head Inspector will help each one with their safety-related issues.  The road turned into a dense forest that blocked most of the sunshine.  It was dark and eerie but the three felt pretty strong walking together.  Dorothy turned to Scarecrow and Tinman and said, this reminds me of a scene from the Wizard of Oz. “What!” both Scarecrow and Tinman rang out in chorus.  Dorothy looked at them puzzled, you never heard, oh never mind.  Lions, tigers, and bears, oh my.  “Cute”, said Scarecrow and he thought and sang, “How about.  Falls, trips and amputations, oh my.”  They all chuckled.  Tinman joined in, ” Hazards, PPE and Housekeeping, oh my.”  They all laughed again.  They were bonding into a strong team, each with their own individual skill and working together as a team.  They continued, “Hazards, PPE and Housek….” their fun suddenly stopped when the road abruptly ended and a funicular stood before them as the only way to the top of the mountain to continue their journey.

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The three of them stood there, looking around trying to figure out their next move.  There was no one around they could ask, no signs, no schedules, nothing.  The cable car was in the station with the doors open, waiting to go.  Scarecrow turned and said, “Well, I guess it’s self-service. Let’s check it out.”  They walked inside the car and looked at the controls.  “How hard can this be?”, Scarecrow asked as he surveyed the control panel.  Dorothy suggested he hit the flashing green button.  Tinman felt it was the right decision and Scarecrow concurred with both of them so he hit the button.  A whirling noise started from under the cable car, lights began to flash and Scarecrow turned to Dorothy and Tinman with a proud smirk on his face.

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Their victory was short-lived as the next sound they heard was a loud roar.  HEEEEEY!  A large lion came running from the buildings towards our travelers, yelling, screaming with flailing arms and looking very menacing.  WHAAAAAT ARE YOU GUYS DOING?  ARRRR YOU CRAZY?  They backed away from the lion, they were pretty scared.  The lion ran right up to Dorothy and got in her face, WHO SAID YOU COULD TOUCH ANYTHING?  YOU DON’T KNO….(Dorothy was the first female mechanic at her plant and she has been through it all, the practical jokes, the nasty comments and put-downs, the hand gestures, gyrating hips, bullying, and the deafening silence but she never quit, she never let them see her cry,  always waiting until she got home for that luxury and over time it made her a much stronger person.  When the lion got into her face it all the past memories rushed once again through her mind and) SMACK!  She stopped the lion mid-word, and yelled, back off mister!  If you have something to say to me, say it in a constructive manner and talk to me but don’t you EVER yell at me about my performance again!  The stunned lion began to cry.  

Now, Dorothy also began to cry and as Scarecrow and Tinman started to console Dorothy they both began to cry as well.  “It’s not your fault Dorothy, said Scarecrow while Tinman added, “Yes, he deserved that.”  The lion kept bawling away.  “I shouldn’t have yelled.  It’s, it’s the stress of this job, it’s killing me.  I’m the only one here who can operate the funicular and by the time I get someone else trained, the Emerald city sends them somewhere else.  There are no training materials of any kind to help me train so 24/7 I’m the guy.”  Dorothy gave the Lion her tissue so he could wipe his eyes.  We didn’t know and only reacted to your shouting.  Scarecrow motioned Dorothy over to him and Tinman and they whispered amongst themselves.  After a short discussion Scarecrow turned to the Lion and said, “Why don’t you join us?  We’re headed to Emerald City to see the Head Inspector.  I’m going to get PPE, and Tinman going for housekeeping.  I bet he has loads of training material you can use, probably even color videos!  Lion loved the idea, they piled into the cable car and off they went to continue their journey.

(The original title for volume 4 was – Emergency Ready but while reviewing and updating the order of things I’ve decided it should be – Training.  Training is critical to a successful safety program and the key to emergency response and preparedness as well as a successful sustainable organization due to increased employee retention.  Between classroom lectures and the hands-on experience reinforced with tailgates/toolboxes make for an engaged educated safety conscience employee.)

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So here we are folks, more than halfway along the Green Brick Road of Safety and the Emerald City is in sight.  It’s been an enlightening trip for me as well and I want to thank you all for the positive responses and fabulous comments on this series.  As I’m sure you remember, we began our journey with Hazard Analysis, to find potential hazards if any, so we can determine the appropriate PPE.  We also discovered the importance of Housekeeping in preventing accidents.  All three large critical segments of workplace safety.  So, after this, are there still more ways to protect your employees?   Yes, there is and it is Training. 

Training is the most important part of safety.  Let me say it again, Training is the most important part of safety and works best when it’s delivered concisely, consistently, a little entertaining and with employee engagement and participation.  This goes for all types of training from new employee orientation to forklift certification to the operation of machinery to safety meetings to emergency evacuation procedures.  Training is not a one time deal but should be a continuous process of learning, education, recertification, development and growth for building a well trained and confident team, able to react to any situation as one, in a moments notice.  The results of a training program speak for themselves with increased productivity, reduction in accidents and sick days as well as increasing employee retention which is critical to maintaining a consistent operation especially in these days of the “skills gap”.  No different then Doctors and lawyers who have continuous education throughout their career as they learn of the latest techniques and tools available for diagnosis and cures.  If you treat training as a joke, that’s how it’ll be perceived and what you’ll get back in return so this is your opportunity to set the tone and demonstrate to your staff or company that you take it seriously. 

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After you assess what training your company offers you can begin to develop a training program to tailor your needs.  By putting a training program together now you’ll be ahead of the game if you find yourself with several new hires or seasonal temporary employees.  You know what daily tasks need to be accomplished by your team for success and you want to develop your training based on what the job entails.  Some companies already have written job descriptions handy that you can use as a template to help but I have found more often than not that many have very old out of date or incomplete job descriptions on file and you’ll probably find training material the same way.  That’s not bad, it gives you the opportunity to make it all yours. 

I would also gather company written standard operational procedures, policies and any other information that you think an employee needs to know for loading trucks or picking orders safely and efficiently.  If you work in a food processing plant or food distribution warehouse you should also include HACCP procedures.  Once you get all the information together and set up in your computer/laptop you’ll see how extremely easy it is to edit and update this information as things change.  Then a great habit to develop would be to review job descriptions, procedures and training at least once a year to keep your workers safe, practices current and regulatory obligations filled. 

Some companies are very good about giving you the talking points for the monthly safety meetings along with colorful handouts which are helpful but that may come across as just spoon-feeding safety to your employees!  Like a scene from Island of Dr. Moreau.  What is the law?  Do not put your hands into moving parts.  This would be great if you were training parrots to repeat back to you.  You want to discuss the topic with your staff.  Get their involvement by asking for feedback on what happens on the floor when they deal with a situation.  At one company during a discussion on Lock Out Tag Out I found out that the workers couldn’t LOTO one machine since the electrical box was so old (I think Edison made it himself) there was no way to put a lock on it.  The company told me it wasn’t in the budget to change it out at this time so to protect my staff and the company I made it procedure to call one of the staff electricians to remove the fuses so we could then lock the housing so no one could start the machine.  I was very surprised how soon that electrical panel replacement got moved up, approved and installed.  

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So when you get that company material don’t be afraid to make a few adjustments to encourage employee engagement.  Are there additional handouts you can use, videos, power-points or other media to aid your presentation in getting the point across.  When discussing PPE don’t forget to utilize staff in demonstrating how to properly wear and adjust, get a conversation going.  I know some companies want training rushed through and done quickly but that only trivialize the whole process.  You want people to buy into the program and if they don’t find the training interesting, they won’t listen.  When they’re part of the training, everyone listens and learns.   

If the need arises for training material to cover a new procedure or piece of equipment, you want to get it to the staff before you go live, well if you want success anyway.  We were transitioning to a new WMS.  We had one of their consultants on hand to help us with the process.  One of our jobs was to fill 2000 lb. bags with product and then produce a barcoded label that was scanned as it moved to a location in the warehouse.  There was no training material and workers on all shifts were making daily errors.  I asked the all mighty consultant when we could expect written instruction for the workers and stop the bleeding.  It’s coming.  It’s coming.  I couldn’t wait any longer, too many things were at stake, time wasted correcting inventory, loss of confidence in the staff, the stupidity of it all so I put together a two-sheet instruction manual along with barcode placards and we brought the errors to ZERO.  I asked and watched my staff about the process and what would help them.  They got exactly that and the issue disappeared.

Whatever the training you are going to give always prepare beforehand and get your materials printed, assembled and then rehearse your presentation.  Make sure you are prepared to discuss and know what you are talking about.  There is nothing worse than giving out bad information or being contradicted by an employee.  Depending on your geographical location it would be a big help if you have the training material translated into Spanish.  Some workers may understand English much easier than they can read it and this is information you want to make sure you get across.

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General Orientation – Usually given by HR to all new company employees but you can tailor a general orientation training for your department or section of the company and highlight areas other employees may not have to observe like safety glasses, lunch breaks, and sanitation.  After orientation buddy, the new employee with a worker to be mentored and help get the lay of the land.

Forklift Certification – You can do it in-house or pay a trainer to come in and handle it.  Either way works but if you have your own trainer you can do the certification any time you need to and they know the facility better and can speak about the layout and hidden dangers.  Under no circumstances should you allow any worker to operate a forklift without obtaining proper training.

Seasonal/Temporary Employee – Using the same materials for regular new employees and having materials ready will make their training a lot easier.  Even though they are temporary workers they are still human beings and should be treated with the same respect as everyone else.  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

Safety Training – Can be in the form of a monthly meeting which is most common.  Usually, only one topic is covered like avoiding arc flash or LOTO.  When you give training and you are not sure about something, it is perfectly o.k. to tell an employee you don’t know the answer but that you’ll find out and then make sure you get back to them in a timely manner.  Drop the ball once and no one will come to you for anything ever again.

Tailgate/toolbox – meetings are an excellent way to communicate to your staff as well as build your own confidence when it comes to public speaking as these gatherings are more informal to a smaller group of people that are held weekly onsite and last no more than 15 minutes.  You can utilize these meetings to discuss a safety issue that just came up or demonstrate a new feature on a piece of equipment or teach a new technique, all to keep safety on their minds and them, focused.    They are also suited for a busy work environment since you can break your staff up into smaller groups and keep everyone else working until it’s their turn.  

Huddles – Before the shift begins, gather your troops and give a quick rundown of the day, how we’re going to tackle it and any specific dangers to be aware of.  If it’s going to be very hot, remind employees to stay hydrated, if it’s raining, remind them about slick floors.  No more than 10 minutes to get everyone on board and going.

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WHAT SHOULD YOU TALK ABOUT?  The best topic is those most related to recent events in your facility that causes you to pull your hair out.  Was there a recent near-miss reported in the warehouse or did you observe an employee lifting incorrectly?  Another topic could be to discuss an accident that occurred in a sister plant or in the local area and how can we avoid a similar one.  Keep a reminder list for yourself about seasonal topics you’d like to cover throughout the year as well like staying hydrated on extremely hot days, emergency evacuation.  Need more inspiration, just google “Tailgate meeting topics”, you’ll wind up with many great suggestions or sign up to follow this blog.

HOW DO YOU GET EMPLOYEES TO LISTEN?  Well, food always seems to be a way to attract people and offering donuts once in a while is nice but the best way to get them to listen is to get employees involved by having them demonstrate and share their experience.  When I would cover LOTO, (Lock Out Tag Out) instead of me droning on about the associated hazards I would pick a piece of equipment, begin the tailgate there and have one of the top operators actually perform the lockout tag out on the unit.  The whole nine yards.   When they did an outstanding job and they always did, they were given a coupon for a free lunch at the local deli I had previously setup.  You also want to create an atmosphere where people are comfortable to learn and ask questions so they need to know upfront there is no such thing as a stupid question about safety, EVER!

Don’t ever hesitate to run your operation the way you see fit but make sure to be upfront with workers and explain the rules clearly including the consequences if the rules are not followed but make sure they’re reasonable, consistent and not unattainable. .Make sure to document all training (safety and equipment) by using a sign-in sheet 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. If you are delivering training and meetings on a consistent basis you will find that a well-trained team does impact your bottom line for the better with a sustainable knowledgeable workforce.  

The Green Brick Road of Safety is not an imaginary magical place.  You don’t need to locate any secret hidden portals or drink any potions, it has always been there before you all along.  It’s the road that leads to a safe and productive workplace.  Become a safety advocate, it costs nothing to join.  Keep your fellow employees safe and always keep the dialogue on safety moving forward.  The life you save may be your own.  Be sure to stay tuned for our next leg on this journey and don’t miss an issue.  

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Companies Behaving Badly-Fear and Ignorance

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Welcome back and thank you for your time and consideration.  Hope your 4th of July was relaxing, entertaining and invigorating.  
The emotion of Fear and ignorance (a lack of knowledge) have been around since the dawning of humankind and when put together they are not a very good couple to have around.  Also for as long, people of great wealth and power have manipulated communities spreading lies to feed fear and scare people while simultaneously playing on their ignorance to generate hatred.  Motivating individuals to acts of violence against neighbors homes, businesses and up to killing if needed.  The only sole beneficiary, the man of power who started it.  When fire was first discovered I’m sure many were in fear of it.  It generated heat, it danced, it hurt like hell to touch but was unpredictability due to a lack of understanding.  The first person who learned to control fire no longer feared it as they knew how to use it safely and then could turn it into power as they used that fear of fire to their advantage spreading lies of its origin and why they could control it and by that alone is why they should be put in charge.  The match of fear and ignorance was a hit and the trend continued.  
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With all the problems these two have generated throughout our history of the world imagine the effect they have on workplace safety!  Companies and poor leaders keeping workers ignorant about their rights to a safe workplace. No training, no PPE, no safety meetings and if they question why they don’t have any of those items then Fear is used to intimidate them into silence and looking the other way or threatened with loss of their job so they become complicit, slowly eroding your morals or bullied into leaving the company for not going along with the program of tampered emergency shut-offs and no LOTO program so now the fear and ignorance boils over into hatred of  the company and what they did to me and winds up in a mass shooting at the plant while the bobbleheads stare into the camera and shake their heads in disbelief.  How could this happen?
The fear also includes that of OSHA.  At one company, as soon as I started I was barraged with safety issues by the employees.  “We have told the company about these issues for years and nothing gets done!”  I asked since the company has ignored them all this time why haven’t they called OSHA?  “Oh no man, we don’t want the plant closed down.  We’ll all be out of work.”  The fear of job losses, even though the plant wouldn’t have been closed but there should have been a lot of eyes going over every aspect of the plant.
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Before you begin a job, learn about it first.  What are the associated hazards, what kind of equipment is typically used, what kind of PPE and protection do I need and what kind of company am I working for?  It is always a good idea to get several points of view and not just from your boss or company but research on the web.  Read blogs like this and there are several out there, so look for your voice in a few of them.  Once you get a job, don’t stop learning.  New procedures, new techniques, new apps are coming every day and you can help your company as well as you yourself grow by reading and learning.  This is also a tool you can put into use of everyday life.  Don’t just take your neighbor’s advice, listen to it but see what other opinions are out there.  There is always a solution to problems when people discuss without fear or ignorance pushing them.  Don’t let fear and ignorance run or ruin your life.  Don’t let hatred win.  Stay informed. 
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Sometimes the company can actually be ignorant themselves of safety rules and regulations.  It happens but when the company is the General Services Department of the State of California, Feces, blood, syringes at California Capitol: Workers unprepared for clean up, OSHA says, ignorance is not the problem, incompetent leadership is.  I can’t believe the workers didn’t bring it up to management what they were found on the capitol grounds and how the hell can a state agency be that deaf, dumb and blind?  Why it’s poor leadership and I’m fairly certain they’ll keep making the same mistakes down the road, incompetence in the state is rarely punished but usually leads to a promotion or running for state office, so workers, here’s a case where you need to know what your rights are and speak up.  You do not have to operate under those conditions and CalOSHA agreed and fined a fellow agency for 9 violations.
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Nursing Education Consulting Inc.

Now I like gadgets just as much as the next guy/gal but I don’t think they should fully substitute the use of common sense or your brain.  8 Products to Help you Beat the Heat.  When you’re working in excessive heat it can be dangerous.  I know, I had crews unloading containers from overseas while the outside temperatures were 110 degrees and the temperature inside the container was at least 10 degrees higher.  We always set up the water cooler right next to the container being unloaded and fans blowing and frequent breaks.  Some guys would just push themselves to the limit and never say a word about feeling ill, cause that how guys are sometimes, it’s a form of ignorance.  So it is very important to know the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.  Both if not treated properly and immediately can result in death.  Learn how to identify and how to treat.  This is the knowledge that can come in handy anywhere.
Then next time you may be the one to prevent this.  OSHA investigating after man dies picking tomatoes in Colquitt County.  A young man, only 24, beginning of his life and the heat killed him.  Know the facts about the dangers of high temperatures, how to mitigate it and what your company must supply to keep you safe and healthy.
Some may say that you shouldn’t fear to work alone and that may be true in some cases but when the company tells you to work alone in the plant on an off-shift, just say NO. Worker Found Dead In Stadium Cooler Was Minnesota Inventor.  You can never plan for an accident so why would you work alone.  If something was to fall on you or you became pinned or knocked unconscious, and no one was there to help or call for help, you’ll become the morning news when they find your body.  We always had a policy of two when work had to be done at night or weekends and others weren’t going to be around.  It just makes sense.
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When worlds collide.  Tesla, union, workers, and CalOSHA are all trying to work out or work on issues of safety.  Here is an example of fear and ignorance working together which is causing a little hatred right now.  Some disgruntled employee stole data out of their system, fingers are pointing and the truth will eventually come out as we listen to the three sides of each story.  Tesla workers say they pay the price for Elon Musk’s big promises and A former Tesla safety director claims he was fired after he raised concerns about unreported workplace injuries.  Check both articles out and curious what you think.  I don’t think he’s any more driven then Henry Ford, Thomas Edison or Howard Hughes were as I believe all geniuses are driven to the point of madness.  Whether they cross the line or not is up to them as well as what we get out of it. 
   
Well, that’s it for this month folks.  Be kind to each other and never, never keep quiet about safety for the life you save may be your own.  If you have questions about safety and regulation please don’t hesitate to ask.
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Companies Behaving Badly-The Hole

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Welcome back and thank you for joining us in another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.  Hope all is going well.

I  hate to always reference my old childhood days and how things were growing up back then but it is my baseline and even though comparing anything to today’s world is not really fair as it’s more apples/oranges kind of thing, seriously, who thought there would come a time when ethics, morals, accountability, and responsibility would fade out of style?  Who knew that the more debilitating problem for companies today is not the ever-widening “skills gap” but is actually the “leadership hole”!

We are in desperate need of leadership as a large vacant hole has developed.  Leaders that listen to every voice and understand their needs in developing consensus with all groups and that it is more important than just winning at all cost for your side.  Unfortunately, there is no short supply of examples out there of the existence of the leadership hole and by all accounts, it’s only getting wider, deeper and we’re all sinking into it.  Leaders who believed that they should be in charge worked hard to get good returns on investment, enough to keep the people happy and enough happy people to drown out the little voices, like wisps of smoke that would rise time to time of abuse and corruption which were really driving the ROI as ethical and moral behavior became profit stoppers.  As long as things were good, a deaf ear was more than the latest corporate fashion.  Luckily the same time as the voices got louder, these honorable men running corporations avoiding responsibility and accountability, believing ethics and morals are weaknesses rather than strengths finally had it all explode in their faces. 

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A gas pipeline blew up murdering 8, a bank caught creating fraudulent accounts, a social media company sold us all out.  They accepted reality television accountability as PGE, Wells Fargo Bank, Uber and FaceBook to mention a few now spend millions of dollars on ad campaigns telling us how sorry they are that they lied and let the green glow of cash and power blind them rendering their moral compass useless and the reason why they didn’t think twice about ripping us off.  “We’re sorry”  “We went astray” “Lost the path”  “We’ll do better”.  All things men caught cheating on their wives says.  By all accounts, not one of them has gone to jail and the ones who did lose their jobs, don’t waste your time feeling sorry for them, they landed on their feet with the ability to go astray again at any time.  Cause “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” and they love us, or our greenbacks actually.

Those corporations were only the tip of the iceberg.  Now the leaders of the largest colleges and universities who are entrusted with the task of teaching, training and preparing our future leaders have let us all down, giving the lesson that listening is not important especially if it’s something you don’t want to hear about the “good ole boys.”  First hand demonstrating to future leaders how to ignore the voices of young women who only want an education and career but had to work twice as hard to get there due to the constant body shaming, abuse, and rape!  Michigan State and U.S.C. , great schools now saying how sorry they are.  Even the city of Berkeley, California where many a mind has been enlightened over the years has sent the message to women of you are not important enough to listen too, as rape kits sat on shelves only collecting dust instead of collecting evidence.

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Look I get it.  When you accept responsibility it takes work, lots of work.  Following up on work-related issues, reviewing your process, talking to employees and listening, finding and filling the cracks in the process, budgets, competition, employee retention, and your bonus. When you’re responsible you also need to be proactive as well, guessing what the future will bring and how to deal with it.  That’s also hard work.   That’s why so many of our leaders just keep the status quo, you don’t have to work as hard and listen to or care about all those whiny people and still collect all your bonuses even if they don’t make the goal.  Life is wonderful when you can shed all your morals and ethics for a few dollars more.

Will there be a new we’re sorry ad campaign in the future for–Bumble Bee CEO Indicted On Charge He Fixed Canned Tuna Price.  Smart and lazy CEO decided hey, we don’t need to compete against each other and fight for a market share when we can all just share the wealth by pricing our product exactly the same.  We all win!  When you shed your morals it is so easy to do and if you think they’re the only ones doing this…..

Then there is ethics I can never understand and seems both ironic and hypocritical to me at the same time.  Human life is a human life, right?  If I believe that human life needs to protected at all costs wouldn’t you want to protect them just as much from dying on the job as from the hands of terrorists? Despite wave of fatal building accidents in Israel, safety is rarely enforced.   Over 100 have died on the job since 2016 but they are still not taking workplace safety seriously letting many of these corrupt construction companies to operate freely and keep killing workers.  If the PLO had taken 100 Israeli lives there would be an uproar for blood, revenge, and retaliation but I guess when you kill your own building, that’s o.k.  It seems to me if you protect human live all lives should matter equally.

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We all rely on and love our local Firefighters.  They do so many wonderful things like put out large and small fires, work in burning buildings to save people, rescue small animals from trees or sewers and make a fabulous calendar but one thing they are not is expendable.  State fines Camas $4800 over firefighter safety violations.  The city of Camas should be ashamed to put two firefighters in danger the way they did.  The job is difficult enough as it is and the key to firefighting is working as a team to make sure everyone is safe while accomplishing their assignments during a fire.  As I have said in previous blogs, my city of Vallejo, a population of 121,000 has only 21 firefighters on each shift and we still have to ask for mutual assistance several times a week between freeway accidents, house fires, chemical spills, and other emergency calls.  

Why be complicit in your own death?  Wichita roofing contractor cited by OSHA.  What kind of moron sends employees out on a roof without fall protection?  Well, Jose Barrientos for one, who was cited by OSHA for exposing employees to falls and other safety hazards and now faces proposed penalties of up to $191,071.  To make it worse 2 of the violations were WILLFUL which means he knew it was wrong and dangerous to not provide fall protection and that someone could be killed but he DIDN’T CARE which is obvious since he’s been cited 5 times in the last 10 years.  Time to shut him down!  This is why falls continue to be the OSHA number 1 violation and killer.  Don’t put your life at risk and if you are bullied or threatened to be fired for doing an unsafe act call the OSHA hotline 1 – 800 – 321 – 6742

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Every job, heck everything you do has its own set of inheriting dangers and how we mitigate those dangers and awareness of those dangers helps keep us safe but you still never know.  These gentlemen were doing their job, covering a story to keep others safe. Thoughts go out to the families of  TV News Anchor, Photographer Die When Tree Crushes Their Vehicle.  This is why you hug, smile and say I love you every day to loved ones, for you don’t know how long that enjoyment will last.  

Until next month my friends, (yes, there will be no issue on June 21, summer hours folks) stay safe and never keep quiet about safety, for the life you save may be your own.

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Companies Behaving Badly-Ethical

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Welcome back, folks.  Hope all is going well and that those April showers brought lots of beautiful May flowers and please take a moment to stop, smell and enjoy them.

I grew up on the streets of the Bronx, a few blocks from Yankee Stadium during a much simpler time.  Mickey Mantle was my hero, Davy Crockett was my fashion maven and Miss Joan on Romper Room was telling me to be a good do-bee.  Television was only black and white but we had 7 stations to choose from and all actually signed off the air late at night.  That was fine as we spent a lot of time outside playing stoop ball, stickball, red rover, and hula hoop while inside was entertained with colorforms, silly putty, and slinky.  We never heard of an active shooter as the only drills we had were either fire or duck and cover from the A-bomb.  We always said please and thank you, respectful of our elders and taught the golden rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.  Treat others as you want to be treated.  So simple, so easy.  But somewhere the message has gone awry and fallen on deaf corporate ears.

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The first time I saw one was soon after PG&E murdered eight innocent human beings in San Bruno, California whose only crimes was going about their lives.  Now, in the last week, I’ve seen several companies advertising on the air, not pushing a new product or must have service but to apologize.  Yes!  I’m sure you’ve seen them as well as Uber, Wells Fargo and Facebook are all currently apologizing for their bad behavior which was screwing over the very customers that support and make them $$$$$.  The apologies are all the same, well produced with lots of words and promises while in the background pictures of people working hard.  “We’re sorry, we got blinded by all the cash coming in and that’s why we didn’t hear you or actually think we had to listen but now that we were caught we are sorry and promise you that things will change.  Really! Cross our heart”  PG&E’s ad campaign has morphed over the years from, sorry we killed but we’re rehabilitated to look our workers are people just like you! 

I understand it’s no longer the simple world I grew up in as a child due to all the advances and discoveries in technology and medicine, (although the flying cars I was promised in 5th grade have yet to materialize, listening Elon?) but when did ethics, morals, decency and integrity become passe?  Is there no place for them in this brave new world?  Can companies only compete and make profits without caring for life an limb or being unethical?  I know they were beliefs from the past but how can you have a culture continue without ethics, morals or integrity?  In France, they think it’s pretty important.  When you are sworn in before giving testimony in court, you don’t swear to tell the truth so help you God but swear to tell the truth on your honor.

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However, Companies are not just expected to demonstrate ethics, morals or integrity but accountability as well as is the case in California.  Two Charged In Death Of Forklift Operator.  The owner and a manager of Good View Roofing and Building Supply have been charged with involuntary manslaughter and labor code violations by the San Francisco district attorney’s office in relation to the death of an employee pinned under a forklift.  If you know you are putting employees in danger, it has come to the point where you could wind up spending some serious time in jail.  If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.

Unfortunately, companies that lack ethics or integrity are located throughout the world.  In England, a company thought it would speed things up if they disabled a safety feature on the compactor.  Firm ordered to pay almost £300k after worker’s legs crushed.  Oh, and they didn’t let the workers know that.  How special.  If you ever see anyone, that is anyone, boss, owner, fellow worker disable any safety feature on a piece of equipment you yell out loud for the whole world to hear, this is not acceptable.  Then call OSHA’s hotline at 1 – 800 – 321 – 6742.  Don’t become a statistic.

Two dead after falling 70 feet in elevator lift collapse in Naples.  Another tragic headline that could have been avoided.  I don’t understand why they weren’t tied off to prevent them from falling?  Isn’t that the whole idea in safety and PPE, to prepare for the unexpected and prevent it from killing us?  A company that cared would have insisted on it but we shake our heads, think how awful this is for them and their families and then we’re back to our lives.  We’re becoming too complacent of others dying.  

I understand we’re all busy.  Busy busy busy.  So busy that we must conduct business anywhere and everywhere including our cars.  Now I don’t have anything so important going that I need to take a call while driving.  I don’t need to look at a text message as soon as it hits.  But, apparently, there are those out there who just can’t wait.  What used to be the talent of common sense for most people has been lost to the point laws are having to be passed.  Maryland Gov. Hogan signs Slow Down to Get Around law.  Now laws are only as good as their enforcement but come on people.  Give all service vehicles, fire, police, ambulance, trash space.  They stop suddenly and usually have someone working around the vehicle.  Better yet, while driving, enjoy the view of the world through your windshield and mirrors with your undivided attention and maybe we can all have a day where there won’t be headlines about the death of a worker.

Don’t be part of the problem.  Just because someone else is not honorable or unethical don’t lower yourself to their level.  Be above it a treat everyone mindfully and as always, never keep quiet about safety, for the life you save may be your own.

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Companies Behaving Badly-Ugly Truth

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Welcome back.  Hope your Mayday celebration was exceptional and that spring weather has finally sprung where you live.

There is an ugly truth out there.  Lets face it folks, no matter how many drills, safety meetings, training sessions, PPE wearing, accident investigations and consultations, workplace safety is just not glamorous! It’s like being a proctologist, who after years of training for the job is proud because they know what they do can be life-saving and important but it’s not something family and friends really want to hear about at the dinner table. 

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There is no DC or Marvel superhero that embodies workplace safety as a superpower although I honestly believe that Deadpool would make a great safety manager.  There are no great songs about workplace safety that reflect the achievements over the years that we can all join in singing, in either rock, hip-hop or country western genres.  There is no special section in the Louvre in Paris that exhibits workplace safety art, however, Venus de Milo comes close or even a traveling King Tut safety art exhibition.  Come to think of it there aren’t even any great phrases about workplace safety.  You’ve never heard a coworker rally the staff at the beginning of a shift by shouting out, “Remember the LOTO!”  There aren’t any sitcoms, dramas, action/adventure or novellas about workplace safety in the theaters or television even though we all know how funny and entertaining that could be.  

                                                   Jerry (in sarcastic manner) 

“Hello, Newman.”

                                                  Newman (in sarcastic manner)

“Hello, Jerry.”

                                                  Jerry (jovial sounding)

“I see you’re caught in the gears again?”     (audience laughter). 

See what I mean?  Hysterical stuff, no? 

Since workplace safety is so cut and dry with very little flair for fashion it’s tough to sell.  You would think PPE is purposely made to look ugly but then it’s made to protect you the best way possible with the latest technology.  It also explains why pretty people who host DIY shows don’t always wear safety glasses and dust masks in front of the cameras, it’ll muss their hair.  It would be fantastic if they gave a disclaimer at the beginning of the show that plain old said, “Due to poetic license our host does not always wear the proper PPE on site otherwise how could you see those perfect teeth made possible by our toothpaste sponsor and understand what they are saying.  However, please do not do this at home but always wear the proper PPE.”

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Sorry, I digressWorkplace safety is a tough sell.  It’s a challenge to present material without putting your audience in a trance.  One way to make it interesting is to have the workers do the demonstrations of LOTO procedures themselves to the group.  Over the course of the year we’ll cover each piece of machinery in the plant with the head operators of that machine doing the actual LOTO and where the emergency shut off is located so everyone on my shift knew what was up.  It’s nice to do since they’re not just hearing my voice all the time, like a parent, preaching how they’ll take their eye out if they’re not careful.  Even PPE is beginning to look more fashionable too especially in footwear, safety glasses and bump caps.

When you conduct you safety meeting don’t just give handouts and leave it at that.  I mean come on it’s cut and dry enough as it is and the best way to get that unapproving eye roll and no one has heard your message.  You want your message of safety to stay with them and allowing your staff to be part of the discussion on the topic instead of spoon feeding it to them is critical to a successful safety meeting.  Issues are brought up, solutions are discussed and resolutions are made.  Wow! What can be wrong with that?  

Usually nothing, but once in awhile you need to remind people the facts of life that they are accountable for their actions because even with the discussions or the reprimands or the suspensions there’s one who will not get the message and that can put others in jeopardy.  If you have done everything you can to help get this individual back on track then you have done your best and it’s okay as well as in your best interest to part ways and move on.  

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Even with all the effort put in it appears that we are currently headed in the wrong direction.  For FY 2016, 5,190 fellow human beings died in industrial accidents.  This is the first time in almost 10 years that we’ve gone over 5,000 and has risen for three consecutive years.  See the Infographic: workplace Deaths By The Numbers.  This is why training is so critical and WHY you never keep quiet about safety.  Even with the new corporate tax breaks some low life companies are padding their executives pockets rather then put the money back into the company for training and safer, newer equipment.  If your company is not responsive to your concerns about safety, they don’t care about your health or well being you need to take matters into your own hands.  Call the OSHA hot line 1-800-321-6742.  

 A watchdog group has put out a list of top offenders in workplace safety https://buff.ly/2I3RdJ7.  But it’s not just these companies you have to worry about.  There are many businesses like supermarket chains and other small stores that are not properly training staff anymore about safety and how to respond.  This puts your life in danger when you visit these stores and why you can’t take your safety for granted and the best way to do that is to be as distracted free as possible.  Stay focused on the task and let the little things wait until your shopping trip is done.

Until next time, stay safe my friends and remember, never keep quiet about safety for the life you save may be your own.

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