Companies Behaving Badly-Leadership Lost

Welcome back.

“One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency.” —Arnold Glasow

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“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” —Lao Tzu

It appears of late that everyone wants to be in charge but want nothing to do with accepting the accountability that comes along with it.  Leadership is not about making the most creative excuses or formulating alternate facts.  Leadership knows that whether it’s being used in a warehouse facility, manufacturing plant or any city USA, that maintaining the facility/infrastructure and fair and consistent enforcement of regulations is critical to the continuous success of everyone involved.  Roads and bridges to keep commerce moving, mass transit to move people to their jobs and the utilities to power it all. However, over the years, the across the board robbing of Peter to pay Paul began as cities began playing a dangerous shell game of who gets what funding and attention and for how long which would prove to have fatal consequences.  Instead of dealing with big ticket items like Police accountability,  housing, fair wages, maintenance and upkeep of the infrastructure, the buck passing continued from administration to administration each promising that this is the time it will get done.

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The art of leadership was soon eroded as it deteriorated into more of a caretaker role protecting the status quo and defending your lack of action with excuses.  It’s everyone else’s fault and not mine.  Infrastructure!  The cost is enormous but we still have time before it’s critical.  Housing for the poor? Relax, we have lots of unsafe vacant warehouses available.  We’ll look the other way, wink, wink.  Fire, police, homeless. Relax, we have the community in a dialogue over how we’re busy trying to keep our baseball and football teams in town. That’ll then solve all our other ills.  Until then, just wait.  The leadership vacuum continued and now, well, we’ve all seen the headlines.  Ghost Ship Warehouse Fire, 39 die! The problem was there, they knew about it, it dropped right through the cracks.  For a little while the plight of the homeless and affordable housing was the focus as their deaths would hopefully lead to something.  The voices faded.  Oroville Dam Spillway collapses followed by the sequel, the emergency spillway is not working either!  Hundreds of thousands are evacuated!  People’s lives severely disrupted!  The Governor gave his dog and pony show on how we’ll fix it, now.  Hmmmm, it got quiet again.  The Coyote Creek in San Jose unexpectedly floods it’s banks as the Anderson reservoir that is allowed to hold only 68% of capacity due to fears it’ll collapse in an earthquake was at 104% and needed to purge.  Yea, I know, but if you think that’s stupid how about the fact the water district sat on $22 million dollars the people had approved to spend on fixing the flooding issues.  The citizens of San Jose near the creek lost everything!  Thousands of them had to be evacuated. The city  and the water district never saw them as people, just collateral damage.   Since we’re on the topic of stupid.  BART has plenty of staffers at station with no trains or riders.  That’s right!  The new station had 5 full time agents and 1 full time train dispatch supervisor standing around doing nothing for 5 months.  The hold up, the new stations computers couldn’t communicate with the much older system that operates BART.  It seems there are issues with communication between the generations no matter where you go.  The punchline is BART now telling us they’re running out of money.  Who ever said incompetence is cheap?

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When you are placed in charge, BE in charge!  Your success is in your hands so have a plan. First, get the basics.  Budget, staffing, equipment, goals.  Then plan on consistently doing a monthly walk around your facility, which can also be combined with a Pop-In once in a while.  You’re looking for what needs attention?  Does the emergency lighting work, emergency exit signs light up, fire extinguishers, potholes, lighting, racks, equipment, charging station, tin cats.  Those are just a few and you’ll come up with items that are specific for your operation.  When you find issues that need to be addressed, deal with them right away.  You saw above what happens when you put it off.  It winds up costing you more money in the long run as well as employee trust and your reputation, which I hope still means something, as you can’t keep telling them to eat cake, forever.

Even though it ended on March 10th, I wanted to mention this event in Canada,  Road Safety at Work Week kicks off.  The government is making efforts to raise awareness and the adoption of road safety practices for company drivers.  They’re on the road almost every day representing your company and whether you like it or not, they are advertisements good or bad.  Make sure to throughly explain your expectations for job performance and level of professionalism.

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In the February 20th issue of Companies Behaving Badly I mentioned the challenge of dealing with boys being boys.  Continuing on that subject of “boys will be boys” we should point out that St. Patrick’s day is this Friday, which is a good thing, bad thing.  Good since it means no sicks calls during the workweek but bad since the filters will be off as there is no worry as most don’t work on Saturday and it’s exasperated by the NCAA  tournament.  This is another semi-holiday we’ve perverted into nothing more than an excuse for a drinking frenzy along with Cinco de Mayo.  They’ve become the alcoholic version of The Purge except the only killing is not to ones own brain cells, but from head on collisions in cars.  If you’re going to drink, keep your car at home, take public transit in and back.  There are also real Taxi cabs available out there as well as those internet alternatives.  You don’t really want to spend the weekend in lock up and most definitely want to come back on Monday.  St. Patrick’s day was a great holiday to be a cab driver in NYC, which I did for 2 years while in college.  It’s not just the many runs you get taking people from one bar to another but the riches to be found in the form of small change that gets lost in the back seat. Intoxicated people tend to fumble around and inadvertently drop things and they tip well too.  Thank you to those who jumped into my cab and helped put me through college as I listened to and helped you solve your life’s problems within a 15 minute ride.

Important information you Welders should know about. Washington University study raises questions about current welding safety standards.  The study examined the long-term effects of airborne manganese on welders and found that symptoms associated with parkinsonism — a neurological condition that causes tremors, muscle stiffness and other movement abnormalities — increased over time.  It may be a great time to upgrade your equipment.

Cone Of Silence On Enforcement News From U.S. Labor Department – Apparently there are those out there in charge who fear the exchange of ideas and information.  Some countries like North Korea, Russia and Iran control what information goes out to the public masses because they fear that information may cause independent thought, discussion and then lead to change.  Change scares narrow minded people.  The U.S. Department of Labor, including OSHA has become silent.  No news on companies behaving badly and their violations and fines.  I personally don’t understand the silence and fear and am very disappointed as one of the best things in this country is the freedom to speak your mind. But just because OSHA has become deaf and dumb doesn’t mean you do too!  Keep treating your workers with respect and give them a safe place to work.  It will benefit you in the long run.  NEVER KEEP QUIET ABOUT SAFETY for the life you save may be your own.

Until next month, be kind to each other and be safe.

 

Hey, did you do it? Come on you can tell me.  Did you really change the batteries in your smoke/carbon monoxide detectors this past Sunday?  No!  What are you waiting for?  

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RBMB-What’s Wrong With Having Fun?

 

 

It was finally shut down day.  After 10 days straight of production on graveyard, it was over and the only thing standing between me and some much needed sleep and family time was the morning production meeting. This rotation, I would be in the first group out the door, smiling and waving on my way out the door to those who still had to deal with finishing the plant shut down.  As the meeting ended and handed the operation off to day shift it was full speed out the door when my boss uttered those words you don’t want to hear, stay back a minute.  Ugh!  I was so close.  The lead superintendent, myself and our boss  were the only ones left when he said.  “Your crew produced some exceptional numbers this rotation and after last night, really put us in excellent position for a smooth shutdown.  You did a great job this shift.”  I smiled, thanked him for the complement, and then added, and they had fun doing it!  As soon as the word fun left my mouth the lead superintendent exploded with, “There it goes again!  What is all this fun nonsense?  They’re not paid to have fun, they’re paid to do a job!”  

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For the record, I never did like this man at all, ever.  He was old school, he told off color jokes, he bullied workers, he was mean just for the sake of being mean.  He was very disruptive to the whole operation at times but had been with the company for a long time and knew where all the skeletons were buried which worked to his benefit, that is until we were bought out by another company.  He didn’t last long, but I digress.  The lead continued, “I heard you also bought them pizza last night?” Yes, I did, they earned it and turned to our boss and said, do you have a problem with our production numbers and pizza?  He smiled back, put his feet up on his desk and answered, “Have a great shutdown and have some fun, you earned it.”

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There is nothing wrong with having fun at work. The manufacturing and food processing industries don’t have to be depressing and stifling.  If your employees really enjoy not only what they are doing, but are also appreciated for what they contribute within a positive environment, confidence in themselves grows and safety and productivity soars.  You should know that fun doesn’t mean having forklift races or burning rubber in the warehouse but it does mean you can have a yearly forklift rodeo to recognize and reward the safest operators in your facility.  Fun can take the form of handing employees a token each time they’re observed doing a safe act or wearing all their proper PPE.  Workers can later redeem the tokens collected for snacks, lunch or favorite team’s hat or shirts.  Fun doesn’t involve micromanaging staff to the point where no one cares anymore about what’s going on but you can have fun listening to employee ideas, improved productivity suggestions and safety improvement recommendations.  Fun can also include a monthly potluck meal and recognition of workers for their contributions on all shifts.  These are just a few simple ideas to keep fun in your workplace.  What are some things you do?

Never keep quiet about safety, for the life you save may be your own.

 

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Companies Behaving Badly – Backup Failed

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There has been an alarming rash of workplace accidents recently, involving vehicles backing up resulting in the deaths of workers.  Even though poor weather conditions were partially to blame, complacency also has a hand in this.  We’re all guilty of rushing around and under constant pressure to get the job done so we tend to make assumptions that unfortunately can prove to be fatal.  These accidents could have been prevented with a little communication between the driver and the area around him instead of assuming it was clear to proceed. 
Let me put this as simply as possible for you all!  Whether you’re operating a bus, truck, car, forklift or a X-34 landspeeder, after you jump behind the wheel, before you slap it into gear, take that one lousy second out of your life and possibly save someone else by LOOKING behind you before backing up!!  Can I be any clearer!?  I’ve pulled drivers off of forklifts if I observed them backup without looking.  Immediately suspended their forklift license until they completed their re-certification via video tape, instruction and road test.  Why?  Because it’s a skilled job and a privilege earned to be a forklift driver.  
It is all not on the driver though.  Back-up injuries are like a tango, it takes two to dance and it only takes a spit second for either of you to be distracted, be complacent, drop your guard and boom.  Don’t ever assume the driver knows you are there.  Don’t stand behind a vehicle especially if the motor is running.  That should be a clue it could sudden move at any time. Drivers, if you’ve been idling for a while or you have poor visibility get off your ass and make sure no one is behind you or honk your horn and yell, backing up!  But for you to assume that no one is behind you is just asking for an accident.
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 Don’t ever put yourself between a rock and a hard place.  Maintain eye contact with the driver at all times so you each know where you are and avoid a life time of regrets.  Here are some recent stories.
Highway 17 mudslide worker killed in construction truck accident –  A horrible accident that occurred on Highway 17 in Northern California.  They were working on clearing a mudslide caused by the rains deluging California.  
 Sheriff’s deputy hit by bus at East Bay jail dies – Another horrible incident.
Hurricane city worker dies after being crushed at construction site – Driver spun backhoe around but didn’t look first and now worker is dead. 
I think you get the point. Always be aware of your surroundings and what’s going on.  If you’re a driver working in an area where a lot of workers are on foot, slow down.  Use your horn and let everyone know you’re there.  If you’re a pedestrian working in the same area where there’s traffic and people, don’t become complacent and tune out.  You need to watch for moving vehicles and stay off your cell phone, it’s a deadly distraction .  Wear bright colors and stop and wait if you don’t make eye contact with the driver.  By working together you can get the job done and no one gets hurt.  
It’s that time again boys and girls.  That pain in the butt time change.  The biggest issue is the disruption to your sleeping cycle which may cause you not to be as alert as you usually are. This is demonstrated by the increase in the number of accidents the Monday after the time change.  So plan according, get more sleep Sunday if you can and you also might want to have a huddle Monday morning reminding your staff to be careful.  Also put off any new projects or training that day as well.  Please don’t gamble with the the lives of your family and also change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, especially if you didn’t do it last time.  With fresh batteries you know your alarms will work when needed and why wait for that annoying beep, in the middle of the night, to remind you?  Be a hero.  DO IT!
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Thanks for stopping by.  Never keep quiet about safety, for the life you save may be your own.

Companies Behaving Badly-Don’t AssUMe

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Surprise Quiz!  How many outside vendors and contractors are in your facility right now and what are they doing?  Do they know and understand your “rules of the road”?  Have they been told if food and drink is allowed, where they can eat, where they can take breaks, how and who to contact in an emergency, what PPE they need to where and where they’re not allowed to go?  If you are allowing outsiders to wonder your warehouse, plant, facility without any kind of safety orientation you are just looking for trouble.  Don’t assume (make an Ass of U an Me) that the contractors know and understand the safety policies in your company.  Take the time to cover with the workers themselves, the subtle differences and idiosyncrasies of your facility and understand the consequences that will result if they violate those rules and that will include being banished from the premises.
 As you will see in some of the stories below, very bad things happen when you don’t take the time to give onsite contract workers a safety orientation before working in your facility.  Let’s begin with an experience I had in this matter.  This one particular company had man-lifts through out the facility to move people between floors.  However if you had bulky items, toolboxes or other equipment you had to take the elevator, which took much longer to use since you had to usually wait a while for it.  We had some contractors come in to do repairs on a storage tank.  It was assumed by the powers that be that the workers knew how to use the man-lift and of course, murphy’s law reared it’s ugly head and one of the contract workers wound up falling the equivalent distance of two stories.  He suffered multiple injuries including but not limited to, broken ankles, wrists, arm and shoulder as well as a serious head injury.  The knee jerk reaction by the company, which had to be completed in one day, was that we had to retrain each and everyone of our shift by explaining how to use a man-lift, watching them complete one trip a floor up and one trip back down, then documenting this with signatures of affirmation.  The half hour or so of training given to the contract workers up front  would have avoided the many hours of a day taken away from production for covering asses.
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 Contractor dies in fall from power plant roof – A man died after falling from the roof of the NRG Indian River Power Plant in Dagsboro on Tuesday morning.

Preliminary investigation from Delaware State Police said the incident occurred around 8:11 a.m., Tuesday Jan. 31. Police said a male subject fell from a roof of the power plant on 29416 Power Plant Road and died as a result of the fall.  Was he wearing fall protection gear, was it properly tethered or did he think nah, I don’t need to waste time with all that gear for a quick job?  Make sure they follow your safety rules.

 

The same safety orientation needs to be offered to Temporary workers as well.  The safety of temporary workers is a shared responsibility.  To assume that these workers know how to respond to an emergency, or how to LOTO “that” machine or know how to ride a man-lift is irresponsible.  Don’t assume the agency has given them the necessary safety orientation as well especially those specific items that apply to only your facility.  Give them a chance to succeed and survive.

Safety orientation and training is also critical for your regular employees as this company found out. OSHA cites Marathon Galveston Bay Refinery on training.  The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a citation in January alleging Marathon Petroleum Corp’s Galveston Bay Refinery in Texas City, Texas, failed in 2016 to train workers in changes in the operation of a coking unit.  Really!  They apparently didn’t think it was worth the time and effort to make sure their own employees wouldn’t die if something went wrong, because, after all, what could go wrong?  OSHA also alleges Marathon failed to document training of the workers, according to a second citation.  The first thought that should go through your head whenever you put in a new piece of equipment, modify a piece of equipment, change a procedure or anything that chances the current practice, is the training you need to give before anyone begins operating it.  Your workers deserve to have a chance to survive any emergencies that may occur at work.

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Poor or lack of training is a great indicator of poor leadership which in turn gives you a company behaving badly.  When you begin to look closer beyond the lack of training you’ll see poor housekeeping, expired or damaged inventory, equipment in need of repair but still used at the risk of employee injury.  What’s even more disturbing is when those companies basic business is transporting people to and from their jobs like the Metro in Washington, D.C.  Union: D.C. Metro transit system has long record of putting safety last and BART in the San Francisco bay area, BART hits record low in survey of its riders It’s not enough to worry about safety at work, now you have to worry if you’ll get to work in one piece which brings me to the incident where two railroad maintenance workers were killed on the job when hit by another train.  We all figured it was just poor communication within the Amtrak but it seems to go even deeper and is very troubling.  The autopsies revealed that one maintenance worker was had cocaine in his system and the other tested positive for morphine, codeine and oxycodone.  To add to this mess, the engineer operating the train that hit and killed the workers tested positive for marijuana.  This is also an indication of poor leadership as it seems everyone needs some kind of drug to get through the day.  Read for yourself, Tests: Maintenance Workers Killed By Train Were On Drugs.  

Relatives criticize PG&E for 2010 pipeline blast that killed 8 and Iowa Spill Is The Largest Of Diesel Fuel In US Since 2010  Just two of the many reasons why we DO need regulations.  Also why not ask the over 4,000 humans who died last year in industrial accidents.  We can’t depend on companies self regulating themselves.  Look at PGE.  The asked for a rate increase so they could track and upgrade the buried gas lines in Northern California and instead they gave themselves bonuses with the money and then 8 people were murdered due to their indifference to human life.  You should also read this article as well,  Commentary: Regulation saves lives  by Jim Weygand.

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I’m sure you’re like me and am always looking for new and more interesting ways to train and bring safety to the forefront.  Here’s a great one and I love this. Lorry drivers trained on bikes in bid to cut cycling deaths in London.  Getting employees to see things from another point of view.  Maybe having forklift drivers walk around the warehouse and  working forklifts?  Call it what what you want, thinking outside the box or being a dreamer, anything that helps get the point across with a different twist is fantastic.

That’s it for this episode folks.  Training is the most critical aspect of safety.  You need to know how and what to do so you can go home the same way you arrived.  Thanks for stopping by and please, don’t ever keep quiet about safety, for the life you save may be your own.

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Companies Behaving Badly-Execution of Excuses

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“In the military, as in any organization, giving the order might be the easiest part. Execution is the real game.” – Russel Honore

Happy New Year and welcome back to the first episode of 2017.  You know, you can have all the laws in the world on the books, you can have well written procedures laminated and posted all over the office, you can have a fantastic game plan drawn out and ready for game day but it all means nothing if you can’t EXECUTE it.  We’ve seen this a lot in 2016 especially in our cities, in mass transit and on the job, where laws and rules are clearly spelled out but no one bothers to enforce them or follow up and when things go south, then comes the litany of excuses, WHY!   We didn’t have the budget, we didn’t have the man power, we didn’t follow up soon enough, we need tougher laws but you don’t hear-we didn’t execute our job.  Unfortunately this trend is going to continue and probably get worse while you Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public will be the collateral damage to all of this. People will continue to die due to poor execution of duties and the excuses will continue to flow.  How much more are you willing to put up with, how many lives before you say enough?  Will it take the death of a loved one? 

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I’m sure you’ve all heard about the horrific warehouse fire in Oakland, California that killed 36 and the initial knee jerk reaction was, we need to make new laws but if the current laws, rules, regulations had been executed in the first place, the fire and deaths may never have happened.  Your supervisor sees a worker on the job not wearing their PPE and they give you an excuse as to why not, they forgot, they left it in their locker or the dog ate it, you know the answer is bull shit but you want to be a nice guy, so this time you let it slide.  Well now the next guy or gal does it and don’t you have to let it slide again or you’re perceived as discriminating, picking and choosing who to protect?  You need to protect them all!!  Then later in the week, month or year when that worker is injured because you wanted to be a nice guy, who do you think is going to get tossed to the wolves by their lawyer?  YOU, Mr. Nice guy.  Now you know why Nice guys finish last.

As you will see in the stories below, without proper execution, people can get hurt and die so keep your employees and customers safe by executing the plan, uniformly enforcing safety procedures, policies, laws and rules then you don’t have to waste time making up excuses.  

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First the bad news.  Workplace Fatalities Up Slightly Last Year – 4,836 human beings died in 2015 in industrial related accidents.  That’s moms and dads, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters.  Loved ones who were missed this holiday season.  This is the largest number since 2008 as fabricated metal product manufacturing as well as building and grounds cleaning and maintenance deaths jumped up the most.  That’s a clue people, we’re not executing properly!  NEVER KEEP QUIET ABOUT SAFETY.

Families of 2 Oakland warehouse fire victims file 1st lawsuits – So it begins.  The first lawsuits resulting from the Oakland warehouse fire are on the books.  The warehouse owner as well as the main renter and the city are on the hook and this is only the beginning.  More lawsuits to follow along with trials, editorials and hell of a lot of finger pointing.  Is it worth all this just to be a nice guy?  Who are you really helping with offering people space to live and work when you have overloaded outlets, over crowding, poor heating and ventilation and NO emergency exits?  Sure you feel good about yourself when you see their smiling faces while they paint and sculpt but how do you feel when you see their charred bodies burned beyond recognition?  Still worth it?  Enforce the current laws and stop making excuses as to why you can’t.  There is always a solution if you want to find it.

Rules are in black and white but enforcement of the rules has to have some common sense. Viral video sparks Indiana OSHA investigation – When I interview potential employees, I hire workers who can size up a situation, think for themselves and make adjustments accordingly and not quote why they can’t.  When it comes to safety you want to follow the rules but sometimes that is not enough as some rules are written by people who sit behind a desk all day and have never done the job or task themselves.  You want your workers to have the freedom to do what is required and then some if needed as in this situation.  Instead of thinking this may not be safe enough, the Comcast employee said he was following standard procedure: at least one cone for every ten miles per hour in the speed limit.  Workers like this will get someone else killed by their lack of awareness.  Based on my dealings with Comcast customer service, this incident didn’t surprise me as I find Comcast doesn’t do enough training of their employees and their hiring process needs to be vastly improved to weed out the morons.  If you find yourself in this situation, call your supervisor and tell them what’s going on so the procedures can get fixed before someone dies and leads to lawsuits and bad press.  

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WA mining company fined for workplace safety breach – Here is another company that poorly executed and almost killed several workers because of it.  Their excuse was, the company was aware of the need to carry out regular inspections and repairs of the tanks, but they failed to carry it out!  They knew it but didn’t bother to do it, how stupid is that?How long do you think Coach Belichick would put up with a lineman who kept missing his blocking assignments and caused Brady to be injured and out of the game?  People this is easy.  You make a schedule of inspections, you execute that schedule without excuses and on days it gets missed due to unforeseen circumstances you make sure it’s resumed the next day and not forgotten.  Leadership has a big role in this as well.  If you know that management isn’t following up to make sure it’s happening, you won’t rush to do it. 

Ever wonder why it’s so hard to recruit workers for manufacturing?  This may enlighten you.  OSHA cites Wisconsin factory for safety failures after teen worker dies from injuries – A 17 year old boy, on the job for only 2 weeks died because his idiot employer couldn’t be bothered to train this young man how to execute proper L.O.T.O.  Would you put a soldier on the battlefield without weeks of basic training?  Do you think other 17 year olds believe this is a great way to make a living?  This young man could have developed into a fantastic employee and who knows what he would have contributed to make the company great but they thought it would be better suited for themselves just to kill him now.  You can’t execute a job without training and you can’t have a career without safety. If you are new to a company and don’t receive any safety training for your job call the OSHA hotline and make an anonymous complaint – 1-800-321-6742.  You life is more important then your bosses profit margin.

Kerry Inc. Cited After 2 Workers Suffer Severe Injuries At Bread Factory – Another failure to execute proper L.O.T.O and now two workers have amputations.  Well, LOTO can slow down the production line and hey, we can’t have someone wanting for a loaf of bread. When something goes wrong, that is an indication you may need to review your procedures but many bosses are just too lazy to do that.  It’s tough as it means more work, reviewing the job, rewriting procedures, retraining workers and follow up.  Very tough, NOT!  If you don’t care enough to protect your workers maybe you are more suited to be a grave digger.  How can you mess that up, they’re already dead!

This employee knew it wasn’t right and called OSHA.  Michigan auto supplier tops $400K in fines after state safety inspections – My guess is the issues were brought up to management and they either totally ignored him or just told him to shut up but he did the right thing and called and they found 19 violations!  This company didn’t execute a safety plan just tried to execute workers.  Again, never keep quiet about safety.

If you are not sure about a safety procedure, or you feel you didn’t get the proper training or you want to know what a safety hazard is begin with your union representative and ask, unless you work for the US Postal Service, who’s union has forsaken it’s workers, in that case you are SOL.  You can also speak with your supervisor, manager or Human Resources representative.  If your company has a safety committee you can bring issues to their attention and become part of the group.  If your company doesn’t have a safety committee, ask and maybe you can begin one.  However, if you don’t get answers, or you are bullied or threatened into unsafe acts at work then it’s time to put your safety into your own hands and call the OSHA hotline at 1-800-321-6742 (OSHA).  Never keep quiet about safety for the life you save may be your own.

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Reduce Home Holiday Risk – Your Stove is a Diva

Your stove is very much like a Diva. When it’s on, it needs lots of attention to be happy but can become vexed in the blink of an eye.

You’ll be working with your Diva often during the holiday gauntlet, (the time period between Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day) and keeping focused and avoiding distractions while cooking and baking is key to a problem free relationship.  

Still, being prepared and ready for any flare ups and you’ve won half the battle if not more.  Also check and then keep the filters and collectors in your stove hood clean and free of dirt and grease as it builds up quickly with all the holiday cooking.  Highly recommend that you set a schedule of cleaning them every two weeks, like the pros do and you can set a reminder on your calendar.  Same for the stove top and oven, keep them clean and free of debris.  

Then of course you should also know the 3 ways to put out a grease fire.

– NEVER use water on a grease fire.

1 – Put a lid on it.  Place a lid over the pan on fire and remove the heat source. This smothers the flames by cutting off it’s oxygen.

2 – Pour baking soda on it.  Yes, that handy versatile box of baking soda can also add firefighting to it’s long list of uses.  It also smothers the flames. 

3 – Use your fire extinguisher.  Focus the stream on the center of the fire and sweep the area left to right and back until fire is out.  Sure you’ll ruin what ever was cooking but it’s much easier to replace a menu item then your house.  If at any point the fire begins to get out of control leave immediately,  close the door behind you as you exit and call 9-1-1

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Reduce Home Holiday Risk

The time between Thanksgiving and New Year Day are fun and joyous but they can be dangerous as well.  As people are gathering, visiting, traveling, cooking and eating, make sure your home is a safe haven for everyone during the holidays and not a house of horrors.

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