Secrets of the Professionals Revealed-3

whiteglove

As we’ve learned from previous posts, we know that companies spend lots of effort and money each year to keep their facilities clean and in tip-top shape to provide you products of highest level of quality.  Besides training, education and scheduling these companies have one more way to make sure they are doing things right. 

There are businesses that, very much like a mother-in-law will come to your facility and tell you everything you are doing wrong in keep house.  Actually to conduct business with some major companies like Costco, Walmart, Whole Foods or Target your facility has to have a rating of 95 or better and for some only a 98 or better will do.  The ratings are based on the results of findings from the audit by a third party company like AIB International (American Institute of Baking) or ASI Food Safety.   Trust me, for the companies I worked where the score was important for business, the audit process is stressful and the worry endless until you get that report and rating.

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These auditors have a long list of things they look at which are the same for every facility they inspect so the scores are comparable.  Condition of the facility, cleanliness of the facility, sanitation schedule, pest control program, condition of storage containers, receiving procedures, cooler log, freezer log, condition of the employee restrooms, condition of the break/lunchroom, standard operating procedures and training.   It’s a thorough inspection and really keeps you on your toes but the secret to passing this inspection and getting the needed rating score is to run your facility this way year round.  Don’t get lax but keep consistent especially since once you begin justifying putting of cleaning and repairs it’ll become all to convenient to keep making excuses until it’s too late.  With that said, I worked at one company that waited until they got their notice of pending inspection, which you request in the first place and  then they’d proceed to freak out getting all the records together on pest control and training and couldn’t even tell you the countless hours of overtime for cleaning, cleaning, cleaning.  Yes it’s true, not all companies are operated the same.

Then there are a few larger corporations that have their own internal audit teams that would travel around the country and show up unannounced.  Several months after we were bought by a even bigger fish, I can still remember the look on the plant managers face when one of those teams showed up unexpectedly to evaluate our operation as well as to deem who was worth keeping. 

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In your own home you don’t need a team of auditors checking every nook and cranny before assigning you a score but I’m sure we all know a family member or friend who would be more then happy to do that for us.  However it has been my experience if you keep up a consistent cleaning routine, do repairs within a reasonable time period and have good food storage habits your home will be safe even for your mother-in-law.

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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, stick ball, red rover and hula hoop while inside was entertained with colorforms, silly putty and slinky.  We never heard of 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 back ground 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 through out 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 super power 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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Companies Behaving Badly-Nice Guy

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Welcome back for another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.  Is Spring being bashful where you live?  Maybe if we treated the environment better, Spring wouldn’t be so self conscience and step out sooner.  

Of the blogs I enjoy reading, the latest edition of the PPM Blog – Practical Practice Management written by Tina Del Buono, When Being The Nice Guy Backfires”  hit a chord for me since it pertains just as well to safety on the job.  As Tina says, “Most managers want to have good relationships with their staff and go the extra mile for them by being the “nice guy”.  But not always does being a “nice guy” pay off, in fact, it can hurt your career.”  This couldn’t be closer to the truth and in a distribution center or manufacturing plant being a nice guy can wind up getting an employee injured or worse and you under the spotlight of investigation and wind up in court, as a defendant, being sued for failing to enforce safety rules.

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Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Seriously.  More cities are taking a tougher stance on safety and actually prosecuting supervisors, managers and owners.  If you think for one minute that your company won’t throw you under the bus if a worker gets injured because you wanted to be a nice guy and said, oh you forgot your safety googles, that’s o.k., get them later or it’s close to break, forget about LOTO so you can go on time, that doesn’t look like bad jam.  Every day you’ll be tested, I forgot my earplugs, I forgot my LOTO locks, I forgot my brain and every day you have to enforce the rules, uniformly and consistently.  The first time you back down to be a “nice guy” and make an excuse to justify your actions, you’ve lost ALL credibility.  Chances are that allowing someone to not wear their safety glasses won’t lead to an injury but when the other employees see this, what do you think they’re going to expect?  You tell the employee sorry they forgot their safety glasses but they can’t go to their workstation without them.  I always kept a few extra pair in my desk and just handed it to them with a reminder that all PPE is necessary, no excuses under my watch.

There was a warehouse manager who poorly scheduled and didn’t properly utilize staff so there was a lot of dead time in the morning and because he wanted to be a “nice guy” he didn’t make them sweep or clean but allowed horseplay to help the employees pass the time.  One of their favorite games was racing forklifts across the warehouse, straight down aisles with assorted obstacles.  One day, during a race the brakes failed on one of the forklifts and the young driver’s reflex was to instinctively put his leg out to help stop the forklift.  The forklift stopped but his right foot was wedged between the lift and a steel beam supporting the roof. 

ER This young man wound up losing half his foot and even after several surgeries and a long stint of rehab he was never going to work in a warehouse again and this plunged him into deep depression and despair even when the state retrained him for another career but he ultimately survived.  The manager was terminated for being a “nice guy” and had to live with the guilt of what happened in the warehouse for the rest of his life.  Soon after the dust settled I was asked to move from customer service to take over the warehouse.  That doesn’t mean nice guys always finish last.  You can be a “nice guy” in so many other ways by treating workers with respect, listening to their concerns and saying thank you for a job well done.  Buy them lunch for no reason at all, approve that day off they requested and please recognize their accomplishments.  

Whether you’re a nice guy or not, unfortunately DANGER lurks in every workplace and knowing and understanding them gives you an edge.  The fishing industry wants to make sure their workers know, Workplace safety campaign addresses commercial fishing risks.  If you are not getting any kind of training on job hazards, first think is this a company that appreciates me and do I want to work here?  Then go online and research the hazards specific for your job or read blogs like this one and learn about them and then discuss them with fellow workers, your shop steward, human resources.  The more people you get involved in safety the better for all of you.  

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Like drilling it down makes it better for all as emergency responders train to hone farm rescue techniques https://buff.ly/2qEI4hW.  It makes perfect sense in a community that has lots of family farms to be prepared to handle any emergency that may occur there.  As in a community that has lots of trains passing through, their local first responders would do better to have drills on derailments.  In your facility the same holds true.  If you work with chemicals then you should receive training on how to handle a spill or other type of release of chemicals as well as for fires, evacuations and other emergencies that may possibly arise.  Again, if you’re not getting this training then it may be time to find another job.

Nice guy or not, if you’re dumb enough to put someone in charge who doesn’t understand the dangers of the job, proper PPE to be used or knows the regulations then you’re not only an idiot in my book but still at fault per OSHA.  Ignorance of OSHA standards no defense for worker’s death.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit Court upheld OSHA’s decision to issue a willful citation in the case of a worker’s deadly fall, even though the employer claims the foreman in charge was ignorant of safety requirements that could have prevented the incident, according to a summary written by the law firm of Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP for JD Supra.”  So either in my opinion, we believe the employer is actually that stupid a business person to actually put someone in charge that was ignorant of safety requirements or the employer is lying thinking they would go easy on the fine if he said the foreperson was ignorant of the rules.  Never operate any machinery or perform any job without understanding the dangers and have been trained to properly operate.  The truth is out there, somewhere, but not here.  

Yes, accidents happen, you just never know when, that’s why they’re called accidents and not planned.  However, you can minimize accidents by understanding what you are working with and how to prevent the many different ways it can go sideways, but if it does, how to deal with it so you can walk away.  Knowledge is power and never let anyone tell you otherwise, even if they’re just trying to be a nice guy.  Never keep quiet about safety for the life you save may be your own.  Until next month.

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Companies Behaving Badly-Boob Tube

boob tube
ˈbo͞ob ˌt(y)o͞ob/
informal
noun
NORTH AMERICAN
television or a television set.
“librarians are scrambling for ways to compete with the boob tube”

 

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Welcome back.  Hope all is well and thank you for stopping by.  How are those New Year Resolutions going?  Still on track or trackless?  Benjamin Franklin once said, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”  What a wise man he was since he knew even before they were invented, that people would slack off and forget to change the batteries in their smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.  Please don’t forget to check them along with your fire extinguisher.  Give yourself every chance to keep your home and family protected.

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The boob tube was an endearing term for the television.  It was believed, that much like Rock and Roll music, it would rot our brains out.  Considering all the events of late it is quite possible that the fears were well founded.  During an episode of “The Americans”, Nina Sergeevna Krilova is brought to a room and told that due to her actions she was sentenced to death that would be carried out soon.  She drops to her knees in horror and before it all could sink in for her or myself for that matter a soldier pulled out his gun and shot her in the back of the head.  It was sudden, it was brutal.  It left an uneasy feeling.  I felt bad for her and thought what a waste of human life. Did it make me less sensitive to killing?  I don’t think so, but the scene is still haunting me.  However, if I was to watch graphic homicidal acts over and over, day after day I guess I would finally get used to it to the point it becomes the norm.

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Also appearing on the boob tube is a very lovely couple, Chip and Joanna Gaines.  She is a beautiful person with a beautiful spirit and Chip has to be one of the luckiest guys in the world so it’s confusing when he goes out of his way to make Joanna a beautiful widow.  On one episode of their show, Chip, in an enclosed area with a good sized cement saw is determined to cut out a section of the wall.  With only a t-shirt wrapped around his nose and mouth for PPE, sawing enclosed by a cloud of dust filled with silica, brick and cement that you can barely see him, with NO safety glasses, no dust mask, no ear protection.  There was enough dust that a spark may have caused a minor flash.  Chip, true to form made jokes about his experience.  Was I desensitized to safety on a construction site by this?  No, I got angry because there are many, many DIYers watching Chip, laughing along with him, that don’t understand how important PPE is to protecting and keeping you from winding up in the ER or worse.  It’s very hard to stop horseplay on the job when so many DIY shows glorify this childish behavior.

It’s not just Chip.  The Property Brothers, Drew and Jonathan are just as bad, demonstrating bad behavior on a job site and I’m sure the horseplay is to make the shows entertaining instead of a boring production pointing out and demonstrating the proper safety procedures to follow on demolition day.  That’s the problem, it makes horseplay and dangerous behavior look like fun, and it is, until someone gets hurt.  In fact the DIY Network and HGTV don’t see to care what bad behavior their stars portray on the boob tube.  I’ve never once seen a “safety minute” or a disclaimer before the episode, that the behavior is contrary to all safety laws.  The closest that comes to that is the show “First Time Flippers”, where they will insert comments pointing out dangerous behavior but only to make fun of it, not to take it seriously.

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On some shows on the boob tube you’ll see people cut wires, remove fixtures or rip down ceiling fans without checking to make sure electricity or water are turned off.  It’s a funny moment when the person is electrically shocked or sprayed with water.  However there is one person who does not find L.O.T.O. funny or comedic element.  Man loses legs in workplace accident at Alhambra Foundry, company fined nearly $300K  2 workers at the foundry were cleaning and unblocking a 38-feet-long auger screw conveyor at the bottom hopper without effectively de-energizing or locking out the equipment.  One of the workers re-entered the 20-inch square opening after the cleaning was done to retrieve a work light from inside the confined space, when a maintenance worker 45 feet away energized the equipment to perform a test. The moving auger screw pulled the worker into the screw conveyor. Both his legs had to be amputated to free him, regulators said.  The most infuriating part is Cal/OSHA cited the company, Alhambra Foundry, for similar violations eight years ago. They probably thought it funny and would make for good television to hear someone scrambling and screaming in panic and pain.  It was so funny that Cal/OSHA fined them $282,390.  This is why you need a comprehensive Lock Out Tag Out program and ENFORCE it!!  Under a proper program there would be 2 lock outs, one for each person entering the area.  The last man out removes his lock, that way no one can inadvertently turn the machine on.  One other thing, the worker re-entering the hopper was not monitored by a confined space attendant, so no one had a clue he was in there.  Use LOTO and save lives.

Ignoring Safety at the workplace can cost you so much more.  Construction Worker Left Paralyzed Settles For $8.225 Million in Essex   The worker was rendered paraplegic after falling off a scaffold at a construction site.  That must have been knee slapping funny to be over 6 feet in the air without fall protection.  Hey, they get away with it on television.  Jose Criollo, then 46, was employed by Empire Home Improvements when he was working at a job site in Clark on Nov. 15, 2013. Criollo was working on a scaffolding tower when dust and debris from above fell into his eyes, causing him to take a step backward and fall to the ground below.  He was diagnosed with a fractured spine at T12-T13, with a complete spinal cord injury. He underwent emergency surgery and remained hospitalized for more than a month, followed by four months in a rehabilitation facility.  Whether you’re working high up for work or around the home, remember, accidents are not planned but they are created.

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Slapstick comedy with lots of pratfalls is always entertaining especially when a worker falls through a skylight.  Napa area winery appealing fines recommended after Vallejo man’s deadly fall last year.  Daniel Mario Colombo, 56, was working at Sutter’s St. Helena winery in May 2017, making repairs to the cooling system on its roof, when he fell 16 feet through a skylight and died as he wasn’t wearing a safety harness.  During their investigation Cal/OSHA also reportedly found that the steel roofing covering the area where Colombo was working looked too much like the dirty fiberglass panels covering the skylight he fell through.  The accident may have been avoided if guard rails and other safety measures had been in place around the skylight but to make things more entertaining they weren’t and why FALLS continue to be #1 killer on the job.

Thorough training is and will always be key to any successful workplace safety program.  It greatly helps when people know what they are working with and what is expected daily.  There is no room for horseplay on the job, there is only room for professionals carrying out their tasks safely and productively without fear of dying.  If you allow workers to horseplay on the job because they need to let off steam or boys will be boys, however you justify it, will you still feel the same after you are hit with a massive repair bill for a forklift or section of the warehouse or hit with a lawsuit by the widow of an employee killed because you run a day care rather then a business.

When you begin a new job, ask lots of questions.  Do research on the internet about PPE, chemicals, labeling requirements and good practices.  Ask professionals when you get a chance but please don’t blindly follow without any knowledge, for the life you save may be your own.  Until next time, please stay safe.

Always learn from mistakes of the past.  It’s why history is so important. Be sure to begin collecting all Disasters of the World Trading Cards.  Trade disasters with your family and friends, makes for a great dinner time discussion.  After reading a few you’ll wonder how the planet is still even here.

 

Companies Behaving Badly – Disadvantage

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Welcome back for another new episode, always appreciate you stopping by for a visit.  Hope your Valentine’s Day was enjoyable or at least tolerable.  It may help to remember the words of the great philosopher Stephen Stills who said,  “And if you can’t be with the one you love, honey Love the one you’re with.”

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One of the most interesting things I find to deal with in life, is people who go out of their way to make it more difficult for someone to succeed.  Whether it’s refusing to share information, spreading vicious rumors or purposely sabotaging a project, they seem to get some kind of sick joy watching the suffering and struggling of others.  If they’re a stranger on the street who can’t be bothered to give you directions that’s one thing but when they’re your boss or the company itself creating the disadvantage that can become quite a ugly situation.

HP Pelzer Systems Automotive Inc. is an example of a company that put their employees at a disadvantage by offering no training, no LOTO procedures which led to the amputation of a finger putting that worker at a further disadvantage.  Max Penalties Proposed For Safety Violations At Georgia Auto Parts Manufacturer.  This was PREVENTABLE by training workers on energy control procedures but the company couldn’t be bothered to do so and now they face a proposed fine of $129,336.  Training would have been much cheaper which would have prevented the amputation which would never have brought OSHA to their facility.  If you begin working at a company and they offer no training at all on safety issues, then find another job, these guys care nothing about you or your well being.

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Perhaps you work on the loading dock.  Moving pallets of products on and off trailers at a rapid pace.  Do you ever wonder what you’re moving?  Is it volatile?  Can it explode?  Another disadvantage to workers is when companies don’t inform you of the dangerous chemicals and solvents you’re moving around the facility or even worse don’t train you how to react if a chemical leak or potential explosion situation does arise.  Never Underestimate the Risk of Explosion in a Freight and Logistics Warehouse .  Again, this is a PREVENTABLE situation by getting the proper training on how to handle a liquid spill on the dock to understanding what the different symbols on the packaging means along with a updated and current SDS.  Can you use water to contain it and do you have to use respirators?  If there is NO training on the handling of chemicals or a SDS you can reference, you are in danger of losing your life and this employer doesn’t care.  It may be time to move on.

One of the most despicable disadvantages handed to workers is when there are laws on the books to protect them from harm and mistreatment but then the laws are not enforced.  Farm safety checks fall by a third.  It is usually found out after someone is severely injured or killed and the public wonders how it happened.  Then the apologies come out, we’re sorry we neglected this but want to assure you all that we are taking this very seriously.   Or my favorite, we need to put tougher laws on the books to prevent such a tragedy from happening again, when they already had laws on the books but didn’t bother to enforce them.  Those are the situations when public officials should be going to jail for ignoring health and safety of the public.

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Like the city of Oakland’s poor leadership.  They have all kinds of fire, health and safety laws on the books but let them all fall through the cracks and did nothing except pass the buck.  CA City Sued for Fire that Killed Four People at Halfway House.  The famous Ghost Ship fire that killed 36 generated lots of finger pointing in Oakland’s city hall but then after all that they continue to dig themselves in a deeper hole as they’re being sued by families of 4 who died in another fire less then four months after Ghost Ship.  Just as PGE who sat idly by and hoped for the best while they had no clue where there dangerous gas lines were that led to the murder of 8 people in a fierce explosion, the city of Oakland is following in their bloody footprints, killing innocent civilians. 

Another disadvantage is when manufacturers create a problem, agree with the public how terrible it is but won’t fix it and now, Lawmakers Seek Safer Packaging For Toxic Laundry Pods.  That’s right, they insisted on making cute little pods with bright colors and full of chemicals making it look like a treat each and every child wants.  There was no need to make them like this but some moron in marketing thought it was a great idea to sell more pods and now we have a serious problem that lawmakers are going to fix.  That alone should be frightening to all.  If less people use the pods and boycott their use they will change it.  The public did it before initiating change by not buying a product and folks, it’s time again.  Don’t buy pods.  Make the manufacturers fix their problem.

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Considering the disadvantages mentioned above it is no wonder that employees believe their employers policies are not aligned with their safety at the workplace.  Workplace Safety: Employee Perceptions, Employer Policies Not Aligned.  The good news is this is PREVENTABLE.   Speak up at work and never keep quiet about safety.  If there is no safety committee at your job, begin one.  Speak with HR and insist that you want to have  safety committee meetings, safety training and drills on proper evacuation in the event of a disaster.  If no one listens to you CALL OSHA.  Make a complaint at 1-800-321-6742 (OSHA).  You have every right to live and be free of dangers.

Our political brain trust got to see first hand how dangerous our railroads are.  Don’t you find it amazing that in a great country like ours a person can’t get on a train without wondering if I’ll die on the way there?  Very sad.  With Amtrak crash, Congress faced a deadly rail danger firsthand.  This is so PREVENTABLE but then no one seems to be in a rush to prevent further deaths.  Has life become that cheap?  Write your congressperson and Senator and tell them, you want safe transportation on the railroads and will accept nothing less.

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Railroad passengers aren’t the only disadvantaged people as now we have the numbers that show almost half of all deaths on the construction site are due to FALLS!  Nearly half of all construction worker deaths are fall-related, database finds.  This is disadvantage is happening because YOU are allowing it to happen.  Since man can’t fly without the benefit of an aircraft and since man is not immortal when you climb out onto a roof or ledge over six feet from the ground you MUST insist on fall protection gear.  Falls are the #1 OHSA violation and killer overall and all construction companies know that OSHA requires fall protection so don’t let them tell you otherwise.  It is against the law for someone to threaten you or your job to do an unsafe act.  Just say NO.

However, one good piece of news is Toyota-lift of Minnesota is giving VETS an advantage.  Forklift Training: Giving Vets A Lift.  They have certified 90 veterans so far and still going for more.  Bravo for your efforts and giving veterans a chance to be productive after their service to our country.

That brings this episode of companies behaving badly to a close.  Remember, you don’t have to be disadvantaged.  Do your research, google topics as needed and never be afraid to speak up.  The life you save may be your own.  Until next month, stay safe.

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Companies Behaving Badly-Demons

 

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Welcome back for another episode.  Hope all is going well and you’re having success with safety training, drills and safety committees.  If you need suggestions or have questions please don’t hesitate to ask.  May I wish you all a happy ground hog day.  I do find it entertaining that with all the apps, science and technology out there we still drag poor Punxsutawney Phil out of his man cave just to see if he finds his shadow or not cause it really influences the weather.  Wink, wink.

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We all have demons of one type or another that can influence how we perceive the world as well as how the world perceives us.  Whether your demons drink, do drugs, gamble, steal, cheat, binge eat, binge watch television, hoards or bullies other demons, how well we can control them or how well we can have them play with other people’s demons can make a difference in how life goes.  That’s easier said then done as Demons want to control it all so we battle them with conventional weapons like cleanses, portion control, no flour, no dairy, no sugar, fresh vegetables, exercise, vacation, relaxation, meditation and medication.  

 

Beating Demons is not an easy task, after all they are a part of you so they know you all too well and can anticipate how you’ll react.  The medication demons are really slick for sure as they first take away your pain and make you feel good all over and already knows  all your lies to come in your attempt to get more.  What could be so wrong about feeling so good and being without any pain of any kind?  I know I can control it. Only needed a few pills to get by today.  The Demons laugh, they know when you try to stop, the pain comes back and only seems even worse and that you will say anything to keep others from coming between you and your Demon. 

 

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The Devil made me do it.

Demons want you to believe they are your friend and have your best interest at heart by allowing you to indulge, feeding your habit and listens to your endless promises how you’ll know when it’s time to quit and end the relationship, hopefully before that one toke over the line.   I can’t tell you how to best the Demons as there is no one way to accomplish this.  You just persevere, be strong and follow what the professionals tell you and embrace family, friends and their love.

Thanks to Demons, technology and our greedy pharmaceutical companies, accidental injury has become the #3 cause of Death in the United States for the first time, ever! Accidental Injury No. 3 Cause Of Death For First Time In U.S. History.  A large part of this is due to the overdoses of opioids that’s occurring on a daily basis in our communities as the Demons continue to further use up the limited resources of our already stretched out first responders.  Another chunk of this is due to another Demon, the smart phone.  People are so wrapped up in their devices and have their heads buried so deep responding to a lame post, they never see the on coming car headed their way.  People, there is no need to rush blindly into death.  Stop, smell the roses and enjoy this life.

Demons don’t just dilly dally with people.  The cultures of some of the largest corporations are fraught with Demons especially when it comes to workplace safety.  Former train conductor says safety is virtually non-existent at Amtrak.  I am a firm believer that a companies culture is developed from the top down.  People will do or not do, if they know they can get away with it.  When a corporation doesn’t care enough about safety, you wind up with a poorly trained staff and have lots of derailments.  You know these companies, I’m sure you have worked for a few as have I.  No regular safety meetings if at all, no drills on how to handle emergencies, no way to report unsafe conditions.  Apparently this is not just a problem with U.S. railways.  In the United Kingdom, the Demons made sure the safety culture there is so poor that no one bothered to check and make sure the door to a restroom with no floor was locked and off limits to passengers.  Mum saved boy from falling to his death through this huge hole in toilet floor on a moving train.  I’m sure everyone thought that the other guy was checking it or maybe the Demon would keep it locked up.  Either way, the lack of leadership, (another Demon) by management is appalling that no one followed up.

 

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Then there are those Demons that tell you making your point at all costs, even at the expense of a primates life, is fine.  Volkswagen Suspends Executive Over Monkey Trials.  I will refrain from the easy jokes here, (fighting that Demon up to publishing time) but the fact a German car manufacturer had someone conducting experiments on living animals, well.  Are we so smug to believe that we as humans are so important we can decide to torture other living things to ensure our safety or in VW’s case, ensure that they’re lies about emissions could have been hiding the truth.  

Politics seems to attract all kinds of Demons but when it comes to workplace safety, do we want politics involved or common sense?  Washington State Senate Democrats Push Safety for Sanitation Workers.  It would have been so much nice to see a headline that read, State Senate Pushes.  What do Republicans have against safety?  Yea, it costs a little to have a good program in place but don’t we want to preserve all human life?  Do we want families to suffer a tragic loss?  To look at that empty seat at the table and wonder did the company and politicians do what was right for other humans and not to benefit there own bottom lines?  Must be the work of more Demons.

One thing I learned at an early age in the Bronx, don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time or in this case, pay the fine.  In New Zealand, WorkSafe fine ‘will put company under’ says owner.  I have no sympathy for any company owner who knowingly puts his hard working employees in harms way to benefit from the profits only to cry poverty when caught about the fine.  Oh Boo Hoo.  It’s happened in the U.S. as well with a large corporation caught and crying about the size of the fine.  I do believe OSHA and other agencies like it around the world should first be educators, but when a company is caught not complying on purpose or is a repeat offender, you don’t deserve the company in the first place.  Maybe it should be turned over to the workers to operate. 

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Unguarded machinery and no L.O.T.O. is a no no.  Pallet Manufacturer Cited After Employee Injured By Machine.  It is against the law to force you to commit an unsafe act.  So when it comes to moving parts, before you attempt any maintenance, or clear a jam, do proper Lock Out Tag Out.  This is not a game of “clear the jam” or you being a non team player.  It’s about your life, your physical well being.  Don’t let the Demons tell you that it’s o.k. to do just this one time to save a few seconds.  That’s what all the other dead workers thought before reaching in.  If you are concerned about your safety at work and no one is listening, call the OSHA hot line at 1-800-321-6742.  In California the Cal/OSHA number is 1-800-963-9424

Yes, I guess it can be all about perspective.  In the U.S. last year there were over 5,000 work related deaths.  The highest it’s been in awhile and creating quite a stir in industry.  But in China, they are celebrating a reduction of workplace deaths in a year.  Down to 38,000!!!!  CHINA WORKPLACE DEATHS FALL TO 38,000 IN 2017: REPORT.  OMG!!  But this doesn’t take away from our numbers.  5,000 is way too high and we all need to work together to rid of the Demons and make safety a priority.  

Be kind a mentor a younger worker.  Share your experiences, what’s worked what hasn’t.  Communicate those cautions and tips and keep the conversation loud and long.  Ask questions, read blogs, learn!  It’s the best way to keep demons in their place.  Until next time, please never keep quiet about safety for the life you save may be your own.

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