Companies Behaving Badly-Stop it!



Welcome back to Companies Behaving Badly.  Hope you had a fun and relaxing July 4th weekend.

Let’s get right too it, shall we.  Stop it!  Really. Stop it, right now.  There is no need to continue this madness people. It’s time we STOP and end FALLS, 7 year reign as OSHA’s #1 violation and killer.  Stop the falls.  There have been stand downs, press coverage, news stories, National Safety Month and yet.  Stop the falls.  No more lies to yourself, no more excuses and no more falls.  In case you didn’t know, you are no less of a man for using fall protection gear and if anyone questions it, remember, they’re the fool.  Oh it won’t happen to me.  I’m sure that’s what these guys said before their falls.


Cal-OSHA Opens Inquiry into Worker’s Death – He died from a 12 foot fall.               OSHA probes worker’s fatal fall in Cherry Hill – 14 stories, at least he had time to pray on the way down.  Worker falls 50 feet from building at construction site – Very lucky man, not dead but suffered significant injuries.  Indy worker falls to his death off Tippecanoe Co. roof – He fell 17 feet and died with his safety vest on but it was not properly anchored to anything.  That seems to be the best way it works.  Man falls off apartment building in Lacey – Another lucky guy but will he learn from this experience?  Worker Falls 30 Feet From Roof of NFL Draft Stage at Art Museum – 30 foot fall and survived but hospitalized.  MAN FALLS TO HIS DEATH AT DOWNTOWN ATHENS CONSTRUCTION SITE – He fell 40 feet so he had time to think what he did wrong but now won’t get the chance to tell anyone about his experience.   Official: Window Washer Dies After Fall in Brooklyn – he didn’t even bother to put on a harness.  Maybe he was never told or just didn’t like the fashion statement.  Then there is this one OSHA fines Ross Island Bridge paint contractor $189,000 for safety violations that led to near-fatal accident where a worker fell 37 feet and landed on another worker who turned out to be his son.  They’re fine and the company was hit with fines.

I could go on and on but hope the point has been made.  Don’t wear fall protection gear and use it properly, odds are you will die.  If you insist this can’t happen to you and don’t need to wear some harness, fine, but when you leave your loved ones this morning to go to work, hug them and say goodbye like it’s the last time they’ll see you alive.   YOU are the answer to not dying.  YOU are the solution to stopping falls.  YOU.  So stop it.


It also shouldn’t take a catastrophic event to get your focus on the safety of your employees.  Stop it, stop the lame excuses.  It is in the best interest of your business and the safety of your customers and employees if they are trained and prepared to deal with an emergency or the operating of equipment.  Do you want the press and tv news in your face wanting answers?  Do you want to be explaining to OSHA why you ignored the situation?  Do you want to have to tell the families why the backup equipment failed and their loved ones died. Why management stood by and kept quiet.  Telling a skeptical world your side of the story and how it’s not your fault, we take safety seriously here at (name here) and the well being of our employees is number one concern?  Yes, yes it is, right after you got caught.  Finger point, finger point. Ah, but wait, we have a new way to do things.  It’s called alternate truth or as your granddad used to call it, lying!  Since the facts will never back our view of things, we’ll make facts up and craft to get our point across.  From now on all employee injuries will be termed as self inflicted.  At no time are we at fault or blame.  If they can’t operate a machine they weren’t trained to operate without hurting themselves, it’s there own fault. 

Goodwill has a stellar reputation. It’s falling short in the death of Abraham Garza.   Dave Goudie, a commercial driver at Goodwill, had warned managers about safety hazards and inadequate training at the Franklin Boulevard facility.  Then last September, he witnessed a horrible accident when another Goodwill worker, Abraham Nicholas Garza, a 26-year-old father of a young boy, was crushed to death operating a compactor. Rather then listen to Mr. Goudie’s concerns and thanking him for bringing it to their attention they instead blamed him for Garza’s death and then fired him after he spoke with Cal/OSHA investigators and accepted no blame at all.  However Cal/OSHA found that Goodwill failed to establish safety procedures and that there were unsafe working conditions, busting Goodwills lie and fining them $106,675 for the 6 violations found, 4 of which were serious.  Our tale doesn’t end there as  A death. A widening probe. Does Goodwill endanger workers?  Someone at Cal/OSHA thought, if this place had safety violations what’s going on at the other stores they oversee?  We should take a closer look!  That’s what you invite when you ignore the basic safety concepts like training.  As I would tell my supervisors, if you keep it clean, safe and organized, no one else will look closer.  Hope that Goodwill does the right thing and work this all out so everyone can have a safe place to work.


Another compactor death across the country.  OSHA Fines East Brunswick Salvage Yard Where Man Was Killed  If you don’t know what you are doing or if you haven’t received training to operate, stay clear.  These machines can be dangerous if not handled properly.  There is no shame in asking questions.

This next story is a great illustration of the all too often results from horseplay.  Minnesota woman seeking YouTube fame fatally shoots boyfriend in stunt gone wrong.  Just like with horseplay, what seemed like a great idea, without any forethought or preparation of how to or what the end result could be just for the immediate gratification of a immature funny bone.  Yea, shooting you sounds real funny dear. Doing donuts on the forklift, sounds like real fun.  We’ll get lots of hits on youtube, we’ll be sensations, we’ll be famous daredevils and everyone will know that, Oh, I killed you, on accident?  See, fun until someone gets hurt.  Will you be willing to be held accountable for your actions?  If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.  Treat your job with respect and be professional during the whole shift.  There is no need to use equipment like a bored teenager.  It creates costs your company doesn’t need for equipment and possible worker lost time for a stupid prank.  


The Grenfell fire in the U.K. is a great tragedy that has exposed human depravity at its lowest.  Don’t tell anyone about the fire risks: Safety consultant hired to inspect Grenfell Tower urged council to hide failings – and he’s an ex-firefighter  The failure of leadership driven by greed, that ignored public safety and allowed fellow human beings to live in unsafe housing.  After the fire, so far over 60 buildings inspected have failed fire emergency tests!  60!  The use of cheaper materials that created toxic smoke that killed people long before the flames could ever reach them. However the most disgusting act committed was by the safety inspector who sold his soul and told the council to hide the safety flaws.  He was paid to point them out for the building council so they could address them and instead this fool said, let’s hide them. No one needs to know about them.  What’s the worst thing that could happen?  Like a bad doctor or lawyer, this moron should not be allowed to practice workplace safety anywhere.  If you hate other human beings that much to not care at all what happens to them, to think there is nothing wrong with putting them in harms way, then you need to live on an island somewhere.  All People Matter.  Each person is not better, not worse, just different.

I am really impressed with companies that see a problem, make the adjustments needed and problem goes away.  The reason you don’t hear much about them is because they fix it with No fanfare, no banners, no parades.  What you do hear is the other companies that complain loudly almost every.  Oh the skills gap is hurting us, oh the shortage of workers is hurting us.  What are we to do.  Well, those quiet companies are looking into internships and apprenticeships to help build a team of talented, trained and ready workers.  Nebraska Companies Join Effort To Connect Youths To Careers  There are lots of young folks who love to work with their hands and mind.  A career in manufacturing can be very rewarding.  

Thank you to all who participated in June during the National Safety Month.  When it comes to safety at the workplace, YOU are just as much responsible as your boss or company.  You can say NO to unsafe practices.  You can insist on using the proper PPE and safety procedures.  Get the conversation going, be part of the safety committee, voice your concerns and never keep quiet about safety.  Learn the correct way and be a mentor to others.  For the life you save, may be your own.  Until July 20th. Stay safe.

























RBMB-Your Medical Records Aren’t As Safe As You Think


And I’m not even talking about hacking of a computer, this is all human error.  Hopefully this article will spur most of you to double check where you’re sending personal information about an injured employee.  Get into the habit of reviewing and updating your phone and fax numbers for medical clinics and the state workers compensation board on a regular basis.

I’m still not sure why or what changed but the fax landline number that I’ve had for 32 years has been receiving for the last seven years full sets of information on employees who have been injured on the job. The last one was this week and now I have Mr Smith’s dob, home address, work address, SSN, his injury and other personal information that if I was dishonest, would also be hurting Mr. Smith financially as well as from his accident if I assumed his identity.  I called the medical office to let them know the information didn’t get to where it was suppose to go but to my home instead.  The clerk was perplexed and asked me again the patient’s name and birthdate.  Still not getting it he told me he needed to check with his office manager.  After being on hold for five minutes I hung up. Hopefully there were able to figure it out with the info I gave them.


To make it worse, The state of California doesn’t seen to care either.  When this happened last August I tried to inform workers comp I was getting personal information.  She thanked me and was ready to hang up when I said, don’t you want to know who sent it and what it was about nor did she ask if I still had the information or destroyed it?

So folks, you’re going to have to take it upon yourselves to make sure this doesn’t happen to you.  FYI, when I do get this info and after reporting it to the sender, I take the time and shred it at no charge to anyone.  You’re welcome. 


Companies Behaving Badly-YEAR END

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Welcome back, Happy Holidays, thank you for stopping by.  As you may know, OSHA recently released it’s annual top 10 violations for 2016 which quickly made the rounds. People offered their opinions about it,  criticized and pointed wagging fingers as those for more regulation and those for less regulation stood their ground on principle refusing to compromise while people continued to die.  So without further ado, may I present to you OSHA’s top 10 violations for 2016.
#1 – FALLS
NOW A MESSAGE FROM THE GRIM REAPER.   FALLS #1, 6 years in a row!!!
This information is nice so we know how we stack up against others in the country and where resources and training may need to be directed but is it really useful information? What does it tell us besides giving us reason to be thankful and feel superior since we were lucky enough to have experienced none of the violations on the list?  So instead of the OSHA top ten I would like to offer my Top 5 violations for 2016.
#1 – GREED.  The love of profits over the love of humanity. No money spent of safety, in fact the word isn’t even allowed to be spoken but if safety generated income for a business, it’d never be an issue.  Ever.
#2 – STUPIDITY.  You can’t coach stupid nor can you manage stupid but people seem somehow to still do so by putting people in danger, over riding safety shut off mechanisms to keep production going at all costs, adjusting machinery without using LOTO or blocking emergency exits with merchandise and equipment. That’s half of stupid, the other half are those who refuse to wear PPE or use fall protection gear and consistently put themselves in harms way.
#3 – LACK OF TRAINING.  Why waste time and energy in training employees on how to respond to an emergency whether fire, chemical or natural, it’ll never happen here, right?  Or how to properly use and wear PPE or how to properly operate a forklift.  Too much information in too little time.  They’ll learn as they go.  What could go wrong?
#4 – LACK OF RESPECT – for your workforce.  Don’t treat them as idiots, give them the materials and training they need to be successful and do their job with confidence. Explain what the expectations are and the consequences for non compliance and say Thank You for a job well done.
#5 – COMMUNICATION – This includes listening to your employees concerns about working conditions and process improvement and then answering those concerns with feedback and developing an on going conversation of respect to solve issues and make your operation stronger.

Hope you appreciate my top 5.  Now lets finish the year looking at other disturbing trends from 2016 that’ll continue into 2017.

The continued lack of leadership that prevails at the US Postal Service.  Blood incidents prompt OSHA to fine Brooklyn Postal Service location $342,000 – How stupid is the leadership?  Pretty damn stupid and the workers know it since they filed a complaint with OSHA that found 2 WILLFUL and 3 REPEAT violations.  3 Repeat!!!  Which means they never bothered to fix the problem of not having written instructions or training for workers responsible for handling and cleaning up biohazard packages that are stained or leaking. Managers also did not offer hepatitis B vaccines to affected employees.  It’s a wonder that your junk mail even gets to you!  I predict you’ll be reading more stories of violations at the USPS next year since management has proven it’s incapable of finding it’s own way out of a paper bag.


Continued lapses of safety on our railroads and ignoring the fixes needed for infrastructure to ensure protection of civilian lives. N.J. Transit Safety Jobs Vacant as Christie Allies Hired at Top – Some politicians, actually only the clueless ones bent on personal power think the way to fix a problem is to hire their friends to top management positions or by making new and “better” laws when all that is needed is to fill the open positions with employees who do the job at hand and not brown nose their way through.  While accidents continue on one of the worst transit systems in the world the Governor thinks it’s better not to fill the safety positions since they’ll ask for money to fix it while his buddies will keep the status quo and let constituents continue to die.  I guess the transit system isn’t as easy to take care of as the George Washington bridge.   Look for continued lack of a plan and leadership into the next year and beyond.

Continue to poison ourselves, our water supply and the environment because we are too cavalier on chemical safety.  New Martinsville chemical plant cited for workplace-safety violations – We need chemicals for food production, building materials, cars, planes, homes and just about anything you can think of but why are we so sloppy and careless about handling it?  Could it be that it maybe takes 20 years for the exposure to show up as a health problem?  Could it be that we truly believe the planet can handle all those chemicals in the air, land, streams, rivers and oceans to dilute and render them to harmless?  Could it be that chemical companies find it a needless expense to make all the needed safety measures and training to prevent chemical injury and death?  Either way, YOU as a employer, whether a supermarket or chemical plant are responsible to train your workers on what they are working with, it’s potential hazards, the proper PPE needed and how to handle in a spill or other emergency.  However I predict this also will continue to be ignored since we never learned anything after the 1984 Bhopal, India gas leak that killed 4,000 humans immediately and residual effects claiming a total of 15,000 human lives!!!  If you think it can’t happen here, you’re just in denial or brain dead.  


Continued deaths of civilians due to budget cuts and lack of leadership at all major and small cities. Operator accused of ignoring safety in deadly Oakland warehouse fire and Fire Chief: We were not aware what was going on in Ghost Ship – What happened in Oakland, California at the Ghost Ship Warehouse is just the canary in the mine warning f0r all cities.  Due to the competition by city departments for that little slice of the budget pie, things are not getting done and the leadership instead of thinking outside the box and developing solutions to working with what they have are just crying about it and doing NOTHING!  Between all the departments within the city, Ghost ship slipped through the cracks and now people are dead.  The mayor of Oakland at one point stated we need better laws but this is just rhetoric since all you had to do was enforce the current laws and better leadership developing communication between the departments instead of every man or woman for themselves.  If you think this can’t happen in your town, then think again.  When you city is more hell bent on saving the baseball team or football team from leaving, the safety of it’s citizens is a moot point.  Time to wake up Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose and Vallejo.  Sure there’s a knee jerk reaction happening now and everyone is aware but over time this will fade, things won’t get done and we’ll all be horrified again when it happens again.

That does it for now.  I greatly appreciate your support over the year and wish you all a Happy Hanukkah and a very Merry Christmas.  After the interesting year we’ve had it’s nice to see the show of solidarity by Hanukkah and Christmas as they begin back to back. As you visit family and friends remember to please not drink and drive or drive distracted. Be your own fire marshall and safety inspector to protect your home and family from fire, accidents or visits to the ER.  If you’re into making resolutions for the new year, resolve to be a better person to you fellow human beings, treat them with respect, be polite and especially be kind to those less fortunate then you.  There is a lot of love out there and we can obliterate the hate with it.  Until next year, never keep quiet about safety for the life you save may be your own.


Hanukkah Candles, Christmas Tree Lights – Festive Dangers


Reduce Home Holiday Risk – Don’t Kill Santa

As we show you how to make your home a safe haven for the holidays are there any other potential hazards that may exist?  What about that nice cozy fireplace that Santa will use to deliver presents?  When was the last time you used it and even more important, when was the last time you had the chimney cleaned?   Each time you use your fireplace, deposits  of ash, water vapor and other debris build up within your chimney and if not cleaned out can fuel a fire in your chimney that could spread throughout your home.  Be sure to keep flammable liquids and materials away from your fireplace, you don’t want to give the fire any added fuel to spread with and please avoid overloading your fire with too much wood.  Keep the fire manageable.  In addition here are 3 more tips for a safe fireplace.

1 – Don’t leave a fire burning in the fireplace when you go to sleep.  All it takes is one little spark to create a house fire.

2 – Don’t close the flue in your fireplace until all ambers and smoke is extinguished and out.  Closing it too early can cause dangerous carbon monoxide to spread throughout the house.

3 – Place all ash in a metal container, never in plastic or paper as any live ambers can burn through and create a house fire.

4 – Most important, test and make sure your carbon monoxide detector is operating.  


Warehouseflow Advisors

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










Companies Behaving Badly-FIRE!


Hello all, welcome back and hope you had a nice Thanksgiving.  Each of us have a few words that we respond with an instant reaction of fear and a jolt of adrenalin.  They can be as simple as  “Our next shipment of tickling Elmos is after Christmas”, “That was the last of the wrapping paper” to “I’m late” or “wifi is down”!   The word “FIRE” is another great example of one of those inspirational words that when shouted, creates a flight or fight response in individuals.  For those who have had all that training and drills, it all comes to mind and kicks in, (which really feels good when it does) as you immediately begin to size up the situation and proceed with the next steps you need to take to deal with the fire. Others may just take FLIGHT!  


Now I don’t want you to think there is any thing wrong with taking flight and evacuating upon the outbreak of a fire, it is the correct thing to do in an emergency.  The problem arises when those emergency routes are blocked with boxes of merchandise, equipment and junk made only worse by arriving at a locked emergency exit door.  Imagine the fear and desperation a person experiences when the building is burning and the only way out is locked shut with chains and padlocks.  If you’re lucky, you’ll pass out from the smoke and heat be dead before the flames get to you.  Terrible, isn’t it?  Yet as you will see in the stories below, there are companies out there that seem to have no problem placing their workers and customers in that worst case scenario.  Like they tell you on an airplane, where ever you work, know where the emergency routes and exits are and you should always plan on at least two ways out.  Just in case on of them is blocked by the fire and they should always be clear.  It’s an emergency route not an obstacle course.  

10 Retailers You Should Think Twice About Buying From on Black Friday – Why not patronage a business based on how it treats it’s employees and safety violations.  We’re all horrified when we hear about the working conditions in Asia and other parts of the world, why not our own backyard.  It’s also not just these retailers, General Dollar stores or the U.S. Postal Service that have blocked emergency exits.  I was recently in a local, Bath Bed Beyond and the aisles throughout the store were choked with boxes and carts of merchandise.  If an evacuation was needed, people would have been injured trying to get out pushing through the blockade.   I understand that the holiday season is an important economic event for retailers and you want to push as much product as possible on the floor because you need those numbers and the morons at corporate just don’t want to understand your situation but still send more.  Will all that matter in a courtroom when you’re on trial because one or more people died trying to escape you store during a fire?  No it won’t and corporate will just pay a fine and you’ll be thrown under the bus.  Customers!  When you see this situation, say something to the manager, don’t keep quiet about safety.

Evacuation routes on a grander scale.  Houston Area Jeopardized By Outdated Chemical Transportation Routes – I must confess that I am no longer surprised by the level of incompetence of the leadership operating our cities and states.  The ideas of continually putting things off, like it’ll just go away on its own, and not blow up until I’m retired and then can be righteous and say, “told you so”.   As we have no control over these clowns in the cities we do at our workplace.  Don’t wait until something happens to make changes to procedures, be proactive and review your operation annually.  What’s changed in the last year?  Equipment, new chemicals, storage?  Do the evacuation routes still make sense?  This is also why I firmly believe in THE WALK.  When you walk your facility or warehouse you’ll notice these changes and can correct accordingly.  In fact, if you have a safety committee, members can take turns doing a monthly walk through.  Don’t wait until it’s too late.  


AP: Too quiet on the set; filming accidents often go untold – It’s always interesting to see how groups that share an interest always want to keep things quiet and operate in their own vacuum.  Making movies with lots of stunts and under intolerable conditions, accidents are going to happen but the movie industry is not above health and safety laws and people should no longer keep quiet about safety.  The movie company that produced Star Wars-The Force Awakens was fined in the UK for the accident that broke Harrison Ford’s leg.  In Georgia a camera assistant was killed on location on a train trestle because no one bothered to notify the railroad or check the train schedule.  Don’t let anyone ever tell you to keep quiet about safety or to look the other way.  There is no code to protect except life.

NJ Cleaning Products Manufacturer Exposed Workers To Chem. Hazards – A chemical company that has improperly labeled drums of chemicals being moved by untrained forklift drivers.  What could go wrong?  Luckily an employee realized that and complained to OSHA and during the investigation, the agency found the company: failed to properly label hazardous chemicals; lacked forklift training and maintenance; exposed employees to electrical hazards; lacked guardrails on an open-sided platform six feet above ground level; failed to implement a lock out/tag out system to prevent inadvertent machine start-up and provide employee training; didn’t develop and implement a respiratory protection program, including medical evaluation and employee training for employees required to use respirators; and failed to address exposure to confined space.  Sounds like one big accident waiting to happen.  You have the right to know what chemicals you are working with, the PPE required for safe handling, the effects it can have on you and how to respond to a spill.  Talk about FIRE!

This gem is from a friend, Kyle Thill of Toyota and if you’re in any industry that uses forklifts or other industrial powered vehicles you should be following him on twitter – @ToyotaEquipment   Is Bulldozing a Violation of OSHA Federal Law?   This is great info so you can stop this practice in your facility.  It’s something I never allowed as all to often something gets damaged and even more often it becomes a competition and then someone get hurt.  

That’s all for now folks.  Keeping a workplace safe is not an easy task, but when you get the message out there and hold people accountable it’ll become word.  Listen to your employees, don’t be afraid to make change for the better as long as it’s not for the sake of change.  Never keep quiet about safety for the life you save may be your own.  As you prepare for the upcoming holidays please also don’t forget to take safety home as your home can easily become a house of horrors.