Warehouseflow’s Tip of the Month – November


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This Month’s Tip From WarehouseFlow Advisors-Jun




This Month’s Tip From WarehouseFlow Advisors-MAY



Companies Behaving Badly – Don’t Be a Safety Fool. Fool.


toptenlistoshaOSHA has released their top ten list. (See the whole list here). Not as popular, entertaining or well known as David Letterman’s top ten list and definitely not as funny.  Unfortunately once again the number 1 issued citation continues to be FALLS.  Why? Look in the mirror.  It’s you who actually believes you can do the job without fall protection.  You actually believe nothing bad will happen because you are a man and don’t need no stinkin safety harness cramping your style. Any way you have great balance and agility and well, those things only happen to the other guy. As you continue to use luck and chance as your safety program, one day, your false sense of confidence overrides common sense and a gust of wind hits that 4X8 plywood board just right and suddenly, you’re in flight. If you’re lucky, you’ll snap your neck on impact and die instantly, no pain. Worse, you could just break your spine and spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair full of regret.  As mom used to say, “Just cause the other guys jump off a roof, it doesn’t mean you have to do it.”  You should be offered fall protection gear when working over 6 feet especially when there are no guard rails or other fall preventive barriers in place. ASK FOR IT. Don’t accept that’s not how we do things here. Insist. If they try to challenge your manhood or call you names or fire you for asking, CALL the OSHA national hotline – 800-321-OSHA (6742) and report them. You do not have to die trying to make a living no matter your status. Si usted es amenazado con ser despedido por negarse a trabajar de una manera insegura, llame a la línea nacional OSHA – 800-321-6742 e informar de ellos.Usted no tiene que morir en el intento de ganarse la vida, sin importar su estatus.  Well I do believe that this is unfortunately another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.


Missouri Manufacturer Named a Severe Violator by OSHA after Worker Killed on the Job – PREVENTABLE – A 58 year old maintenance worker believed his employer, Hussmann Corp. would keep him from being crushed to death while working on a scrap metal table.  In reality his employer knew of the hazard but couldn’t care less if anyone was injured or killed as they were found to have 3 Willful and 12 serious safety violations along with a proposed fine of $272,250 and placed in the severe violators program.  They couldn’t be bothered to train their workers on safety procedures, place devices on machinery to prevent sudden startup during LOTO, fix problems related to its LOTO procedures, effective guarding on machines and unsafe practices related to powered industrial trucks.  Don’t understand, since there was a death and willful violation why no one is sitting in a jail cell.  Don’t let anyone tell you not to do a proper LOTO.

OSHA cites U.S. Steel for ‘willful violation’ leading to two deaths in Alabama last year PREVENTABLE – U.S. Steel must have had a flash back to the early 1900’s as they instructed employees to commit a dangerous act that wound up killing Leo Bridges, 61 years old and Edward Bryant, 53 years old and injuring a third. This blatant disregard for human life earned U.S. Steel 1 Willful and 7 serious citations and a proposed fine of $107,900.  I couldn’t put it any better then OSHA, “Management knew that attempting to operate the valve while the furnace was still running placed workers at risk, yet they allowed them to do it because they didn’t want the production line down for hours. This employer chose productivity over the saftey of its workers, and two people died as a result of this decision,”said Ramona Morris, OSHA’s area director in Birmingham.  The person at U.S. Steel who made this decision to keep production going at the cost of human life, in my opinion should be on trial for murder.

Image: <a href="http://www.freedigitalphotos.net"


OSHA: Roofing Contractor Ignored Electrocution Hazards that Killed Worker – PREVENTABLEGreed is an awful virus that infects some companies to the point where they couldn’t care less what happens to their workers on the job and Kolek Woodshop Inc. is an example of that kind of company.  Their employee, Andrew “CK” Sakala Jr. was given an aluminum ladder to use while performing his tasks which happened to be very near a 7,200 volt power line, a hazard his employers knew about. His aluminum ladder came in contact with the power line conducting the electricity, killing him. However Kolek’s stupidity doesn’t end there as three days later, they sent another worker to finish the job Sakala Jr. had started and they exposed him to the same hazardous conditions that killed Sakala.  OSHA issued 1 Willful and 4 Serious citations and a proposed fine of $67,900.  The willful was issued for sending the second worker into the same hazards and they also found that they didn’t offer ladders with nonconductive side rails that would have prevented electrocution.  They also erected an aluminum scaffold too close to the power line, exposed roofing workers removing shingles to fall hazards and failed to train employees.  All that costs money and cuts into profits you know.

OSHA fines Dollar General $83,000 for ‘serious’ violations – PREVENTABLE – Don’t know what’s going on at Dollar General stores, but it appears they don’t spend any money on a corporate training program as quite a few of their stores have had violations found over the years.  In fact, since 2009 they have received more than 40 violations. This time one of their stores in Atlanta was found to have 3 Repeat safety violation and a proposed fine of $83,050 for blocked exits, locked exits and blocked electrical panels.  Dollar General issued a statement, “Dollar General is committed to providing a safe work environment for its employees and safe shopping experience for its customers. As such, Dollar General employs a number of policies, procedures and training programs to continually educate store teams to promote and facilitate a safe and welcoming environment.”  However Dollar General, there is a BIG difference between employing policies and procedures and enforcing them. You can have all the procedures in the world but if the corporate culture doesn’t support a safety program it’s just talk and they talk the talk but can’t walk the walk.

OSHA Finds Safety Violations at Fairfield Bowl – PREVENTABLE – Dave Geiger, a 53 year old employee at Fairfield Bowling Alley had no idea he would die that day.  He was probably doing what he did every day, unfortunately this time he may have been concentrating on a repair and forgot about the unguarded moving machine parts.  Imagine the horror he experienced the last few minutes of his life as his hooded sweatshirt got caught in a pinsetter and he slowly chocked to death.  The following investigation by OSHA turned up 8 Serious safety violations and a proposed fine of $45,500.  In addition to the lack of proper guarding of moving machine parts they did not have a plan to prevent the machinery from operating while employees performed maintenance.  They didn’t have a LOTO program. You do not have to operate any machinery with exposed moving parts and don’t accept the excuse the machinery is old and there are no guards for it. That’s a lie. There are plenty of companies that can fashion proper guards.

OSHA probe into Wallingford chemical spill finds ‘serious’ violations – PREVENTABLE – When ever, where ever you work and chemicals are involved, even just moving chemicals in sealed containers, you should receive training on what to do if there is a spill and what kind of PPE you need to use.  If they don’t do this they don’t care about you.  R+L Carriers Shared Services LLC’s terminal in Wallingford had a chemical spill when a drum of tetrahyrofuran, a highly flammable liquid was punctured.  The following investigation found 2  Repeat and 4 Serious safety violations along with a proposed fine of $86,900.  It turns out that the employees did not know how to evaluate the hazards involved, the appropriate PPE to wear and not trained on the procedure to contain a spill safely or as first responders because management lacked an emergency response plan.  Why waste time training what to do in an emergency?  This is not the first time either as OSHA found similar hazards at the Chicago terminal in 2011 but apparently the message didn’t get through to upper management.

Des Moines post office fined for defective forklift and tugs – PREVENTABLE – The U.S. Postal Service is an inept, obsolete and a poorly operated company that is totally devoid of leadership.  If they were a real company they’d be in bankruptcy and closed by now.  They have been cited several times by OSHA at facilities across the nation for putting workers in harms way.  You’d think a quasi-government agency would know better.  This time at the Des Moines main post office an employee had enough and called OSHA with a complaint.  The equipment they had a forklift and 2 tuggers were unsafe to operate but still were allowed to be used by management.  This little lapse in common sense is going to cost the USPS $49,500.  If management can’t be bothered to get the equipment you need to do the job repaired, don’t operate the equipment.  It’s unsafe.  You know damn well if you still operate it and wind up in an accident and injuring another employee the companies lawyer is going to throw you under the bus and ask you why you used it if it was unsafe.  A good manager would have taken care of this issue immediately instead of letting it fester like this.  Very poor leadership when you send mixed messages on safety.  One day you tell the employees don’t do unsafe acts and then the next you tell them it’s o.k. to use unsafe equipment.

Toy firm and builder in court over warehouse roof death – UNITED KINGDOM – A Lancashire based toy distributor and a builder have been sentenced after a worker plunged to his death through a warehouse roof.  He was not given any fall protection gear and now it’s jail time. Read the story.

API: DOE crude-by-rail report highlights importance of accident prevention & Facts, Science Must Guide Rail Safety Improvements RAIL SAFETY – This is a big issue especially if you live in a town that these trains travel through or may soon be passing through.  Can we really trust our infrastructure and can rail cars be improved?  Read both articles and then I’d be curious what you think?

Roofing company puts safety first – DOING IT RIGHT – There are companies out there who understand that their employees are their most important asset and taking the time to do proper safety training works.  Korellis Roofing is one of those companies and a great example of doing it right!

Well my friends, that brings another episode of Companies Behaving Badly to a close.  Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read the articles.  Please feel free to use any or all of these examples at your next safety tailgate/toolbox meeting and would greatly appreciate it if you’d just mention you found them at witzshared.com.  It is said that a company safety program works well as long as the CEO in the boardroom to the maintenance worker in the plant participate and commit fully to the program.  As true as that is, I can also tell you from fact that you can be the lone voice of safety in your company, plant or warehouse and commit to keeping those who work for you safe and that means catching people doing the right thing and reward and commend them but that also means those who you find violate the safety rules have to be called out on it and face the consequences.  I would pay for a lunch out of my own pocket to reward a safe worker and I found the time to write up reprimands when needed.  I have turned workers from both sides into safety disciples.  I would take flack from my own staff sometimes wanting to know why other shifts didn’t have to follow the rules like they did.  I told them because I cared more.  I would take flack from other supervisors or managers who called me a showboat or kiss ass.  Didn’t care what they thought, I knew I was doing the right thing and that along felt real good. Eventually our safety program grew from the warehouse up to the corporate level.  It wasn’t overnight but the change was subtle until everyone was doing it right.  Workplace safety won’t work without YOU!  Until next time my friends, take care and remember the life you save could be your own.




5 Steps For a Successful Peak Season – STEP 4

As we had learned in step 3 – Training, even though it is listed as the third step, it is still an extremely important detail to a successful peak season. With that said, this next step, safety is not only just as equally important as training but in fact, they go together hand in hand.  Safety is always a challenge in the workplace but then add in temporary workers and getting them to buy-in to your safety program is even more of a challenge.  Then, if that’s not enough include young workers, ages 15-24 and it will be a trial by fire.  Even if the temporaries receive safety training through the temp agency, you’ll need to reinforce it even further through your own safety orientation including clearly spelling out the consequences of not following safety rules including those infractions that’ll get them escorted off the premises immediately. (Please note for the purpose of clarity in this article, when I speak of safety I’m also including sanitation as cleanliness is part of safety.)

STEP 4 – Safety

To help make this more manageable for you and easily digestible for temp workers, break safety down into different levels/categories of skills and knowledge.

General safety for all (orientation) – this is safety information you want everyone to know.  Evacuation plan including route and assembly area; type of signal used to alert of emergencies (do you use bells, horns, whistles, etc.); required wear needed to be in the general area like appropriate clothing, hairnets, beard-nets and other general P.P.E. like bump caps, safety glasses, steel toe shoes and ear plugs; use of pedestrian ways;  cell phone use while working; keeping work area free of clutter and debris;  where to place cardboard, plastic and other trash; not using boxes and product in lower racks as stepping stools to reach upper racks; how to report an accident, dealing with liquid spills or other hazards; signage; do not touch let alone operate any machinery or equipment without being cleared to do so by management.  I know temp agencies want their people to report accidents to them but I’ve always insisted that they tell us immediately first so we are aware of any issues or hazards and can ensure proper treatment quickly.

Specific safety  – this would focus on the area and type of work the temp has been assigned and what equipment they’ll be using.  Use of tuggers, forklifts, manual and electric pallet jacks and other vehicles are always a safety concern. Take the time to watch them in action after their training is completed.  For minor concerns coaching will help greatly but I strongly reccommend a zero tolerance when it comes to horseplay or willful acts by temporary employees.   Another specific area would be use of the compactor and banding of bales for recycling.  Only trained temporaries should be allowed near the machine if it is so decided.  Even if someone says they had previous experience using the equipment, still make sure they’re properly trained by your standards before being allowed to operate it.  Step ladders, stairways, mezzanines and any other means of travel within the building should also be a safety concern.  Don’t take it for granted that temporary employees know how to use those modes properly and that they fully understand any associated hazards.  I worked in a large plant that used man-lifts to get up and down the 9 stories.  We had an outside contractor come in for a construction project who the company assumed knew how to use the man-lift.  He tried to save time and bring his tools along on the man-lift and fell, breaking his ankles, wrist and ribs. If they will they be working near Conveyor belts, again make sure they’re aware of the associated hazards and know where emergency shutoff buttons are located and how to use.  Will they be operating mechanical pallet dispensers, shrink wrap machines, they need to know and understand L.O.T.O. for dealing with jams or who they need to contact and how.


Bottom line, for a successful peak season look at each job a temporary employee will do as if it’s you first time and see if there are hazards lying in wait and don’t assume they’ll recognize the hazards on their own.  When you clearly communicate like with anything else, most workers will learn and comply but you will also find those gems out there who’ll keep you on your toes.  I once had a temporary worker, trying to impress me with his enthusiasm, climb up the side of 5 levels of racking like an acrobat to retrieve an item off the top. Needless to say I was not amused.

Next installment – STEP 5 – Leadership

Companies Behaving Badly – It’s a Virus of Course




It must be a virus!  How else can you explain all the falls that are still going on.  As of September 6th. 2014 – 1,296 workers died due to their job this fiscal year.  In 2013 Falls were the most cited violation in the construction industry as 294 died due to falls (36.9% of all 796 deaths in construction).  It must be the virus that keeps us from leaning from past experience as fall protection is still the #1 OSHA violation as 6,143 have been issued so far.  So let’s stop the madness. It is so easy to buy fall protection gear, you can even get it online from Grainger. Stop making excuses and you workers, why do you listen to idiots that tell you it’s O.K. to work without fall protection.  You know they’re called ACCIDENTS for a reason, not on purposes.  You don’t know if a gust of wind is going to hit that sheet of plywood and push you or if you will slip on someones spilled coffee.  If you are forced to work in unsafe conditions and no one in management is listening, you can go to the OSHA website and file a complaint online or call OSHA at1-800-321-OSHA.  Well unfortunately, this sounds like another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.

A continuación se presentan los pasos para ponerse en contacto con OSHA para presentar una queja. Sé que la realidad es que la mayoría de ustedes no tienen máquinas de fax para presentar una queja y lo hago encontrar este paso ridículo. Llame al número 800 – la vida es demasiado importante. No deje que los jefes se aprovechen de ti. Usted tiene los derechos para un lugar de trabajo seguro.Éstas son las opciones para presentar su queja de seguridad y salud:

1. Online – Ir a la línea Formulario de Quejas Las quejas escritas que están firmadas por los trabajadores o sus representantes y presentados a un área de OSHA o la oficina regional tienen más probabilidades de resultar en inspecciones de OSHA. Las quejas recibidas en la línea de los trabajadores en los estados de plan estatal aprobado por OSHA serán enviadas al plan estatal apropiado.
2. Descargar y Fax / Correo – Descargue el formulario de queja de OSHA * [En Espanol *] (o solicitar una copia a la oficina local de área de OSHA regional o), completarlo y enviarlo por fax o por correo de vuelta a su OSHA regional o local de servicios Oficina. Las quejas por escrito que están firmados por un trabajador o representante y presentadas a la Oficina de Área de OSHA más cercano tienen más probabilidades de resultar en inspecciones de OSHA. Por favor, incluya su nombre, dirección y número de teléfono para que podamos contactar con usted para dar seguimiento. Esta información es confidencial.
3. Teléfono – su oficina local de OSHA local o regional. Personal de OSHA puede discutir su queja y responder a cualquier pregunta que tengas. Si hay una emergencia o el peligro es potencialmente mortal, llame a su oficina local de OSHA local o regional o al 1-800-321-OSHA.

Security Guard Killed on the Set of ‘Falling Skies’ – PREVENTABLE – A horrible accident that could have been prevented as Amrik Singh Gill, a security guard on a television production site was pinned against a tree as a unattended 5-ton truck sitting on a slight slope, slide down, killing him. The truck driver should have know better than to leave his vehicle like that.  As with forklifts if you are going to be out of sight of the vehicle make sure it is correctly parked. Engine off, break on, forks down.  Do it the same way every time, make it a habit for life.

Forklift accident in Edmond leaves two dead, one injured – PREVENTABLE – Two brothers, Michael Birney, 56, and Daniel Birney, 54 were killed when the forklift supporting their elevated platform tipped over and crashed to the ground.  A third person, a 21 years old male was severely injured and is in the hospital.  They were moving decking tile when the accident occurred.  The investigation is currently in progress, but forklifts tip over when the maximum weight capacity is exceeded and/or not used on a level surface.  Always check the manufacturers plate for the weight limits at various heights before using and if there is no plate tag the vehicle out of service and report it.

Man crushed to death in forklift accident near Tampa – PREVENTABLE – Ricardo McCalop, 51, an employee of Infra-Metals owned by Reliance Steel & Aluminum, was near the end of his shift and looking forward to spending time with his family when the forklift he was driving overturned and crushed him.  He was moving a steel beam when it struck a pile of other beams causing them to shift and hit the forklift knocking it over.  Why you would allow workers to operate in an area of such tight quarters is beyond me, it’s just an accident waiting to happen.  Don’t set your employees up for failure.

Company fined $70k for forklift death – PREVENTABLE – Even in New Zealand they know a forklift in need of repairs should NOT be used as Busck Prestressed Concrete Ltd was convicted in District Court for the death of 47 year old employee, Anthony Wells.  Busck Ltd. in all their glorious stupidity allowed a modified 6.5 tonne telehandler operate in service even though the headlights, front indicators, brake lights, front hazard lights, horn, screen washers and front wipers were NOT WORKING in addition to having a missing right mirror and 4 different brands of tires, each with a different tire pressure!  As if this wasn’t enough of a recipe for disaster they also had a trainee with NO formal qualifications operate the vehicle!  Because of their arrogance in allowing this machine to operate Anthony Wells was hit and killed in the early hours of February 25th and now they were ordered to pay a fine of $70,000 and pay reparation of $60,000 for a total of $130,000.  The repairs would have been much less. Do NOT operate a forklift or any vehicle that is in need of repairs even if someone in management tells you it’s o.k.  If they threaten your job for refusal to drive a death trap call OSHA!!

OSHA investigates forklift accident at P&G distribution center PREVENTABLE – In the early afternoon of a Friday an employee of the Procter & Gamble D.C. in Pennsylvania was seriously injured when he was trapped between a forklift and a shelving unit.  OSHA is currently investigating the accident but my suspicion is that the forklift driver didn’t look before backing up and/or the worker didn’t alert the driver he was behind him.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a forklift driver just quickly slip into reverse and move without so much as a glance to see if the area is clear.  It’s like the same morons who just pull out into traffic from a parked position without first signaling and looking to see if traffic is clear. Why would you think you are the only one out there?  If your warehouse doesn’t have specific walkways for employees to use to avoid forklifts or other vehicular traffic you are just delaying the inevitable.

Cal/OSHA fines UC Berkeley $26,000 in death of custodian – PREVENTABLE – Even in the environment of a great institution of higher learning where some of the greatest minds have been taught, common sense can still be lacking.  Damon Frick, 45 was busy cleaning windows when the lift he was using collapsed under him and he fell 22 feet and later died from his injuries at Highland Hospital.  Mr. Frick had assembled the lift by himself before using and if one of his supervisors had bothered to check in with him and his work maybe he’d still be alive today but then, they even allowed him operate at that height ALONE!  The University was quick to cover their butt by showing they had documentation he was fully trained, back on March 12, 2012 on a piece of equipment that’s used once a year. There was no refresher training conducted in-between or practice and you have no idea how ironic this is since Berkeley is also the home of Continued Education where courses for Lawyers, Doctors and other professionals are offered so they can keep up to date on practices and procedures.  This is now costing UC Berkeley $26,250 for ineffective training, improperly assembled equipment, no documentation of safety inspections, maintenance records as well as no operating instructions on the lift.

OSHA cites MCM Industries Co. for serious violations – PREVENTABLE – It takes a lot to finally push an employee to make a complaint to OSHA.  Usually the final straw is when they realize the company isn’t going do anything about an obvious hazard and that’s what MCM Industries Company was doing.  In fact when OSHA conducted their inspection they found 23 violations including 1 WILLFUL which you know means they knew about the problem but couldn’t care less about fixing it.  Workers who help these owners and bosses to earn money on their sweat were exposed to amputation injuries from lack of required guards on mechanical power presses.  Hey boss, how about we put some amputation hazards under you desk.  Think you can still concentrate on your job?  They also received 17 serious violations including, surprise, surprise, no L.O.T.O. procedures and for all this a proposed fine of only $126,700.  I strongly feel that if you demonstrate indifference to human life with a willful violation we should be talking million dollar fines and/or jail time.


Condiment Maker Faces $235,000 in OSHA Fines – PREVENTABLE – Again, an inspection initiated by an employee complaint from an employee in the Brundidge, Alabama facility of Supreme Oil Company of New Jersey. This worker understood the hazards as OSHA found 8 repeat violations, having been found previously in a 2012 inspection for no guardrails on staircases and open-sided platforms, wet floors, untrained workers in L.O.T.O. In addition the company exposed workers to struck-by, amputation and electrical hazards.  A total of 14 violations for a total of $234,960 in fines. It is so sad when companies care about profits more than employee’s lives.

OSHA cites Canton aluminum plant for safety violations – PREVENTABLE – Here is a third case of an employee finally seeing enough and calling OSHA and filing a complaint and this time 2 Willful violations were found along with 1 repeat and 2 serious for a grand total of $130,200. The name of this company who couldn’t care less if an employee was maimed or killed on the job is Matalco U.S. Inc. and they had no problem exposing workers to amputation hazards and failing to remove a crane with broken safety mechanisms out of service. Can you believe that?!  They knew if there was an emergency and a worker went to shut it off it wouldn’t! They also exposed workers falls of more than 23 feet over an open pit.  The best is during their inspection, OSHA actually observed workers standing on aluminum blocks and elevated by a forklift to perform tasks on the furnace exposing them to falls at least 8 feet.  They are now in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program but again I believe larger fines and jail time sound appropriate for this owners and bosses.

Want to save over 3 Billion dollars this week?: The Importance of Workplace Safety – READ THIS – Great article in the National Law Review on how workplace safety can be done and save money while increasing pride amongst your workers.

10 easy, low-cost solutions for warehouse safety – READ THIS – Safety.BLR.com has a great article on low cost solutions for improving safety.  This is awesome information for you small businesses.

OSHA Announces Final Rule On Recording Requirements – CHANGES – New recording requirements become effective January 1st. 2015. All work related fatalities must be reported including work related inpatient hospitalizations of one or more employees and all work related amputations and all work related losses of an eye. Read and see what are changes will take place.  Make sure you are compliant.

Changes to OSHA Law are Coming to California – CHANGES – Also beginning January 1st. 2015 CAL/OSHA has some significant changes putting more of the burden on the employer and reducing the ability of CAL/OSHA to make modifications to civil penalties.


That my friends brings another episode of Companies Behaving Badly to a close.  As always I want to thank you for taking time out of your busy day, stopping by and reading this blog.  Please feel free to share these incidents at your next tailgate/toolbox safety meeting.  The more information your employees have the better job they can accomplish.  Be active on your company safety committee and if you don’t have one start one, it’s easy to do.  Speak to your supervisor or H.R. department.  You do not have to work in unsafe conditions and no one can force you to do an unsafe act.  Don’t wait until someone dies, report unsafe acts to OSHA.  Remember the life you save may be your own.  Until we see you again on October 15 – take care.




5 Steps For a Successful Peak Season – STEP 3

Even though this is presented as the 3rd step in the series, you should never under estimate the impact of training on your operation as it is a very critical element. Training as with communication works best when it’s delivered consistently, concise and with conviction. This goes for all types of training from forklift certification to safety meetings to emergency evacuation procedures. If you treat training as a joke, that’s how it’ll be perceived and what you’ll get. This is your opportunity to set the tone in your house.

STEP 3 – Training

You know what jobs you’re filling with the temporary workers, now gather all the written procedures, SOP, descriptions and policies that cover those jobs and any other pertinent company policies and prepare your training plan. It is extremely important to have this information on hand and readily available not to mention a great habit to develop, reviewing and/or updating job descriptions, procedures and as well as conducting a hazard analysis at least once a year to keep your workers safe, practices current and regulatory obligations filled. Get your stuff printed and assembled and rehearse giving the training. Decide what kind of handouts, videos, power-points or other media you’ll use in your presentation. Don’t forget to include checklists, PPE that’s required and how to properly wear it, what materials are recycled or tossed, procedures on reporting and handling of spills, injuries, forklift use, sanitation and even include breaks and lunch periods. This is also a great way to get your staff involved in the training by having them demonstrate how to wear PPE or do a LOTO or any thing else you want to show.

Depending on your location it may also be a big help if you had the training material translated into the predominate language of the temporary workers. Some workers may speak english much easier than they can read it and this is information you want to make sure you get across. Remember, even though these are temporary workers they are still human beings and should be treated with the same respect as anyone else. I was the day shift manager at one place where my boss the D.C. manager would send temps home for extremely minor offenses as he patrolled the time clock area like a mad hen protecting her nest. Barking out their infraction as he pulled their time card and told them to go home. I would cringe with each one, “Your a minute late, go home”, “your shirt is not tucked in, go home.” It drove me nuts trying to plan the day while losing staff even before the shift began. Needless to say as he continued his campaign for crimes that were never explained upfront let alone written down anywhere he also sabotaged our relationship with the temp agency. Don’t ever hesitate to run your operation the way you see fit but make sure to be up front with workers and explain the rules clearly including the consequences if the rules are not followed but make sure they’re reasonable and not unattainable. One last comment on respecting all temporary workers. Even if their first language isn’t english that doesn’t mean they are any less intelligent and you never know who’ll surprise you with a great idea to save time and money for the operation.



Make sure to document all training by using a sign-in sheets and make sure all employees attending sign to acknowledge their attendance, attach copies of the training material used for that meeting and keep for your records. Well trained employees do impact your bottom line and can lead to a well executing, sustainable workforce.

Next installment – STEP 4 – Safety

Companies Behaving Badly – Labor of Love

witzshared & p>Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

witzshared & p>Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”Confucious

“A mind always employed is always happy.  This is the true secret, the grand recipe, for felicity.”Thomas Jefferson

Happy Labor Day.  It is an awesome feeling to be happy at work and enjoy what you are doing especially since like the quote says, it doesn’t feel like work at all.  There is no reason that everyone can’t be happy at work.  It’s all in the attitude.  Attitude towards your job, attitude towards workplace safety, attitude towards teamwork and life.  It’s attitude that has helped change how companies look at workplace safety and just as much your responsibility that it stays a safe workplace.  When you look at the earliest workplace fatality records, (Allegheny County, Pennsylvania) for July 1906 to June 1907 it is astounding to see that 526 workers died due to industrial accidents in ONE county!  It is estimated that in 1912, 18,000 – 21,000 workers died from work related injuries and in 1913 the Bureau of Labor Statistics documented 23,000 industrial deaths.  Thanks to common sense, attitude, knowledge and hard work with unions, state and federal regulators and the positive attitude of workers, the numbers have been greatly reduced however as of July 26, 2014 – 1,098 workers died on the job this fiscal year. Speaking of workplace fatalities, this unfortunately must be another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.

   via Ann Marie Powers

via Ann Marie Powers

Bothell man dies as a result of forklift accident at Lynnwood business – PREVENTABLE – Chuck Lee a 69 year old was walking through a parking lot on a Monday morning when he was struck by a forklift as well as a case of items that fell of the forklift pallet.  The forklift was driven by an employee of Goodwill who stated he saw something in front of his machine and slammed on his brakes.  Mr. Lee died the next day as a result of drastic spine fractures and blunt injury of the head and torso.  When you drive a forklift you need to have a full view of what’s ahead.  Your head should be moving left to right and back while scanning with your eyes especially in an area where they is no clear path for pedestrians to follow. If your load blocks your vision then drive backwards.  Not ALL civilians know how to deal with forklifts and unfortunately Mr. Lee may have assumed the forklift saw him and would stop.  The investigators will check on the driver’s forklift training records but a license doesn’t mean safe driver.  As part of your walk of the floor you should always watch drivers operating on the floor and give appropriate feedback in private when needed.

Retailer to pay nearly $1M following compactor fatality. – PREVENTABLE – In 2009 Roy Polanco a 65 year old worker at a Macy’s warehouse had no idea the cardboard bailer he was operating had been modified not to shut down once the cycle was engaged.  He found this out after he fell into the bailer through a unguarded section and while his screams were probably short as his body was being crushed he was also decapitated.  Any machine or piece of heavy equipment should NEVER be modified without the guidance and approval of the manufacturer.  Then after any modifications on equipment employees need to be re-trained on the modifications made. Anyone, be it CEO, manager or fellow worker who tells you it’s o.k. to disconnect any emergency stop is insane and should be avoided, in fact anyone who orders and carries out this action that results in an employee death should be on trial for murder.

Cal/OSHA $77,250 Fine For Tug Driver’s Death Highlights Importance Of Ramp Safety Compliance – PREVENTABLE – Cesar Valenzuela a 51 year old ramp worker employed by Menzies Aviation was killed when his tug hit a curb and threw him out of the vehicle. Like cars and forklifts, tugs are required to have seat belts as well, which means they’re their to be used and not as a vehicle ornament.  However Cesar couldn’t use the seat belt even if he wanted too since according to the findings of the investigation the tug had no working seat belt and in fact stated Menzies aviation didn’t think it important enough to require their workers to use those seat belts in fact they discouraged their use.  What’s even more frustrating about this needless death is that a reminder alert about using seat belts was issued in 2012 when another ground worker died in Atlanta when thrown from his vehicle.  When safety equipment is installed it’s there for a reason, use it and if someone tells you otherwise, you’re a fool for listening.  You are mortal after all.



Two injured in forklift accident at Highland Rim Speedway – PREVENTABLE – Basic forklift safety teaches you never to raise someone up on the forks of a lift and that stability lessens the higher and more forward they are raised as two gentlemen found out first hand at the Highland Rim Speedway when their extended forklift tipped over injuring both.  As long as you use a forklift for what it was designed to handle, operate in specified areas only, don’t exceed its weight limits and observe posted speed limits you should have no worries operating one. It’s common sense.

1 injured after forklift tips while unloading merchandise – PREVENTABLE – Meanwhile in Calgary, Canada, a forklift operator unloading heavy merchandise off a trailer sustained minor injuries when thrown from his vehicle when it tipped over.  The trailer unit he was unloading also tipped forward and had to be stabilized before the forklift operator could be rescued.  Again people, make sure you know the forklifts weight capacities before unloading any trailer and make sure the trailer is stabilized properly to avoid tip overs.  Also make sure to wear that seat belt, in the event of a tip over you don’t want to get thrown off and possibly wind up under the 8000 pound forklift.

Hefty fines for forklift accident – PREVENTABLE – In New Zealand forklift accidents are an issue as well. The latest news is 3 companies were fined for a total of $140,000 for the broken ankle and severe gash Erica Machado received when she was hit by forklift that suddenly backed up as she was packing kiwi fruit.  The 3 companies operating and working with the packing plant, LRK Trays Ltd, Mount Pack and Cool Ltd were found not to do enough to protect their workers from this type of accident so each was fined $39,375 in addition to $20,000 in reparation to Ms. Machado.  People need to respect forklifts and forklifts need to have assigned areas to operate within.  Mixing them together is a recipe for disaster.

Worker injured at Western Sugar Plant, OSHA investigating – PREVENTABLE – Yet another accident has occurred at a Western Sugar plant. While employees were cleaning the inside of a drying cylinder, they did so in the confidence and trust that management had ensured a proper LOTO.  That is until sugar began falling and filling the cylinder as the heavy hot sugar hit one worker and pushed his head forward between his legs, injuring him.  The other workers scrambled and were able to pull him free from under the accumulating sugar since he had followed proper procedure and had a tag line on him. This was a serious break down in internal communication since someone either removed the LOTO to soon or they didn’t have one in place or production somehow sent it over to soon.  You need to protect your workers operating in a confined space and make sure everyone is free and clear before allowing any production to proceed.  I would begin a round of re-training before someone dies.



Lawyer: Dickey’s Barbecue in Utah Had Another Chemical Burn – PREVENTABLE – This incident is a reminder as to why training of employees is so important and why proper labeling of all containers is critical especially in any food service operation.  Before a customer drank tea laced with a chemical cleaning compound at Dickey’s Barbecue and almost died an employee had burned her tongue earlier on the same substance when she tested the content of a sugar container to make sure it was free of the cleaning compound. At that point you’d think that management should have been aware there was a problem and inspected everything.  This is were leadership is so critical to an operation.  Not in the daily routine but the out of ordinary things that may pop up and need attention.  The chemical first got into the container when an employee trying to top off the sugar bucket poured in cleaning product.  Again, this is due to lack of training and lack of leadership.

Hamburg contractor faces $56,400 in OSHA fines – PREVENTABLE – Employees of Kevin Burke Home Improvement were found on site by an OSHA inspector working on a roof and scaffolding without wearing fall protection and were told to stop work until proper fall protection was given to all workers as needed. You’d think a company would think wow we really should do better than that, NOT!  The OSHA inspector returned the next day to find workers yet again working without fall protection gear and so was issued 7 violations, 2 of which were willful, which means that Kevin Burke Home Improvement couldn’t care less if one of their workers fell off the roof. The proposed penalty is $56,400

Death on the Job – Dallas Morning News analysis of federal data – “on average a Texas worker is 12% more likely to be killed on the job than someone doing the same job elsewhere.”  Recently Texas has been trying to steal companies from other states by offering tax incentives and other promises.  Possible the lack of safety may be one reason.  Read the report.

Feds slam California over Cal/OSHA – SIGN OF THE TIMES – Once upon a time CalOSHA had a dream of being the best at keeping the workers of California safe. In fact, their laws and enforcement was second to none and a notch better than OSHA itself.  But after years of budget deficits and the retreading of termed out politicians into state agencies and you wind up with the current sad state of affairs, lacking inspectors and lacking leadership.

Job-related accidents kill 1,100 in 7 months – TURKEY – The number of industrial accidental deaths has gotten out of hand in Turkey to the point that there is an average of 4 workers dying per day.  As the trade unions make the public aware of these statistics and try to work with the government for protection, it will not change anytime soon with the absence of workplace safety regulation enforcement.

MOM Brands Utah Manufacturing Facility Earns Prestigious OSHA SHARP Award For Safety Management Excellence – BRAVO – Yet another company proves it can be done and still respect the bottom line.

Outdoor Rubber Stair Tread – NEW PRODUCT – Do you have unsafe outdoor stairs?  Musson outdoor rubber stair treads, made from recycled rubber may be the answer.


That my friends brings this episode of Companies Behaving Badly to a close.  Please feel free to use these examples at your next safety tailgate/toolbox meeting. There are many facets to a safe workplace and one of them is YOU!  You are just as responsible for a safe workplace as is the company and management.  You can refuse to do an unsafe act, you can insist that LOTO is done before you stick your limbs into a machine and you can insist on the proper P.P.E.  Your manhood will be challenged for not sticking you neck out and being a team player but a man knows better than to place your life on a sucker bet.  Remember, gears & machines can break your bones but names will never harm you or put you in E.R.  Be a safety advocate at work, keep up the good attitude, stay safe for the life that you save may be your own.  Until September 15th.

5 Steps For a Successful Peak Season – STEP 2


Now that you have Staffing under control, (SEE STEP 1) you can focus your attention on the next important step, storage. Seasonal items are always an interesting collection of flavors, (pumpkin, eggnog, gingerbread and peppermint), new and unusual food products, new electronics and premiere of other household goods, all making their annual appearance. The good news is many of these incoming sku are only temporary items for the season and will be moving fast over a short period of time.


Depending on the orientation of your warehouse or facility cross-docking is a great way to temporarily store product without taking up valuable storage space in the racks. Cross-docking is basically taking product coming in and instead of putting it away into storage just keep it on the loading dock for shipping that day or the next. Begin by looking at upcoming shipments a few days out and the quantities needed and then look at the receiving appointments and quantities coming in. If you’re using a WMS you should be able to flag those incoming purchase orders so the product stays on the dock after being received for immediate shipping whether you’re loading your own trucks or preparing for shipping LTL. If you’re in a strictly Manufacturing environment, most orders especially in food manufacturing are made to order. As the order is produced especially those seasonal ones and brought to shipping, place them right on the dock and ship them out. Be sure to set up locations in WMS for holding the product on the dock so everyone is aware the items are for orders shipping. It also doesn’t hurt to have pre-made labels handy to place on the pallets also alerting everyone to what they are and how they’re shipping.

Renting/leasing trailers is another storage alternative however the down side is sometimes things get lost. Don’t lose track of what you have out there and stay on top of it. Give the trailer an assigned location, (usually the trailer number so you can find it) and an accurate inventory of it’s contents. There is nothing worse then having a yard full of trailers and not knowing which one has what you’re looking for. If possible keep only one sku in a trailer and if you store 2 sku keep them on opposite sides of the trailer from each other since you don’t want to have to move product to get to other items behind them. The chance of damages greatly increases the more you move them. If you need to keep things cool, refrigerated trailers are also available for rental but don’t recommend them for extended period of time since fuel usage will add to the cost of operation.



Even if you are a small operation and can’t do either of the above another fallback to help you with storage is to place the extreme fast moving items in large bays closest to the loading dock. If need be double the number of bays used to hold more product for picking and shipping to reduce the number of replenishments needed. If you load full pallets keep them above the bay you chose as a pick location for quick retrieval. If your product is not perishable and you have good weather as well as a secured parking lot you can store product outside and remember as I said before, set up temporary locations in your WMS and don’t lose sight of inventory.

You can also pay someone else to hold and ship your product. A third party logistic (3PL) operation can store and ship orders directly to your customers from their location for cents per case per day or what ever agreement you make. You just need to make sure they have a continuous supply of your product and hope they care about it as much as you do as well as have a very good inventory control system in place.

No matter how many items you need to store and move in your warehouse, never compromise safety no matter how crowded things get. Don’t ever use pedestrian walkways for storage of product as this only forces people out of using a protective area and right into the flow of traffic and a possible accident. Don’t put product in the aisle-ways or block pick areas and storage racks with product. Why slow down your staff and make them squeeze around stacked pallets of product with their lifts or riding forks and it is more likely to lead to increased damages and make moving items off the upper racks very difficult and dangerous. Above all don’t ever block emergency exits, electrical panels and fire extinguishers even for a short period of time. Those are bad habits you never want to get into.

Next installment STEP III – Training


5 Steps For a Successful Peak Season – STEP 1

It’s the beginning of August, those lovely dog days of summer, it’s hot, it’s slow at work and folks are away on vacations. However this is not the time to kick back and relax since before you know it, the seasonal rush for goods and services will be upon you and your warehouse will be fully engaged as the home entertaining season begins with Halloween and then right on through Thanksgiving to Christmas and the New Year. Will you be ready to handle those peak season orders? Chances are if you don’t already have a plan or working on one right now you may not be prepared to keep those service levels your customers are expecting.

When business peaks you will be challenged by staffing issues, storage space limitations, increased number of orders to process, increased demands on equipment usage all while maintaining worker safety and sanitation standards. It sounds like a lot to deal with but this all can be handled expertly and professionally. First let’s break this down into steps and examine each one more closely.


This is when having established a great rapport with your sales and marketing departments comes in handy. You can always get a good idea on the projections of units to be sold or manufactured during the peak season from them. Also find out what seasonal products will be available during this period and the duration, what other pricing specials and the anticipated movement as well as any other promos or combination promos or brand new items. Some customers like and are offered to buy mixed pallets of goods for promotions. A great example for around the holidays would be a promotion with a mixed pallet of light brown, dark brown and powered sugars, or in the summer a mix of catsup, mustard and pickle relish. This is important since you’ll need to plan on labor to build the projected number of pallets needed. If you’re not on a sales/marketing distribution list just ask to be added.

Now you can begin to determine your staffing needs and whether you may be able to handle the seasonal rush by going with your current staffing level and working extra hours or shifts. This is not a bad solution but be careful not to push people to far as increased work hours can lead to fatigue and an increased number of accidents. Another issue to consider if you do go this route is the tendency to sacrifice housekeeping and sanitation when it gets busy. Don’t allow it to happen since it’ll become another thorn as again the incident of accidents can increase due to trips and falls. Also consider the increased hours of usage on the equipment and the associated maintenance and charging times. Nothing worse than people standing around because the equipment is down or charging.

However, if you decide you do need additional staffing, first determine what jobs are they going to do? Picking orders, packaging, replenishments, sweep? Speak to your regular staff and get their input on where help would be most beneficial. How much training do you want to do and how. What skill level do you want in the workers? Using a temporary employment agency to place seasonal employees will greatly help with staffing but don’t put all your eggs in one basket and work with at least 2 different agencies. Get to know your representatives at the temp agency and invite them to a tour of your facility so they can see first hand the various kinds of jobs and working conditions. Make sure to give a very thorough job description along with percentages of bending, stooping, standing, and so on in a typical 8 hour day along with the estimated weights of items that will be handled. Also supply the temp agency a copy of your safety standards that all your employees get during orientation, and other policies on attendance, tardiness and any tools or equipment including PPE like steel toe shoes that are required. Also ask to see what kind of safety training they offer their temps. Some just show a video and some a video followed by a multiple choice question test. It’s not the greatest engaging safety training but you can build on what they offer. Think what kind of previous experience would make them attractable for you and will there be opportunity to offer them regular employee status at any point? Be sure to track any issues that may arise with temporary employees, their response on issues, turnover rate, quality of employee, attendance and did they deliver on the number of people you requested and were promised? You can use these items as a report card to measure that agencies performance and justify whether you want to continue doing business or not.

You can also make training easy by putting everything together now, while it’s slow season and practice on your staff and make sure to listen to their feedback. We’ll go deeper into training in a later step.

I’ve used both methods in dealing with seasonal peaks, separately and at times little of both. Just be prepared for everything and anything when using temporary employees. Even though most agencies do a fantastic job of screening applicant’s sometimes a real pill will get by. I came in one morning and a temp worker was immediately pointed out to me since he was taking an incredible amount of time picking one order. I pulled him aside and after speaking with him realized he was very inebriated and to my surprise he admitted it. I thanked him for being honest and politely declined his offer to have a snort. Since he had no car I sent him home in a cab with his bicycle in the trunk and billed the Agency for it.

Next installment STEP II – STORAGE