Coaching – The Glue That Binds it All

Steve Kerr - Golden State Warriors

Steve Kerr – Golden State Warriors

This was originally published on August 9th.2013 as A Complete Guide To Warehouse Safety-Volume VI-Coaching, the glue that binds it all. In light of the Golden State Warriors winning the NBA Championship with basically the same personnel on the floor they had when they were eliminated in the first round last year with the only significant change in the coach and his staff.  You know the results and I can’t say it enough, you can have the greatest player in the world on your team, but without coaching and leadership you won’t achieve the goal. 

I hope this journey down the Green Brick Road of Safety has been as educational for you as it’s been  a pleasant surprise for me by the great responses from you, the readers to this series.  Thank you all.  Along this odyssey we have been introduced to many different ways of protecting employees at the workplace, beginning with the initial step, Hazard Analysis which demonstrated how to identify potential dangers to employees.  Soon after that we had PPE exhibiting the latest styles in protective wear and then Housekeeping showed the positive results of keeping a neat and organized facility.  Soon after we ran into Emergency Ready which keeps one prepared for the worst and had Good Tailgates show how to teach and inform.  So as you can see they are all equally important for a safe working warehouse, and then you wonder, with all these components in place is there still any more that can be done to keep all employees safe?  YES.  It’s called Coaching (I use the word coaching but you can use leadership as well) and it is the glue that binds all of these things together.

Bruce Bochy - S.F. Giants

Bruce Bochy – S.F. Giants

Coaching goes well beyond training.  When training you are teaching the employee a specific skill set, or a routine or procedure like how to drive a forklift, how to properly lift a box, or how to handle a liquid spill.  However with coaching you’re building people into great employees by improving their self esteem, confidence and knowledge.  Coaching corrects behavior or performance issues without threat of punishment which should only be used as a last resort.  A coach sets the standard that everyone in the warehouse/facility will be following for safety, performance, and professionalism along with the level of tolerance for infractions. A coach does not allow employees to engage in horseplay of any kind while working but gives time to talk and blow off steam and reward their efforts.  A coach is an advocate for their employees and shows them, “Yes, they can do it” when helping them learn a new skill and improving their ability to earn more income and a coach makes sure they themselves always set an example for all.

As in any sport and at work a coach makes sure you’re prepared for the upcoming match and ready to execute the game plan.  A coach begins each work day with a morning huddle to keep you informed, focused and motivated to elevate your level of performance.   A good coach knows that they need to counsel employees in private, praise them in public, brag about them to the upper brass and to engage staff and listen to their feedback for growth and continuous improvement.  Above all a great coach knows to always says thank you for a job well done.

A coach creates an atmosphere conducive for learning and where employees can feel free to ask questions and freely engage in the exchange of ideas without fear of ridicule.  A coach delivers timely tailgate/toolbox meetings, interesting monthly safety meetings that involves the staff in presentations.  The coach should almost always direct on the playing field itself and not issue commands entrenched from behind their desk. A coach knows they need to be on the floor so they can encourage, critique, answer questions as well as observe and document the good along with the bad and offer obtainable goals and objectives to grow and retain employees.  So when the Scarecrow doesn’t feel it necessary to LOTO, or the Tin Man forgets to wear his PPE or the Lion frets about training on a new piece of equipment and the accident prone Wicked Witch creates havoc on the shop floor, you can always spot the coach, they’re the one keeping cool, assessing the situation, reassuring everyone and keeps things going without so much as skipping a beat.  So you see the COACH is really the glue. 

Folks, we’ve finally come to the end of the GREEN BRICK ROAD OF SAFETY and arrived at our destination, the safe warehouse.  It’s not hard to do if you follow all the segments shown through out the series and you make the necessary time available to do it properly.  I promise you, it will be time well spent and worth every penny.  You are not alone in making warehouse safety a priority.  They are many advocates out there and the information is free on the internet.  Become a safety advocate yourself, get involved on your company safety committee and if there isn’t one, start it!  Keep your fellow employees safe.  If you do need any help or have questions on safety, need a review or hazard analysis WarehouseFlow Consulting is there for you.  Until we meet again on our next journey.

Golden State Warriors - 2014-2015 NBA Champions

Golden State Warriors – 2014-2015 NBA Champions


That’s Like Cash Sitting There!

If the inventory in your warehouse looks like this, you have already lost money.  Give enough room for storage, keep fast movers close to the dock, cross dock whenever possible and respect all inventory like it was cash.

Need to up your AIB/ASI score?  Customer audit pending?  Need help? We’re here and ready.

Neatness counts!

When you keep your facility clean and organized it looks good, reduces slips, trips & falls, which is much safer and looks like you know what you’re doing. Tip -> (When you keep it right-bosses don’t look deeper.)

We’re here to help. Check out our website

Companies Behaving Badly – New Dying Year

Happy New Year and welcome to the first issue of 2015. Unfortunately it’s beginning to look like other years, as of November 22, 2014 (FY 2014) 246 workers have already died while doing nothing more than their job.  This is 23 more deaths then this time last year, that’s a 10 percent jump! The numbers are going in the wrong direction folks and that’s all our fault. We’re not doing a good enough job of watching out for each other.  Yes the company is responsible for safety too but it also requires your participation.  Watch out for each other and challenge others to make sure they’re using PPE, doing LOTO or wearing Fall protection gear.  We need to stop the dying NOW. That unfortunately sounds like the first episode of Companies Behaving Badly for this year.


OSHA cites Ohio-based tree company following worker’s death – PREVENTABLE – A young person is killed because he trusted that his employer, The Davey Tree Expert Company wouldn’t willfully put him in danger and use equipment beyond manufacturers posted limitations. The 21 year old tree trimmer, just beginning his journey in life was run over by a utility task vehicle that was operating on a 20 degree slop when the max the manufacturer allows is 15 degrees. OSHA’s investigation found that this caused the vehicle to roll over, killing him and issued a Willful violation which as you all remember means the company knew of the danger but couldn’t care less if someone got hurt or killed. What is so sad is that Davey Tree had a previous rollover incident in July 2012 so they knew it can happen but didn’t bother to make it a safety rule or enforce it.  For this violation a proposed fine of only $70,000 for loss of a human life.  Manufacturer limitations are posted on machinery and equipment so you know what to expect when operating.  You should never exceed these limits unless the manufacturer has approved and posted that info on the equipment.  Don’t let anyone tell you it’s o.k. to push the limits or that its been done before.  Your life is too precious.


   Tristin James Wood

Tristin James Wood

Missouri Company Cited in Death of Teen Worker – PREVENTABLE – The young keep dying as Tristin James Wood, a 16 year old employee of Robertson Incorporated Bridge and Grading was struck by a swinging cab and boom of a crane that was being disassembled.  The OSHA inspection that followed this tragic accident turned up 13 serious safety violations and a proposed fine of only 44,730.  We need to do a better job of keeping teenagers safe on the job with better training and mentoring.

OSHA fines Surelan Foods after worker’s death – PREVENTABLE – Raul Saucedo a 68 year old 10 year employee was busy picking up trash outside a company warehouse when he was struck by a van and died at the scene.  His employer, Surlean Foods was cited for 9 safety violations found in the investigation following the accident which included the company’s failure to provide high-visibility clothing. They also found workers were exposed to amputation hazards, an inadequate written process safety management system for chemical exposure, followed improper procedures for chlorine and anhydrous ammonia, no equipment inspections and no proper plan and development of an emergency action plan.  For not even thinking about dealing with hazards and the effects on fellow human beings the proposed fine is only $52,000.

OSHA fines Pilgrim’s Pride $59,500 in connection to Nacogdoches worker’s electrocution – PREVENTABLE – Bobby Joe Beall, a 50 year old employee at Pilgrim’s Pride was working on machinery like any other day when he was electrocuted and died.  Apparently at this facility in Nacogdoches, Texas,based on OSHA’s findings, just hitting the off button or off switch constituted as the L.O.T.O. program instead of killing the power at the source. The investigation of the accident also found 3 serious and 1 repeat violation with a proposed fine of only $59,500.

Sidney auto parts maker cited by OSHA – PREVENTABLE – When some companies make a mistake, they apologize and fix it right away, then move on but then some companies don’t bother fixing mistakes because they just don’t care about their workers. Formed Fiber Technologies LLC, just doesn’t care as they have been cited for the 3rd time in 2 years and placed into the Severe Violator Enforcement Program for 2 Willful violations exposing workers to the risk of amputation and other injuries by moving machine parts. The proposed fine is $140,000.  It would have been great if their customers like Toyota and GM took a look at vendors safety records instead of cheapest price before working with them.  OSHA had also found 11 violations back in 2013. Profits over people.

PA Manufacturer Fined by OSHA After Multiple Finger Amputations – PREVENTABLE – Speaking of companies that don’t get it, it seems that Olympia Chimney Supply Inc. of Scranton, Pa. kept operating business as usual even after knowing workers were having fingers amputated, but an employee had seen enough and filed a complaint with OSHA. Their inspection found 14 safety violations that come with a proposed fine of $49,000 as over the last two years workers suffered more than 20 injuries including lacerations, crushed and pinched fingers, multiple fingertip amputations and the amputation of several fingers. As OSHA saw it, Olympia failed to safeguard machines and had flaws in a system designed to prevent machines from starting up inadvertently during maintenance.

Anheuser-Busch fined $162K for safety violations at Jersey City warehouse – PREVENTABLE – Why are warehouses allowed to become depressing dungeons of danger?  Lack of leadership and no pride in the job.  A distribution warehouse in Jersey City for Anheuser-Busch, (this bruise is for you) was hit with 2 Willful and 8 serious violations to a tune of $162,500 as they allowed untrained drivers to operate defective forklifts but couldn’t care less to fix the problem.  That is one of the best recipes I’ve seen for a disaster.  As if that wasn’t enough the Anheuser-Busch warehouse also had obstructed exit routes and damaged storage racks.  I would show this warehouse manager and his staff to the door but they might find it blocked.  Horrible and disappointing conditions for such a manufacturing giant but when you put the wrong leadership in place what can one expect.

Packaging firm gets £14.6k fork lift injury bill – PREVENTABLE – Meanwhile in the U.K. Platt Packaging Ltd. was prosecuted for the injury of a driver waiting to pick up a load. While standing by his vehicle he was knocked down by a reversing forklift in which he suffered double ankle fracture and damage to his leg.  You should never back up a forklift especially on the dock where people are without first looking.  A dock also needs to be controlled which means all visitors must wait in a safe place and not wondering around.  Make it so your people can succeed not struggle.

New Reports Outline TX Plant Chaos, Deaths – PREVENTABLE – Some things can be done by the seat of your pants but when it comes to workplace emergencies everyone needs to know what to do in order to save as many lives as possible. Take a moment and read this chilling report on the events of November 15th when a chemical leak at the Dupont plant killed 4 employees.  You can never under estimate the importance of training.  If you work for a company that deals with dangerous and/or toxic chemicals and you never receive any training on emergency response or evacuation demand to know why.  Your life may depend on it.

Infographic: OSHA’s New Injury Reporting Rule Explained – Are you ready for the new OSHA reporting rules? explains it.


That brings this episode of companies behaving badly to a close. Thank you for stopping by and checking out the stories.  Please feel free to share them at your next safety tailgate/toolbox meeting.  It’s always a good time to have a refresher on workplace emergencies.  What is the signal, the escape route, the assembly area or how to shelter in place and then throw in a drill once in awhile.  In fact training throughout the year makes your team more efficient, responsive and interested and will improve communication and moral.   Give it a try, you’ll be surprised.  Don’t have a safety committee in the company, why not start one.  Get the conversation going.  It is my biggest hope that one day I will have no companies behaving badly to write about.  Take care and see you soon.



Just Putting It Out There – 2014 Wasn’t About Respect

A brand new year will soon be upon us and this is my year in review as we bid 2014 a fond farewell. No doubt that 2014 has been a compelling year as it has had everything including wars, armed conflicts, kidnappings, massacres, disappearing aircraft, shootings, protest and all types of disasters unleashed by mother nature. However there was some positive news that came out of this chaos as we saw a big drop in unemployment and the comeback of manufacturing in the U.S. or as this years new buzz word states it, a successful “on shoring”.  Unfortunately this increased manufacturing was over shadowed with record fines from OSHA as some companies continue to demonstrate more concern for profits while not thinking twice about putting human life in jeopardy to obtain it. It is obvious that workers are still being sacrificed to the deity of $money$ as a record number of citations were handed out this year, 8,241 in just the category of failure to provide fall protection.  That’s 22.5 a day. The fall protection standard also now has the distinction of being the most frequently cited violation 4 years in a row!

But is it only the love of money that companies continue to put workers in harms way? Isn’t it also the low fines and lack of jail time that allows companies to incorporate amputations and deaths as just a part of the expense of doing business? They are both part of the problem but the larger issue is actually the continued growing lack of respect for other people. The lack of respect for people who are different from you and the lack of respect to acknowledge that people make the company successful. The lack of respect to provide fall protection gear for workers when working on roofs or other great heights. The lack of respect for people who are undocumented workers, hired and taken advantage of because they don’t know the rules and won’t complain out of fear of deportation. The lack of respect for people by disabling emergency shut offs or safety protocol so production can’t be stopped. But what makes it alarming is it’s not just companies demonstrating a lack of respect for people! It is us! Lack of respect for other motorist and not signaling a turn or lane change but expect everyone to know what you’re doing. Lack of respect by blocking an aisle or doorway with your cart like you’re the only one in the supermarket. Lack of respect for neighbor’s property and don’t clean up after your dog. Lack of respect for others as you blow through a right turn on red and/or park next to a fire hydrant. Guess what, if you have kids when you perform these acts they are watching and learning from you as you treat other people without respect. They grow up thinking it’s the way to be. It doesn’t stop there does it? You also make comments out loud in response to the latest news story you’re watching or about the new people that moved in next door not thinking again of the affect you have. They won’t see what’s really there as you have tainted their view. The “rag-head” that moved in next door is actually of proud Sikh heritage and a physics professor. The “wet-back” selling fruit on a corner is actually a U.S. citizen laid off from the plant and just trying to make ends meet. The man with tattoos wearing a hoodie is not a “threat” but the chef of your favorite restaurant.

As we begin 2015 let’s remember that we are all different in some way and just like a snowflake each one of us has similarities but also our own uniqueness. We vary in size and shape and are formed through different influences and experiences. We are not better then the next person or worse then the next person but just different. Is it possible that in 2015 you can step a little outside your comfort zone and not react in a negative fashion to how someone different looks whether or not they can help you with your journey in life?  You’d be surprised how similar your goals really are.

Without respect there can be no discussion. Without discussion there can be no resolution. Without resolution there can be no progress. Without progress, we all perish.


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 – Trips, Falls and Amputations, Oh My!



The Green Brick Road of Safety is a long winding road that has been well traveled over the years by many people in search of the elusive safe workplace. The high traffic on the road is graphically illustrated by the strewn litter of fingers, limbs and other body parts along with the constant wailing sound of grieving family members and friends in the distance.  The road is was paved with lots of good intensions, safety slogans & campaigns, disciplinary actions and unused PPE, as small groups of safety advocates travel the road like pilgrims on a mission.  I’m here to tell you a safe workplace is not a fantasy or fairy tale but something that is real and attainable but YOU must be part of the solution by following the safety rules and saying NO to unsafe acts at work.  Trips, falls and amputations, oh my! That sounds like this must unfortunately be another episode of Companies Behaving Badly.

   Marvin Vincent Roesti

Marvin Vincent Roesti

OSHA cites co-op in death of 73-year-old man – PREVENTABLE – Marvin Vincent Roesti, 73, was a husband, father, grandfather who loved farming, passed away 6 days after falling and hitting his head. The OSHA investigation that ensued found Farmer’s Cooperative had 1 repeat and 2 serious violations at the McCool Junction fertilizer plant.  Apparently the Farmer’s Cooperative is not very cooperative when it comes to the safety of the people working there as they had failed to have a guard rail in the batching area a violation found in 2011 in Exeter and 2013 in Wilber. On top of that they also failed to provide fall protection to employees working on top of tanker trucks and NOT providing railings on stairways.  All this is costing them $84,000 in proposed fines, but this is again another case where the fine is nowhere enough.  Any body in the position of supervision who allows a worker to fill a tanker truck, working on top of it without fall protection is a criminal.  I’ve witnessed several times how it saved a person’s life if not from serious disability for life.

OSHA fines Behr Iron following fatality – PREVENTION – Alfredo Arrendondo a 39 year old native of Beloit, Illinois had no idea that he would die on the job this day.  He had worked in the pit before clearing it of scrap metal that had accumulated and he was use to the fact that his employers Behr Iron & Steel Inc, kept the unguarded conveyors running while he worked in there. But on this day, because Behr Iron & Steel couldn’t care less if workers were maimed or killed on the job, Alfredo’s arm was caught by the conveyor and he died, right in front of the horrified faces of his fellow workers who tried to scramble through the 2.5 foot X 3.5 foot opening to the pit. 7 willful violations were issued and 1 serious for a proposed fine of $497,000 as they were also cited back in 2010 for no LOTO program.  In my opinion there should be company mangers in jail for there indifference to human life.

Ardmore plant cited by OSHA after worker dies from fall – PREVENTABLE – Christopher Cryer, 31, a family man who enjoyed fishing and hunting but most of all helping others died after he fell 15 feet, hitting his head and later died in the E.R.  He was working at Atlas Roofing who for some reason didn’t think to provide it’s workers with fall protection and now have a pending $49,000 fine.  What the hell is so hard about wearing fall protection?  Because this company didn’t push it now several lives have been altered.  A wife has lost her husband, children a father and who knows who else Christopher would have helped down the road.  This is senseless and should no longer be tolerated.

OSHA: 22 Vallourec citations; worker crushed, injured in Feb. – PREVENTABLE – A full time operator was crushed between an activated transfer paddle and a stationary electrical box crushing him and causing several pelvis fractures.  The following OSHA inspection at his place of work, Vallourec Star Factory turned up 22 serious (violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists) violations!  They found that Vallourec didn’t have sufficient procedures to protect workers from moving machinery parts during servicing and didn’t train workers to recognize hazards and proper LOTO procedures in addition to improper machine guarding, unguarded floor openings and allowing the use of forklifts that needed repair.  For all this the proposed fine is $94,000.  Vallourec President Judson Wallace responded, “Workplace safety at Vallourec Star is a first priority.” Wow, if safety is the first priority, hate to see the second one.  I think Mr. Wallace needs to begin taking a Gemba walk around the plant.

Customer dies after tiles fall at Menards in Chesterfield Township – PREVENTABLE – This is a very sad tragedy.  A forklift operator had just placed a pallet of tiles on top of another pallet of goods on the top rack when the load shifted and up to 600 pounds of ceramic tiles fell on a customer’s head severely injuring him and he later died in the hospital. Retail stores can get busy and Managers tend to push workers to the point where little things get missed.  I don’t know the circumstances here, and this could also happen in your warehouse but when ever you place a pallet of goods on top of another make sure the bottom pallet can handle the weight.

Rock Island trucking terminal owner fined and cited for alleged safety violations – PREVENTABLE – Central Transport LLC is a full service LTL that says they’re “Central to your success” but apparently not central to the safety of their workers.  OSHA cited and fined Central Transport for repeat and WILLFUL violations and you remember a willful violation means they knew of the safety violations at their Rock Island terminal but couldn’t care less about them or if anyone got hurt.  Their concern for their workers was so great they allowed them to operate forklifts that were in need of repair in fact they didn’t even have workers perform pre-shift inspections which was a repeat violation found in 2010 at their facilities in Massachusetts and Ohio.  Portable fire extinguishers were not mounted and clearly labeled and workers were found using damaged extension cords as well.  What I am also amazed about is that 103 years after the Triangle Factory fire in New York, OSHA found a metal bar across an exit door in their Rock Island warehouse locking it shut!  For all this there were issued a proposed fine of $108,020. Their corporate headquarters needs to get out from behind their desk, get their heads out of their asses and put people before profit.

Christiansburg man killed in forklift accident PENDING – Robert J. Tucker, a 50 year old forklift driver was killed when he tried to escape his forklift as it overturned.  Robert was at the controls of the lift as it supported another worker in an elevated bucket while he trimmed trees and for what ever reason the forklift began tipping over and when Robert tried to get out he was hit by the elevated bucket.  The young man in the bucket was flown to the hospital with serious injuries.  Forklifts are designed not only for the daily tasks they perform but for your safety as well.  The seat belts are there not as ornaments but to keep you in your seat for rollovers so you are not tossed and crushed.  Your first instinct is to run, but to live you need to stay within the forklift cab for protection.

OSHA Investigating Deaths of 2 Florida Tree Trimmers – PENDING – Two men trimming palm trees in southwest Florida were electrocuted when their 30 foot aluminum ladder slipped and hit a live power line.  They were rushed to the hospital were they were both pronounced dead.  Like with any other tool that is not properly used, ladders account for about 136,000 accidents a year between work and home that result in about 13,600 requiring hospitalization in addition to 100 deaths.  You can help minimize your exposure risk on ladders by first making sure the ladder is not in a state of disrepair and sits firmly on the ground and sturdy before climbing. If you are working around live power lines an aluminum ladder may not be the best choice and please contact the power company and let them know what you are doing.

OSHA Cites Douglass Colony Group Inc. For 11 Violations; Exposing Workers To Asbestos – PREVENTABLE – Douglass Colony Group Inc apparently has no problem exposing their employees to the hazard of asbestos as they were hit with 4 REPEAT and 7 serious violations by OSHA. What I find most horrendous is the 4 repeat, (June 2013) violations as 3 of them were for failure to provide a competent supervisor to oversee the removal of asbestos containing material, failed to conduct asbestos exposure assessment and provide adequate training for the workers.  But you see that would cost money to do and cut into profits!  The proposed fine is only $45,000 but for repeat offenses, especially when exposing workers to a substance that can cause a life time of disabilities it should be at least triple that along with jail time.  Proposed penalties total $81,000 and the ironic part is they did provide proper fall protection for their workers to prevent immediate injury or death but wasn’t worried about the effects of asbestos that would come to light down the road as workers developed health issues.

OSHA citations over practices at company that led to employee death upheld on appeal – JUSTICE – The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals has rules against Texas based Austin Industrial Specialty Services’ in its appeal of OSHA citations over circumstances that led to the death of a worker.  The message is companies can’t send workers into dangerous conditions without proper training and assessment of hazards.  People over Profits.

Prosecutors: PG&E ignored safety law on numerous gas lines – ACTS OF GREED – There is no doubt in my mind that corporate greed and arrogance by PG&E led to the murder of 8 people who were just trying to live their daily lives.  A rate hike that was to go to gas line safety instead went into the pockets of corporate leaders as bonuses while their accomplice in this murder was the P.U.C.  Now PG&E plasters the airwaves with their slick new ad campaign explaining they are not murderers but people with families just like you and me and that we’re taking safety seriously NOW, really we are.  It’s too little too late and there should be corporate leaders of PG&E sitting in a jail cell right now.

AHF: $11K Cal/OSHA Fine to Porn’s Jake Cruise Media Reminds Industry that Condoms Remain the Law – SKEWED PRIORITIES – Oh how the mighty have fallen.  The once proud agency was very good at their job a long time ago and even bragged how they were one step better than the Federal Government in protecting workers, has fallen on hard times due to poor leadership, benign neglect and budget cuts.  With a reduced budget and limited resources, (a large number of inspector jobs have not been filled) you’d think their leadership would better prioritize the handling of worker concerns and concentrate on oil and energy companies as well as the construction industry who seem to have the highest accident rate and not checking for sexual PPE.  I’m not saying spreading of disease isn’t a valid concern but to me that is more of a job and concern for Department of Public Health.

Utility Manufacturing Company Receives Gold Safety Award – SAFETY AWARD – Utility Trailer Manufacturing Company’s Paragould, Arkansas plant has received the Liberty Mutual Insurance Gold Safety Award. Congratulations!

OSHA honors Southeastern Mills’ safety program – ANOTHER SAFETY AWARD – Southeastern Mills based in Rome, Ga. has been recognized by OSHA for its creation of and commitment to a work environment free of safety and health hazards.  Congratulations.



Well my friends, that brings this episode of Companies Behaving Badly to a close.  As always, please feel free to share these stories at your next safety tailgate/toolbox meeting or safety committee meeting.  Safety in the workplace begins with YOU and succeeds only with YOU.  Be active in your companies safety committee and if they don’t have one, help start one. Report safety hazards and concerns to management immediately and don’t take NO for an answer.  There is no reason you should not to expect to go home the same way you arrived at work, in one piece. There is no reason to risk injury or lose your life for one package or container of product.  Stop the line, do proper L.O.T.O. wear the correct P.P.E and work within safety guidelines.  The worst thing that’ll happen by doing it right is someone will get their item a day late.  Until next month, stay safe.



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

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


Aunt Ida’s Recipes For Disaster – PICKLED FORKLIFT


Our Chef de Catastrophe, Aunt Ida has really stepped outside the box in creating this new holiday classic for all to enjoy.

TODAY’S FEATURED RECIPE –  PICKLED FORKLIFT –  This treat is not only easy to make but can be made year round and is especially a great accompaniment for any disaster whether used as a side dish or condiment.  The best part of this recipe is the pickling process does not take much time.

Prep time: A minute      Cook time: Blink of an eye     Yield: Severe head trauma, crushed limbs, and death.

Ingredients:  Any forklift can be used in this recipe;  sit down, stand up, picker, electric, propane, or diesel.   

Directions:  After selecting the desired forklift type, you must use it any other way than what it was originally intended to be used for.  Don’t even bother with a safety pre-check and here are some recommended uses.      







Paul Blomfield PR Flicker

Paul Blomfield PR Flicker


Toyota lift of Minnesota

Toyota lift of Minnesota






In reality, forklifts are an integral part of the warehouse and manufacturing plants and like any other piece of equipment if not properly trained to operate or not used properly it can KILL you or someone else.  It’s the workhorse that doesn’t need to be groomed at the end of a ride, but you do need to treat it with great respect and it’ll be sure to take care of you.

Please feel free to read the other articles in this blog or contact us for your workplace safety questions.