Posts Tagged ‘worker killed’

I recently read a news story this week where an individual was killed during the filming of the upcoming movie “The Lone Ranger”.   The producer of the film – Silver Bullet Productions, Inc.  – was fined $60,000 for various safety violations.   Regardless of the industry, all employers have an obligation to provide a safe work environment.   Every employee should return home to their families every day in the same shape that they came to work.   It is unacceptable for anybody to be injured, let alone killed, on the job.   Since this event happened during the filming of “The Lone Ranger” starring Johnnie Depp, I am going to BOYCOT this film.   Perhaps I will be the only one who takes this stance – perhaps others will follow.

I can not support a company where employees are killed – I am going to BOYCOT this film.     What are you going to do?

STAY SAFE!     **  Jeff  **   214-215-2434

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I recently read this news story about a Mississippi employer who was fined when an employee fell into an unguarded screw conveyor while cleaning the machine and was killed.    The OSHA investigation turned up 43 violations – 37 of them were serious.  The proposed penalty is $160,000.

When I read a story like this I am DISGUSTED in two ways.   First, I am DISGUSTED with the employer who did not provide a safe workplace and allowed for an employee to be killed.   This same employer that had 37 serious violations during the OSHA inspection!    Secondly, I am DISGUSTED with OSHA for their penalties.   OSHA needs to make their proposed fines  starting at $1 million for any workplace fatality.   This will force companies to take workplace safety seriously.

As employers, we shouldn’t be motivated by the fear of large fines to do the right thing.   We should always provide a safe working environment – it’s our responsibility.   We need to truly embrace the notion that it is unacceptable for anybody to get hurt, no matter how minor.   Every one of our employees should go home in the same shape that they came to work each day.

I am going to send a letter to OSHA this week and explain that I am DISGUSTED with the proposed fines for fatalities.   What are you going to do?

STAY SAFE!     **  Jeff  **   214-215-2434

I have two rants today:  One regarding the amount of time it takes to compile and issue injury data and one regarding the quantity of work-related deaths that occur in our country each year.

Rant #1:  The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) issued the Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary for 2011 at the end of September.  They are still compiling the accident data for 2011 and plan on issuing the information at the end of October.  Is having data issued 10 months after the fact really meaningful?  Is it the BLS or BS?  The BLS system is broke.  Sending paper surveys to employers and having them mailed back is not an efficient way to collect data.

Rant #2:  The fatality data showed 4,609 work related deaths in 2011 down slightly from 4,690 in 2010!   That’s 4,609 unnecessary deaths.  The average worker in America works 200 days per year.   Therefore, 4,609 deaths translate to 23 deaths per day!   We have an obligation to provide a safe workplace.  It is unacceptable for any employee to be injured on the job, no matter how minor.

I will reach out to lawmakers in the next 30 days to and write a letter regarding the BLS or BS system – What will you do?

STAY SAFE!     **  Jeff  **   214-215-2434

I read an article this week where an employee was killed and OSHA fined the company $9,420 for three serious violations.   Really?  $9,420?  What’s going to change their behavior?  Certainly $9,420 is not going to change the behavior.   What’s worse is the owner of the building is refusing to pay the fine calling OSHA ““the BIGGEST BULLY there is”.   He further said “[OSHA’s] system is way broken. They need to fix their system before they try to fix mine.” Last time I looked I did not see an employee of OSHA killed!

It’s time that business owners step up and take responsibility for their actions (or lack of actions).   Businesses have the responsibility to provide a safe work environment.  No employee should be hurt on the job, no matter how minor.   I am NOT a big believer in governmental rules and regulations, nor am I a big believer that the government should tell anybody how to run their business, but I also take my responsibility to all employees very seriously.   I understand why the government, or more specifically OSHA, must establish rules and enforce such rules – it’s for the businesses who don’t care about their workers and don’t take responsibility for their actions.

I don’t know all of the circumstances around this accident other than what was explained in the article.   However, based upon the limited information that I did read, the owner of the business should go to jail and be fined hundreds of thousands of dollars, not $9,420.   In this situation, the government needs to be the BIGGEST BULLY there is and set an example.  In my opinion, sometimes it’s OK to be the BIGGEST BULLY.

I support OSHA being “the BIGGEST BULLY there is”.   What about you?

STAY SAFE!     **  Jeff  **   214-215-2434

 

In the United States – it is estimated that the cost of job injuries and illnesses is $250 billion to $300 billion per year.   HOW MUCH?  $250-300 BILLION (with a B).   In 2010, 4,690 workers were killed on the job—an average of 13 workers every day, according to a new 184 page report called “Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect.” As a comparison, in 2009, 4,551 people died on the job.   Why is this trend going the wrong direction?   What can we do to change this trend?

Here are four items that I found interesting in this report:

1.   There are 2,178 inspectors to inspect the 8 million workplaces under the OSH Act’s jurisdiction. Federal OSHA can inspect workplaces on average once every 131 years; the state OSHA plans can inspect them once every 73  years.

2. The current level of federal and state OSHA inspectors provides one inspector for every 58,687 workers.

3. Criminal penalties under the OSHA law are weak.  They are limited to cases in which a willful violation results in a worker death and are misdemeanors. Since 1970, only 84 cases have been prosecuted, with defendants serving a total of 89 months in jail.  During this time there were more than 370,000 worker deaths!

4.  OSHA penalties are too low to deter violations. The average penalty for a serious violation of the law in FY 2011 was $2,107 for federal OSHA and $942 for the state plans.

I do not think that having more inspectors is the solution to change this trend, but one inspection every 131 years (Federal) or every 73 years (State)?   Only having one inspector for every 59 thousand workers?  And that does not even address the competences of these inspectors!   I can not believe only 84 cases have been prosecuted and only 89 months in jail total – since 1970!   A serious violation  only costing $2k?   Come on – it’s time to wake up and address the problem.

I assure you that I am not a supporter of the AFL-CIO, but they raise some very good points in their report.   Further, I assure you I am not a supporter of creating more bureaucracy in our government.   But something has to change.   As a society, we can not accept worker deaths and can not accept a slap on the wrist for companies that blatantly put workers in harms way.

I am going to increase awareness and push for reformation as it relates to violations.  What are you going to do?

STAY SAFE!     **  Jeff  **   214-215-2434

 

I read an article where a worker was killed while constructing the Chelsea Piers Sports Complex in Stamford, Connecticut.   The employee fell 35 feet while installing a metal roof.   Upon investigation, it was noted that the fall protection was inadequate and ineffective.   It was further noted that “This employer was well aware that these workers were exposed to falls but did not take steps to eliminate a significant hazard.   A combination of proper fall protection and effective training could have prevented this needless loss of life”.   American Building, LLC was fined $50,000 by OSHA for this incident.

$50,000??????  Really??????   What about criminal prosecution for management at American Building, LLC????   If American Building, LLC was well aware that these workers were exposed to this hazard and did not take steps to eliminate the hazard, somebody should be going to JAIL – not a $50,000 fine!

The killed worker was wearing his safety harness, but was not tethered to an anchor point.  Another worker on the job site  was tethered to an anchor point, but his lanyard was too long – if he fell, he would have hit the ground before his fall protection did any good.  Why did American Building, LLC supply safety harnesses that would not work?  Why did the American Building Supply, LLC not train these employees on proper tethering to a secure anchor point?  Did American Building Supply, LLC just go through the motions to satisfy the APPEARANCE OF SAFETY to OSHA?

Companies and negligent management need to be held personally liable for situations like this one.  It is unacceptable that this worker was killed on the job because there was not proper fall protection or effective training.    We have a responsibility to provide a safe workplace.   It is unacceptable for any worker to be injured on the job, let alone killed!

In my opinion, it’s time for OSHA to get real about protecting workers in America.   I am not advocating bureaucracy and a creation of additional rules and regulations.   I am not advocating increased inspections.   I support a responsibility by management to ensure that safety is a priority.   Make management personally liable and subject to jail time for gross negligence.    Management at companies, like American Building, LLC, would act differently if they personally faced jail time.  That’s how OSHA can get real about protecting workers in America.

I am going to actually BE safe – not just have the APPEARANCE OF SAFETY – what about you?

STAY SAFE!     **  Jeff  **   214-215-2434

WHY?

Posted: February 15, 2012 in Accidents
Tags: , , , ,

WHY?   Over the weekend, I was reading a news article that reported a baggage handler at the Phoenix airport was killed.   This man apparently became lodged between the upper and lower conveyor belts which move luggage at the airport.   As I read the article I immediately felt sad for this man’s family, friends, and co-workers.  I thought “How did this happen?  What failure took place in their system?”  As I continued reading I became outraged – the article said that another worker had their hand and leg pinned in the conveyor system during an incident in August, 2011.   Two major incidents in a six month period!  Really?

As I have previously stated and will continue to state: We have an obligation to provide a safe working environment, and I take this obligation very seriously.   Every workplace accident is preventable and avoidable.   Certainly, in performing any accident investigation, you have the benefit of hindsight.   But didn’t  US Airways have the benefit of hindsight after the August incident?  Shouldn’t proper guarding, training, procedures, etc have been in place to prevent another incident from occurring?   This is the source of my outrage – companies that take their obligation lightly.   And as a result, a worker was killed!

Nothing can be done to turn back time and prevent this particular incident from occurring, however we can learn from this incident and prevent any future, similar incidents from occurring.   Companies need to have an active, rigorous accident investigation process that determines the true root cause of all accidents.   Companies need to implement the corrective action to ensure another similar incident does not occur, and companies need to share this information to correct similar conditions in other departments or locations.

I will continue to take my obligation seriously – What about you?

STAY SAFE!     **  Jeff  **   214-215-2434