A Michigan plastic injection molding plant received a huge fine following the death of a worker. The worker was crushed while performing maintenance and another employee cycled the machine resulting the fatality. A willful set of violations including basic lockout tagout was cited. Such an unfortunate death with two sets of lives forever changed. The man who was killed had a family. They have to go on without their father and husband due to such a preventable incident. Unfortunately, there is another side to the incident. The other employee who thought they were doing a typical job by turning on the machine, I would suspect, has a different approach to safety and the job now. In many training seminars, I talk about that even though a process may not be the individuals fault there will be a level of remorse if it leads to an injury. I use this thought process especially when training fork truck operators. When a fork truck comes into contact with a pedestrian, the pedestrian loses every time. As a fork truck operator, they should always be as hyper-aware of pedestrians as possible. It could be the pedestrian’s fault for stepping out into traffic without looking, but the operator of the fork truck will have the remembrance of the incident. Injuries affect all workers in some ways. Safety is very much about not only the individual, but the team effort. In the above news story, it is a shame that the lack of company policy and enforcement led to this situation that forever changed two families.
On a separate note, the fine was for 558K while the revenue for that company was estimated at 35M. That equates to 1.6% of the revenue as a fine.
A New Hampshire company was fined for exposing employees to chemicals. The particular chemical was methylene chloride which is a specifically listed chemical in the OSHA regulations There have been many claims that OSHA should be granted the availability to quickly make updates to their chemical listing of specific chemical safety. In this case, this chemical was already listed. A listed chemical has significant regulations of how to monitor and protect employees. The company in question was previously cited by OSHA. For what? Chemical issues. It seems that some have difficulty understanding that the law is the law.
A house bill requests that employers have the opportunity to abate OSHA findings before getting fined. This is an interesting idea that an employer could receive a reduced fine by quickly fixing issues. It does beg the question, though, would some employers use it as an excuse to ignore safety issues. If they know they can fix it after it is cited, would they delay making the right decisions. I have also pondered the question of when the next evolution of OSHA will require full-time onsite officers for companies much like some USDA, FDA, or even accounting firms have today.
Better late than never, I guess. April is/was distracted driver month. This is such an important topic for both workplace drivers and at home. It is important that employers adopt a program that outlines its safe driving practices. At home, it is important that parents not only explain the necessity for not texting and driving but also set the example and hold teenaged drivers accountable. Again, an accident can affect more than one life. Texting can wait, it is not worth the risk.