Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Safety at Work

I have to go in today on a day off for a safety meeting.

Now I don't mean to disparage safety, but these meetings cover things like spill control, lock out-tag out, safety glasses etc. and all of these are important, but I have never heard them discuss the most dangerous things I see at work.

I have yet to see a MIOSHA (Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration) film on the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse in the work place. I have seen tens of thousands of dollars in damage done and people seriously hurt because of an intoxicated co-worker. A drunk or high person is always a danger to themselves but when they are fork-lift drivers or equipment operators or maintainance workers the danger is even greater. Every year the AFL-CIO puts out a list of employees who have been killed on the job and I can't help but wonder how many of them are due to either being intoxicated themselves or an intoxicated co-worker. I believe that the greatest single danger faced by many workers is drunk and intoxicated co-workers. Because of lawsuits etc. it is very difficult to effectively deal with this particular problem.

Another major cause of injuries that I have seen that doesn't get the discussion is improper or poorly maintained equipment. One of the most common sources of injuries with my previous employer was workers using razor blades without putting them in the proper handle, just using them bare handed. I have seen a lot of stitches given because of that. My father lost a couple fingers when he was 30 because a stamping press wasn't operating properly.

I have yet to see a film on improper training, plain stupidity, or inattentiveness (guilty as charged). I have seen a guy who was working near an oven who got tired of sweating so much so he quit taking in water; they found him lying on the floor from heat stroke. I have seen guys jump on pallets to break them up only to get a nail driven into their foot. I hate to admit this but I once got brained by an item hanging from the paint line because I was looking the other way and wound up in the Doctor's Office (Nearly 20 years on the factory floor and that was my only injury and it wasn't that serious. It was however, my own fault.) I have seen people overcome by fumes because the respirator was uncomfortable.

And don't even get me started on poorly trained or inattentive fork truck drivers. I have seen them break water lines, gas lines, accidentally run into fire alarms, drive them off the end of loading docks, knock people over, and more.

Employees face real dangers but MIOSHA safety films seem to concentrate only on a few areas. The problems they do deal with don't seem to be the ones that I have repeatedly seen with my own eyes.

14 Comments:

Blogger Tom said...

I know what you are talking about. Most of the "safety classes" that I have attended dealt with spills, safety procedures (lock out / tag out) and the importance of safety gear. Maintenance and worker training were always the responsibility of the department or the company. The safety training is only to fulfill a state requirement.

8:18 AM  
Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

I used to drive a forklift on the docks where everyone was smoking pot all day. Engines were regularly ruined because the potheads forgot to put oil in. One guy even drove his forklift over the wharf into the bay.

8:30 PM  
Blogger Chuck said...

There is absolutely no tolerance for impaired employees at my job. Anyone suspecting another of being impaired is expected to turn them in. This is not to squeal but to protect patients. I have personally dealt with this on employees. We take it very seriously.

9:08 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Forgive me, but isn't MOISHA a government agency?

Is there really any more that needs to be said?

9:24 AM  
Blogger shoprat said...

tom I know but it's lacking in so many ways.

pjc I have never seen one go into water but seen them fall into mud.

chuck I'd send them home with a warning the first time, second time their gone.

Joe yes it is and it explains why it doesn't fulfill its function.

4:10 PM  
Blogger Chuck said...

Actually it is much more complicated and strict than that.

A person deemed to be impaired is immediately taken away from patient care. They are given drug and alcohol tests before being sent home. If the results are positive they may either go to counseling or are fired, depending on the circumstances.

I know this seems a little tough but we take this very seriously, patient's lives are at stake.

Further, we as Registered Nurses (or doctors) have a license. If we are found to be impaired on the job the hospital has to report us to the state. Our license to practice is suspended and it can take years of counseling, supervised practice, and limited practice license to get an unrestricted license back.

I am all for this. The work we do has no room for error and we can easily kill or seriously injure soemone if we are impaired.

7:46 PM  
Blogger Dee said...

Government at work yet again, wasting our tax dollars!!

Loved your comment on my blog in response to the UN speech, well said!!

11:39 PM  
Blogger Z said...

Pardon ME, but isn't MOISHA the name of a Jewish STATESMEN? :-)

As for the post (i digress)..YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK!

12:55 AM  
Blogger benning said...

I wonder how close the MOISHA is to the all-powerful Unions. That would explain much.

9:08 AM  
Blogger christian soldier said...

OSHA-MIOSHA- most thought it was a waste of time...attending the 'training'...
SR-just posted one of my newest...
http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/2009/09/guarding-gatesone-of-my-newest.html

4:39 PM  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

The guy who decided not to drink water because he was sweating? Why hell, Shop, that's just Mother Nature "thinning the herd."

BZ

5:05 PM  
Blogger shoprat said...

BZ he survived and bred. He later became Union committeeman.

2:31 AM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

A few years back, Mr. AOW fell at work and required rotator-cuff surgery. The fall was clearly the result of all the trash left on the floors of the warehouse. The following year, the management still hadn't addressed the issue, and Mr. AOW fell again!

We never saw any reform of those problems with safety where Mr. AOW worked for 12 years.

7:29 AM  
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