I would like to continue the series of workplace tragedies in the hope that it sheds light on
the importance of safety training and safety practices in the workplace.
The sad fact is, workers die every day in America. There are moms and dads, daughters and sons that will go to work today and not return home. It does not have to be that way.
As reported by National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (COSH), on August 16, 2012, 21-year-old Lawrence Daquan “Day” Davis, just days over the legal drinking age, arrived at the Bacardi Bottling Corp. in Jacksonville, Florida, for his first day as a temporary worker. That facility bottles all of the rum Bacardi distributes around North America.
It was nearly 5 pm when Davis was cleaning glass from under the hoist of a palletizing machine, which stacks cases of Bacardi’s rum. Davis was unaware of the danger as another employee restarted the palletizer. Within seconds, Davis was crushed to death by the machine. Bacardi Bottling had failed to train temporary employees on using locks and tags to prevent the accidental startup of machines and to ensure its own employees utilized lock-out/tag-out procedures.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Bacardi Bottling with 12 safety violations in the incident – two “willful,” nine “serious,” and one “other than serious.” The company was fined $192,000.
According to a statement from Bacardi Bottling, the company has addressed or put in place plans to resolve all safety and health matters identified by OSHA.
“A worker’s first day at work shouldn’t be his last day on Earth,” OSHA chief David Michaels said in a news release about the citations. “We are seeing untrained workers – many of them temporary workers – killed very soon after starting a new job. This must stop. Employers must train all employees, including temporary workers, on the hazards specific to that workplace – before they start working. Had Bacardi done so, this tragic loss of life could have been prevented.”
This tragic loss of life as well as other fatal accidents in the workplace were documented in the 2013 Preventable Deaths: The Tragedy of Workplace Fatalities, as published by COSH. You can read the actual report by clicking on: http://www.coshnetwork.org/sites/default/files/Preventable%20Deaths-The%20Tragedy%20of%20Workplace%20Fatalities_Natl%20COSH%20Report%202013.pdf
Whether your workers are seasoned veterans or first-day temps, they need proper training. Sadly, Davis’ death was not unusual for the temporary staffing industry. It was absolutely preventable, however, as ruled by OSHA.
Before OSHA was created, an estimated 14,000 workers were killed on the job every year. Workplaces are much safer and healthier today, going from 38 fatal injuries a day to 12. The preliminary count of fatal occupational injuries in the U.S. in 2013 was 4,405, below the revised total of 4,628 in 2012.
With regard to the tragedy at the Bacardi facility, OSHA requires detailed and extensive training for all workers in areas where Lockout/Tagout programs are in place, or whose job requires them to actually isolate energy sources. Using your written program, Arbill offers Vantage training on Lockout/Tagout for all employees who are involved in working around energy systems such as electrical, mechanical, hydraulic or pneumatic. The specialized training explains when to set and remove Lockout/Tagout devices, review the requirements for authorized and affected workers, review the individual procedures as specified in your program, review machine guarding and more.
If your workers need safety training or PPE, we are here to help. If your company would like to lower the number of incidents and improve their bottom line, we can introduce a culture of safety that will lead to increased production and profitability. Visit www.arbill.com to learn more or call us to talk about your specific needs.
These stories that describe loss of life are tragic for the workers, their families and the companies that failed to protect them. Our mission is to keep workers safe every day. Share these stories with your workers so they have a greater awareness. Consider sharing our blog link with them so they can receive important safety messages every week to be more aware of safety dangers and to learn from our perspective and focus on keeping workers safe.
Have a safe day!