Monday, July 03, 2006

Bad Bosses: Safety Edition

I stopped by Working America's My Bad Boss Contest tonight to check out the safety stories. Here are my "favorites":

From Mary in a Maryland lab:
I decided to start to bring us into compliance with all state and federal regulations by addressing what I thought were 2 "minor" issues. One was the provision of non-prescription safety glasses to all who wanted to enter the laboratories. Although we were a multi million dollar laboratory, the 'powers that be' couldn't (or wouldn't) justify the purchase of these safety glasses because "they might walk away" . These "safety glasses" sell for about 75 cents/pair! The second issue I thought would be easy to address was to remove the obstructions from safety showers. I was told that while the safety showers are "assumed" to work, they've not been tested for years, so that would justify the boxes of materials stored under them. Oh yes, IF there was such a need for the safety shower, and IF it worked, and IF one were to move the boxes out of the way to use the shower, the same person would need to move the large open-ended cylinders of acid baths that remained under the shower!
And then this, from Link in Ohio:
The company I work for had me go in an underground compartment where all of the aluminum chips and old coolant are stored and had me crawl around in there inspecting the compartment and cleaning in out. You literally have to crawl because this compartment is approximately 4' high. There is no adequate ventilation whatsoever and the only proper safety equipment they issue me is a pair of safety glasses, rubber gloves and rubber boots. The heat in this compartment is ridiculous not to mention the smell of the old coolant, which smells of ammonia. Old coolant that looks like 'snot' drips on you from above, going down your shirt, pants, boots, gloves and in your face. The safety glasses don't help very much.

Well because of these factors, the old coolant got into my eyes and irratated them so bad that I had serious vision problems for about 2 weeks. The eye doctor was noted as saying that he had never seen something like this before. The company paid for the eye doctor to help me but nothing was done to correct the problem in the future and I never even received, at the least, an apology.
From Shelly in Montana
The steps I use to get to my station at work had been remodeled and were not built properly. I fell down them, hitting my elbow, knee and rib cage. I was in a lot of pain. The next morning I called my boss and said I had been awake most of the night in agony and would not be in. I could barely walk and it hurt to breathe because of my ribs. An hour later the big boss called and said the company does not allow lost time accidents and told me to report to work. They said I could do light duty in another part of the plant. To make matters worse the safety committee that investigated my accident was made up of the boss that ordered the stair change,one of the millwrights who built the stair and the father of the other millwright. They called the accident an unsafe act. I guess I fell down them on purpose!
This one's from Hanna and it's getting my vote:
That same manager also implemented an embarrassing (and happily short-lived) safety incentive: Employees caught violating safety procedure were immediately given a two-foot rubber chicken on a string to wear around their necks--in front of customers. To get rid of the chicken, an employee needed to catch another employee behaving "unsafely." The practice quickly decended into a game of hot potato, with employees chasing one another around the store in search of the slightest violation to rid themselves of the safety chicken.
Go check it out. You can vote on your favorites, or leave your own story -- and a chance to win a vacation.