Just had an OSHA inspection. We fired an employee, with cause (failure to show up to work!) His unemployment was denied and he was pissed. Of course the inspector said that wasn't the reason for the inspection, coincidence!
List of things we are sighted for: drill press with out guard around bit. A 4x4 electrical box on a power cord, the SawStop table saw had the splitter in place but not the blade guard covering the blade. He wouldn't accept the technology as being a substitute. Our safety committee record had some time frames that were further apart for meetings than allowed. Our employee manual has some things out of order and looking a bit worn but he didn't site us on that.
He will be back Feb 1 to see that we have corrected everything and determine what the penalties will be.
What kind of guards to you have on a drill press spindle that meet OSHA?
Some years ago a fella ran out the door screaming he was gonna call osha. so I called them, found out two things, 1) they do not listen to disgruntled employees and 2) by calling them I became a voluntary request and with a scheduled inspection they would not fine me as long as I cleared up any violations.
it was not Voodoo and in the last 20 years I have been inspected several times. because I chose voluntary sometimes the inspections are scheduled.
We made a small U shaped box out of 1/2" ply painted it red and tied a string to it and the drill press when not in use just slip the little box around the bit, this satisfied our inspector. same for the band saw etc.
How does putting a box around the bit when it is not in use do any good? Our inspector said we had to have a guard so clothing could not get caught in the spinning bit.
We've got 12 saws of various types in the shop. The only one he had a problem with is the safest one. The SawStop!
I just talked to a lady that works for a commercial cabinet shop,she said they got a visit from OSHA shortly after they fired an employee. That visit is going to cost them about 50-60k dollars.They have to get a dust collection for outdoors,spray room violations,and some other things.They don't know for sure if it was the employee that called them,but it was quite a coincidence.
Most of 'our' work is site work vs. shop, but I would believe the same principle could apply.
4 years back we began OHSA training for our employees. The 10hr course was the minimal and the 30hr course for Lead or Foreman.
Currently we're bringing everyone up to the 30hr.
Since we implemented this, our occurrences with OSHA have gone much smoother.
Being the last citation we received we were able to defend properly and had it removed. (Cited for a non-GFI splitter plugged into battery chargers)
As James did, we did also. We took first steps. We also, as James did, invited them in to our Warehouse / Shop and asked them where we can improve.
Educate your employees.
Take the first step.
OSHA does not have to be feared.
You are correct that technology has made the workplace safer.
I do my best when inspecting businesses to be as reasonable as possible. But, let's face it, we need to make money to pay our bills just like you do. I'm not going to stick a customer with a $50k bill if it's not warranted. But I'll get a few grand in fees out of most inspections. Keeps me employed and the bosses happy.
OSHA fines can be negotiated, if the inspector made a comment like you look good except this needs to be corrected but I think its minor, and the fine on the "minor" is the full amount then document it.
We used a third party that did the negotiation for us a few years back, we got the max reduction in the fines which was 15k to about 1400.
It was the same simple stuff outlets, fire extinguisher locations, blow off nozzles.
We went through an OSHA inspection a few years ago. The long and the short is that we were not cited for any complaint that was filed. What we were cited for was mainly administrative items such as OSHA 30 log. Written policies and most importantly LOTO procedures. Fine dust is in their sights these days. Shop-vacs are not suitable for industrial uses and blowing down a woodshed is a no no.
Any fines are negotiable and you can pay them over the course of 3 years. They don't advertise it. You need to ask.
I'm sorry, but maybe I'm the only one upset over this statement.
"I do my best when inspecting businesses to be as reasonable as possible. But, let's face it, we need to make money to pay our bills just like you do. I'm not going to stick a customer with a $50k bill if it's not warranted. But I'll get a few grand in fees out of most inspections. Keeps me employed and the bosses happy."
The reason for OSHA is just that.. "Occupational Safety" and "Health" of the employee.
It is 'NOT' to raise money to fund their Agency.
OSHA is a Government Agency, funded through the General fund. It is NOT a For-Profit Organization.
This is for a very simple reason.. The Safety of the employee!
I pray I never come across an Inspector that makes such a statement.
I would make it my Mission to have him or her removed from their position.
I, personally am offended by the statement. My opinion, my feelings on the statement.
When OSHA was originally set up it was a self funded agency. I don't know if it still is or not.
We have a heavy cord hanging 8' above the floor with a 4x4 box and 120V outlet. It was put in by a licensed electrician for when we need to power an occasionally used tool that is moved out into the shop. The inspector told me it was in violation because the metal box had knockouts. They could fall out and then someone could put their finger in and get electrocuted. He didn't say anything about the same boxes that line the walls on conduit.
I went to OSHA's site on-line and looked up drill presses. The chuck and bit must be enclosed so no contact can be made while in operation. The bit enclosure should rest on the work and retract as the hole is drilled. The wood must be clamped to the table, not held by hand. The machine must be shut off before moving the work to the next hole. When finished with the drill press the chuck must be removed.
Seeing as how all of you are very safety minded I'm sure that is how your drill press is used. Right! REALLY, remove the chuck!
The SawStop must have a totally enclosed blade to prevent amputations. According to the inspector, OSHA currently is emphasizing amputation prevention & dust control. As usual paperwork was high on the list for amputation prevention.
Larry, to the first, they are funded through the General fund.
To the second, replace the cord with a factory multi plug end and you're in compliance.
We came across this issue several times on the jobsites, even when proper replacement ends were attached. We now throw them out and buy new ones.
I was not trying to offend, just trying to give you a perspective of the realities we face. Our fines are no different in principle than paying a speeding ticket. The police department needs money to fund their operations, just like we need money to fund ours.
Now, ideally the public would elect people who would raise taxes to reasonable levels in order to fully fund agencies like ours. But instead they pander anti-tax 'have your cake and eat it too' nonsense. And that puts the onus on us to raise money via fines like I explained.
And in one sense, the fines make a bit more sense than higher taxes in that those who "use" our services foot more of the bill for that service than the general public who does not as directly use our service (though they do to some degree).
Hope that helps. And if I do inspect your shop someday, I promise to not be too onerous with the penalties I impose upon you.
I just finished an informal survey of all cabinetshop owners in Seattle.
Every one of us thinks the safety inspectors are doing a much needed job and are greatly unappreciated. We are in the process of forming a lobbying organization. The express purpose of this organization is to petition the legislature to increase the pay and benefits and pension plans of all clerical and inspection staff for safety agencies at the state and Federal level.
We have bi-monthly meetings. If anyone is interested in receiving our monthly newsletter or purchasing advertising in this newsletter please contact the editor.
Pat for the most part I take your personal opinions with a grain of salt, but this one I feel compelled to respond to, Lumping all into one sterotype is a sign of non investigation or a lack of actual experience. I have family thru the 50s to today who are school teachers firefighters at both local and federal level, family in ATF, DEA, local, state police and military which includes Me, My mother was a State level director her whole career for for the SC Housing authority. All of what you said where they are concerned could not be further from the truth. Now I got one Uncle (Married in) whom I have never been proud of and have few words of conversation for him. You see he is a southern Racist pure and to the core, Problem is he served as a High school principle his entire career, when I think of how many minoritys did not go to college did not excel in life as a direct result of his doing (His words) my heart sinks when I hear opinions like yours. now in the crack of public service he got away with it. it is this that makes me look harder at agendas like the ones you preach it is this and some other (Screw most anyone who does not agree) the thought of an all private controlled society void of rules and consequences that scare us most. in my opinion this is a very selfish agenda to take. problem with my Uncle (Married in) is you and Him seem to share the same ideas
I think your appraisal of Pat is overly harsh. While I can close my eyes and imagine many people like your uncle, Pat is not one of them.
Pat's generally wrong, however, whenever he contends that all things government are bad and all things free enterprise are good. Try getting even a small cabinetshop to deviate on policy sometime and you will see they are no different than Comcast. If you think private business is nimble try getting any kind of anomalous customer service from an Apple Store.
My intentions are to compare the Private vs Public opinions,, I have no reason to think Ill of Pat or that he shares all traits with my Uncle. his contributions do matter as I am someone who belives in checks and balances in gov't and private industry.
My sincerest apologies if my post took on any other meaning than that.
Pat is right, however, about the rigidity of government.
When I was about 23 the city wanted to cut our water off because we hadn't paid the bill. The part of town we lived in had been annexed by the city decades earlier and had consequently inherited an old private water system. The pipes were so corroded that you couldn't draw water fast enough to keep it warm while you filled the tub.
This old privately owned water system was a bit funky in that the pipes tended to meander a bit in ownership. The neighbor across the alley somehow received water from our pipe.
So when the city said we had to pay the bill or else we calmly explained that they couldn't shut our water off because that would mean they had to cut Ben & Molly's off too.
The local government, of course, didn't have any provision for that but they did have a public works department. They brought out backhoes and dump trucks and spent three days piping in about 500 feet of brand new one inch copper to our house and the neighbor's too. They were going to get their money no matter what.
We, of course, went down to city hall and paid the $35 we owed. Since our bill was paid up they couldn't shut our water off. You could have a hot bath when we were done.
For what it is worth I did get the Apple Store to release the batteries for my laptop to an employee of mine that drove in to pick them up. All I had to do was politely explain to the young store manager that if I had to personally drive in to get the batteries we were going to turn this into a youtube event.
So I guess Pat was right: Government=Inflexible. Private Industry = Problem Solvers.
Regarding James's reply, there is infinitely less racism in the private sector, simply because, you're racism is going to cost you in the private sector.
As far as my narrow mindedness regarding the economics of this subject goes, my response is, Thank you. As a free market advocate and an advocate of people it is a mistake to conflate me with your uncle.
It makes me grateful that we have government regulators to keep the loggers from clearcutting all the cedar forests. Land use management is what keeps the forest lands available for pencil production and cabinetmaking.
To OSHA Inspector;
Your statement and excuse of such does not hold water!
Your job (Agency) does not depend on your income (fines)!
It maintains only upon reduction of accidents.
Whether the Agency brings in $20 or $20m does not change the allocation it receives.
In deed, if you were to bring in greater than your allotment, that addition goes to the general fund and is dispersed elsewhere.
To Government, that would make you a cash cow and drive your Agency to something it was never meant to be.
Your point of Police fining to support their Agency is a false claim.
They are also allocated funds from the General Fund and excess being placed into the General fund.
In point of what I'm trying to get across to you.
The moneys you fine are better used to upgrade or fix the issue.
Same way the Police use the 'Fix it' ticket.
You have 30 days to fix it or pay the fine.
Yes, I am offended by your attitude towards your profession.
I do hope we do not meet.
If this is your attitude, we 'will' have an issue.
I have seven drop cams in shop all record for ten days back at 200 for camera and with discounts for multiples about 500 a year, alarms mw of all kinds of things on the smart phone tablets and any computer. so far it caught a burgular withing three hours, successfully used as evidence in a bad situation and served to prevent a bad WC claim. I had them in my Bars I owned in the early 90s, videotaped a public official saying some things he should not say and the state of SC abolished the Alcohol, Beverage Control commission shortly after....
lost of ways to do this but this one has proved quite manageable and effective at a controlled cost just needs wifi and a power outlet..
this is a live feed from one at a corner near one of the edgebanders
I don't mean to sound condescending, but you seem a little naive about how government actually works versus how it 'ought' to work. The vast majority of people working in government are folks with good intentions. But just like everywhere else, you get the power hungry cronies that make their way to the top and control the purse strings.
Technically, it doesn't matter how much the guys on the street like me collect in fines. But of COURSE it matters to our bosses. And of COURSE it affects how much money gets allocated to our department every year, which in turn affects the salaries of the bosses at the top of my agency.
Most of the OSHA foot soldiers like me are actually on your side. Granted, there are some jerks out there. But you have to realize that even the nice guys like me want to keep our bosses happy, and that means bringing in some money. I try to keep it reasonable. And the more reasonable that people are with me, the less money I'll try to stick them for.
You can argue the morality of it, but that's how it works in practice.
You are blinding by dogma.
The fishing industry, if left unabated, would decimate the ocean. This decimation would, of course, not be in the fisherman's ultimate interest but would still happen nonetheless.
There is a reason Somalia is not considered a paragon of financial prosperity. This country generally takes a pretty minimalist approach to regulation but the invisible hand of the marketplace does not seem to protect them.
By the way, the answer to question 2 is Yes. Bio-diversity within the ecosystem is very important to our welfare. Plausible deniability is what keeps lawyers employed.
No dogma here. Regulations do no good regarding fishing because there is no ownership of the waters. It is called the tragedy of the commons:
DEFINITION of 'Tragedy Of The Commons' An economic problem in which every individual tries to reap the greatest benefit from a given resource. As the demand for the resource overwhelms the supply, every individual who consumes an additional unit directly harms others who can no longer enjoy the benefits.
Actually the best solution for this problem is to privatize the water. This sounds crazy but none the less if the water was owned it would alleviate the problem.
The fact is Somalia has had an increasing standard of living ever since they gave their leader the boot. They use a system called Xerces law that is basically common law and has served them very well. In fact this country could take a lesson from them on this law.
I will take your word on the importance of bio diversity, I know nothing about it.
The corollary to the Salk, Fleming metaphor would be that if the government would not have conducted the Manhattan Project, the A bombs would not have been dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima saving at least 130,000 civilian lives.
Not to mention that almost EVERY SINGLE invention came from the private sector and an individual in it. How would the standard of living look if we did not have these inventions?
Econ 101 covered this before. Arpa net was invented by someone working in government. But to say that was responsible for what we have today is imbecilic.
The problem with attributing the invention of different things to the government is that the government does not respond to the market place through price discovery. IOW one has to ask the question: "would anyone pay the price for what the government produces at what the government charges?" You know the $400 hammer type of stuff.
Where as the private sector is constantly giving the customer more for less. Consider communications, or transportation, or medicine, or entertainment, or or or all giving exponentially more features at a lower cost.
Without government regulation there would be no free enterprise. Just like the local constabulary protects the grocery store from being stolen blind, the government provides patent protection and remedy for infringement.
Think for a second what your average grocery store looks like. Over half the real estate is committed to asphalt parking. Since this surface is impermeable the runoff water has to be collected and channeled. Your invisible hand is only going to rhetorically protect that runoff because nobody is insisting that they do and it doesn't make them a nickel.
Free enterprise is a wonderful thing and the world is much better off because of it. Without government to educate the cannon fodder you could not have free enterprise or roads to get the groceries through, except for maybe in the Camelot of your mind.
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