This monthly safety message serves to raise awareness and enhance employee quality of life in your company. This monthly message deals with “Production over Safety.”

Production over safety: Training delayed, finger chopped off!

Companies need to make a profit to stay in business. But when production is placed ahead of training and safety, it often ends in disaster. That’s why no employee should ever use any equipment without machine-specific training, no matter what production demands.

Scenario

“Emma, I need to transfer you to the cutting department,” said her Supervisors. “We only have one girl over there and work is backing up fast. We have plenty of people here in sewing and since you’ve only been here a day, it’s easiest to move you.” “But I don’t know how to use the cutting machines,” said Emma Pang.

“Don’t worry about it. It’s easy,” said her Supervisor. “Gail’s over there now, and she’ll show you how to use them. “We have a new group of employees starting in a week and you can go through the formal training process with them,” she added.

Quick demo

“You must be Emma,” said Gail. “Glad you’re here. I can’t keep up with all this.”
“I’ve never used a cutting machine before,” said Emma. “No problem,” said Gail. “I can show you the ropes.
“The material goes on this, feeds through the machine and comes out the other end,” said Gail. “Easy, right?”
Emma gave a half-hearted smile.
“This machine behind you gets loaded here,” said Gail. “But I’ll use this one, and you use that one.”
By her fourth day, Emma was feeling good about the machines, despite the operation buttons not being labeled or color coded. She even got to work early so she could get a jumpstart on her workload.
Since Gail wasn’t there, Emma decided to operate both cutting machines. All Emma had to do was make sure the machines didn’t jam.

Ignored guard

As Emma was straightening out the material on her machine, the other one stopped. A piece of material was stuck between the blades. She wasn’t sure which button stopped the machine, since they weren’t labeled. But she had a feeling which one it was and pushed it. Then she reached up under the guard between the blades to pull the material loose when the blade came down and severed her left index finger. Emma was rushed to the hospital by ambulance. But doctors could not reattach her finger. When Emma contacted her HR manager the day after the accident, she was told there would be a position available for her that she could do with one hand when she recovered. Five days after the accident, she finally attended a company orientation. While she was there, she found out the company put a new guard on the machine. When Emma called about a week after orientation to say she’d been cleared for work, she was told she’d been let go because no work was available for her.

Tested positive

Emma filed a workers’ comp claim, which was denied because her urine test performed at the hospital on the day of her accident came back positive for marijuana use.
She fought back saying she only used it occasionally, only on weekends and hadn’t used it in four weeks.

Result

An administrative law judge found Emma to be a credible witness and ruled she was entitled to comp. But the ruling was overturned by the state’s Workers’ Comp Commission.
Despite an appeal, Emma lost. The appeals court said Emma wasn’t a credible witness because if she hadn’t used marijuana in a month, it wouldn’t have shown up in her urine, and she used poor judgment reaching up under the blade guard.
Key: This accident more than likely would’ve never happened had Emma received the proper training.
No employee should ever use any equipment without machine-specific training, no matter what production demands.

What you need to know

Companies need to make a profit to stay in business. But when production is placed ahead of training and safety, it often ends in disaster. Employees need machine-specific training on every piece of equipment they use. If a machine has moving parts, it has numerous hazards workers need to be educated on. And don’t forget to document any and all training.

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