Ignoring Blatant Safety Hazards

Discussion in 'UPS Discussions' started by TearsInRain, Nov 17, 2010.

  1. TearsInRain

    TearsInRain IE boogeyman

    i'm a part-time supe on a preload belt

    today, we moved some trucks around mid-day :biting: and one of my employees ended up with two trucks that had openings 4in shorter than himself.
    i'm not a very tall guy myself and these openings were brushing the top of my head.

    after hitting his head 4 times, then complaining of dizziness, he came to me and told me the issue

    i immediately ordered a much shorter employee to switch trucks with him

    however, my full-time manager was standing right there and overruled me, on the grounds that "it would increase misloads" :surprised:

    i pointed out it was a blatant safety issue, but he ignored this, so i went to the center manager standing 40 feet away and repeated the situation to him.
    he told me to do what i thought was best, "but there might be consequences"
    undeterred, i repeated my instructions, only to have them shouted down by my co-supe and my full-time again.

    we convened off the belt and the in-between-the-lines message i got was that my employee would "have to deal with it" and not to push it "or else there will be consequences"

    i went and found the shop steward and told him of the situation so he might be grieving, and i told my employee to call OSHA.

    is there anything i can do, without losing my job, or am i basically just a cog in the wheel here?

    it just makes me furious because my center manager preaches safety, safety, safety EVERY SINGLE DAY, yet when confronted with a BLATANT unsafe work condition, completely ignores it and even threatens my job
  2. Coldworld

    Coldworld Taking it all back.....

    You did the right thing...absolutely. once again here's another supervisor who actually cares and will probably be slammed by the mgt on these boards especially ups sockpuppet.....
  3. rod

    rod retired and happy

    They only preach safety----they don't actually practice it.
  4. ajblakejr

    ajblakejr Age quod agis

    Rod, with respect.

    Supervisors preach safety; some Supervisors believe in safety. practice safety and lead by example.
    The OP decided to be a leader and the Manager should have recognized it and supported him.
  5. FracusBrown

    FracusBrown Ponies and Planes

    Sounds like bull to me. You have a guy that hit his head hard enough to cause dizziness and you still have him loading trucks? If that's the case, the whole management team deserves to get fired for not reporting the injury. Concussions don't clear up on their own in a few minutes.
  6. brownmonster

    brownmonster Man of Great Wisdom

    Maybe we should finally get rid of some of these old trucks that were designed back when people were 5 feet tall.
  7. brownedout

    brownedout New Member

    I remember those old bubble-nosed P-600's. Specifically the ones with the wooden bulk-head doors. Now I'm a little over 6' 3" so I will have some trouble navigating most entrances. But these things were downright lethal. Couple of hits and I'd be seeing *****. They were beasts (in a good way) in the deep snow however. All the same glad there's no more of them around.
  8. rod

    rod retired and happy

    Yes he should have but what color is the sky in your world to even dream that a manager would put safety ahead of production if it affected his numbers. :happy2:
    Lasted edited by : Nov 18, 2010
  9. JonFrum

    JonFrum Member

    You have "whistleblower protection" through the Department of Labor and OSHA. (UPS desperately needs to stay in OSHA's good graces.")
    - - - -
    You can also have the preloader formally ask for a "job accommodation" in the form of a set of package cars with higher head room. See Article 14, Section 3. And . . .
    - - - -
    Does everyone remember Max Headroom and how he got his name?
  10. p228

    p228 Member

    Obviously, none of you have worked in an air op. The average air can, the A2, is about 7ft high inside but the door is about 5' 10". The even smaller cans, the L9, are about 5' 3" inside with the door being about 4' 8" high. All you have to do is duck down before entering. The containers get as many, if not more, packages than a package car and a loader may be covering multiple cans. The cans are loaded everyday by people who are taller than the entrances yet there are no injuries as a result. It isn't complicated. Just watch where you are going and duck down.
  11. over9five

    over9five Moderator Staff Member

    M-m-m-m-Max. Yup. Last thing he saw was.....

  12. JonFrum

    JonFrum Member

    Actually I have loaded air cans, including the very short L-9.

    How can you say there are no injuries? How would you know?

    Air cans must have low entrances and ceilings because they have to fit in the air planes. UPS really doesn't have a choice. And besides, employees know what they are getting into when they apply or later bid into that specific job.

    The preloader was use to loading normal package cars with adequate enterances. There was no need for UPS to assign a taller person to the few low-enterance package cars. They could have easily assigned the cars to a shorter preloader.

    People in the submarine service, by necessity, are not allowed to sleep with the windows open. But that doesn't mean the Government should make the rest of us suffer unnecessarily.
  13. FracusBrown

    FracusBrown Ponies and Planes

    In order to blow the whistle there has to be a violation to blow the whistle on. I'd love to see where you found that the truck is manufactured in violation of OSHA safety standards or that it's against the law to require an employee to duck their head when entering or exiting a vehicle.

    In order to request reasonable accommodation you must have a legitimate handicap. Being of normal height is not a handicap. The standard also requires that the accommodation be reasonable, meaning that is must not unreasonable. Suggesting that every opening that every employee enters must be designed to meet the height of every employee is hardly reasonable. The employee must also be able to perform the basic functions of the job. Lifting, bending, lowering and entering and exiting the existing equipment is an essential function of the loaders job.

    Based upon your comments above, the Navy would need to make the sub doorways taller than every sailor on the sub or put the sailor on a bigger ship. A person diagnosed with claustrophobia (which is a legitimate handicap) would be entitled to unlimited open space in a sub????
  14. p228

    p228 Member

    District safety reports. Can't remember the last time I heard of a head injury from a container. Maybe in other areas of the country people are dropping like flies as a result but not here.

    Bid into? Nearly all the air loaders did not bid into the job. You get hired and are assigned to an area based on the needs of the operation. If the air belts need help you are assigned there.

    Improvise, adapt and overcome. While I can't speak for everyone, the average person, upon hitting his head once would take the initiative to prevent that from happening again. How anyone can make the exact same mistake four times without correcting the problem is rather amazing.

    What's more, I've never seen an air belt assign employees to a load based on one's height. You cover your own load and if you get an A1, awesome. If you get an L9, that sucks, but it is the job and you do it anyway. Having loaded plenty of L9s myself I can attest to the fact that they aren't fun but I have never ended up with a head injury as a result.

    Ensuring the safety of the operation and employees isn't just the responsibility of management. You need to take personal responsibility for your own safety.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2010
  15. JonFrum

    JonFrum Member

    You seem to have misunderstood my comments about air cans and submarines. They are cramped by necessity due to the nature of the situation. And people know that going in. On the other hand, a preloader has no way of knowing that somewhere down the road he will be assigned one of the few low-entry package cars, which he will have to duck into and out of a couple of hundred times per shift, while carrying a stack of packages, and looking down to watch his step. Why would Management deliberately assign the taller person, rather than the shorter person to these cars? And why would they stick to their guns, even after being told the preloader had repeatedly injured himself?

    The OSHA violation is that a job hazard was called to Management's attention and they refused to fix it even though a fix was readily at hand. Employers are under an obligation to provide a safe work environment. They are suppose to look for hazards and correct them on their own, but especially when actual injuries are reported. The fact that the hazardous situation was the result of a Management decision, just makes it all the worse.

    If ducking your head hundreds of times is listed on the Essential Job Functions of the Preloader sheet. Can you quote it to us?

    You don't have to be handicapped to get a job accommodation. We have various drivers that need seats that are lower than most, or higher, or that pull foreward more, or push back more. These people are not handicapped, just taller, or shorter, or fatter (caloricly-challenged) than most. If the seat will not adjust enough, the mechanics make an adjustment, or we give them a package car with a seat that fits them. That's called a reasonable accommodation. No big deal. The idea is to allow everyone to be productive and safe.
  16. scratch

    scratch Least Best Moderator Staff Member

    Off thread topic a little, but I got a chuckle out of this.

    My little brother is a cabinet maker supervisor by trade, and with the building business being what it is, he has not been employed much. He had to move in with our mom and has been taking any odd job he can find to make a few bucks, (his next one is as a 49 year old Driver's Helper in Wkmac's building!). Anyways, he had a temp job delivering those Yellowpages phonebooks a few weeks back. He had a phone contact for UPS Corporate, so he called somebody wanting to find out if and how many phonebooks they wanted. They wanted 200, so he hauls them around to the Recieving Dock at 55 Glenlake Parkway. He unloaded them on the dock and walked through the overhead door, the supervisor had a fit. He apologized saying he didn't know any better, re-entered and exited through the pedistrian door. The supervisor was pretty cool about it, he gave my brother a green 100 year anniversary jacket.
  17. JonFrum

    JonFrum Member

    Normally anyone bumping their head on a package car or air container would not show up on a District Safety Report. It doesn't mean it doesn't happen all the time, just that it wasn't serious enough to file a report on.

    Most full-time and part-time jobs are bidable according to the Contract.

    While employees are obligated to work smart and safe, it is the Company that initially creates the work environment. The employees must play the hands they are dealt. UPS is under obligation to provide safe work environments, and to adjust work environments by various labor laws, federal and state OSHA regulations, the Americans With Disabilities Act, Corporate Settlement Agreements, the National and Supplemental Contracts, the Safety Committee, and UPS Policy.

    UPSers are INSTRUCTED to follow the Five Steps to Avoid Slips and Falls. You are suppose to be looking down, looking toward your next step, scanning your walk path.
  18. p228

    p228 Member

    The proper wording from the Five Keys to Prevent Slips and Falls is "Look before stepping, scan the work area". They are worded in such a way to be vague enough to be used by all employees no matter what the job function yet still convey the need for safety. The fifth key was originally "Make adjustments for changing weather conditions." Since that really didn't apply to inside employees it was changed from 'weather' to 'working' so it would apply to everyone.

    For a preloader the work area is the package car and the belt. He needs to be aware of his environment throughout the shift and that is done by looking around not just down. While the most hazardous area is typically the floor in the form of fallen packages, it is not the only one. The size of the package car door is not going to change during the shift it is a constant. It should be easy to account for when entering/exiting. The fact that the doors are low should be determined by the hourly in the beginning of the shift during the job setup.
  19. FracusBrown

    FracusBrown Ponies and Planes

    I understand your point, but the situation doesn't meet the requirements to be a violation ADA or OSHA standards.
  20. JonFrum

    JonFrum Member

    If a preloader is loading four cars, and one or more are low-clearance, then each time he enters and exits is a new situation because he is rotating among the four cars.

    Remember he is required to carry an optimum load each time, check PAL labels and shipper labels, keep an eye out for old labels and Hazmat markings, and decide where to put the packages.

    If a preloader has been "programed" to expect a normal head clearance by days, or years of preloading, it will take a lot more than a simple one-time situational assement to break the old habits and replace them with the new. He will revert back to the old habit (and bump his head) just as you would if it were you. Just as a driver will occasionally reach for the stick shift knob even though he is now starting his personal car which is an automatic.