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View Full Version : Can't spell OH SHI* with out OSHA....



WhatTheFlux!
09-22-2013, 01:33 PM
Bit of a debate going on here.

Got a worker in from a very small company that was apparently not a good place to work and VERY unsafe to boot. Now some of it is unhappy-worker bull-weaving and some of it is true. We've all worked for bad shops.

He mentioned that the owner of the shop refused to enforce any sort of safety standard because they were a five man shop and therefore "exempt" from ALL OSHA regulation.

According to what I know, the only exemption is for record-keeping. You still have to (for example) provide eye protection, hearing protection and dust masks if requires... and control chemical exposure and so forth. I am unaware of any sort of broad total safety exemption for small manufacturing businesses.

Reason I ask is this is not the first time I've heard someone claim a total exemption from OSHA. However now that I'm in the roll of compliance and enforcement at this job I have access to quite a bit of OSHA resources.

After searching the site and my manuals over the last three days, as I mention I only found a record-keeping exemption and an exemption for "family farms, churches and certain types of office enviroment."

Anyone with more experience out there know what's what on this subject?

Dr Stan
09-22-2013, 01:46 PM
My current employer participates in the VPP, I have passed the OSHA certification and I have taught safety at the university level. The owner is NOT exempt from following OSHA regulations. He can either get in compliance or face complete financial ruin when someone is severely injured. Its only a matter of when, not if.

KiddZimaHater
09-22-2013, 01:50 PM
The owner can refuse to enforce any OSHA rules, but if any OSHA goons (inspectors) happen to walk into his shop, he's screwed.
Recently, a former shop where I worked was fined for no guard on the drill press, and no guard on the cylindrical grinder.
Bear in mind that neither machine was manufactured with guards, but OSHA didn't care.

flylo
09-22-2013, 02:25 PM
I can see it now "Bridgeport Tabernacle" Precideded over by Sir John MBE. Bridgeport baptisms every tuesday 7PM Sharp on the cliff overlooking the ocean. No charge but tips gratefully accepted. Our motto is "We don't sprinkle, we sink & crash"

CCWKen
09-22-2013, 02:49 PM
There was a recent cabinet shop in San Antonio that shut down after receiving $250K in OSHA fines. Maybe not the only cause but I'm sure that played a big part of the decision to close the doors. It put 900 people out of work with no notice. The gates were locked when folks started showing up on a Monday morning. The feds must be proud. That will certainly put 900 more folks on the government dependency roles.

KiddZimaHater
09-22-2013, 02:57 PM
Yeah Ken, I read about that as well. They were fined for not having 'proper' ventilation and air filtration systems in their cabinet shop. 900 more people added to the unemployment lines.

lazlo
09-22-2013, 03:15 PM
There was a recent cabinet shop in San Antonio that shut down after receiving $250K in OSHA fines.
It put 900 people out of work with no notice. The gates were locked when folks started showing up on a Monday morning. The feds must be proud.

Except that's not what happened. Christ, it's amazing how people can manipulate a story to fit their views of right and wrong :(

Cardell Cabinetry has repeatedly been in trouble for severe fire hazards (immense piles of wood dust everywhere), and lack of even the most primitive containment for spraying varnish. They've settled the fines in the past -- it's cheaper than actually fixing the problems.

http://www.mysanantonio.com/business/local/article/OSHA-fines-local-cabinet-company-4736360.php

They're under a class action lawsuit from their employees for shutting down the plant without warning, with 900 employees owed unpaid compensation, vacation and other benefits:

http://www.mysanantonio.com/default/article/Former-worker-sues-Cardell-Cabinetry-4819277.php

But the real reason they suddenly shut down had nothing to do with their latest OSHA fines. It had to do with being $45 million in debt:

http://www.woodworkingnetwork.com/wood-market-trends/woodworking-industry-news/production-woodworking-news/Cardell-Cabinetry-Out-of-Business-223135881.html


"the company owed its unsecured creditors more than $15 million and its lenders in excess of $30 million, and it did not have sufficient liquidity to manufacture products to meet outstanding orders."

tyrone shewlaces
09-22-2013, 03:36 PM
Being exempt from OSHA regulations would be kinda like being exempt from child labor laws or discrimination laws or the like. I don't know, but I think OSHA will only come and inspect, if they put it into their schedule, only after they get a complaint or after there is an injury or illness or something, and maybe if a company is big enough or has to deal with chemical issues or something. Once you're exposed to "the man" you may have a hassle on your hands as a business owner.
However, I don't think OSHA requires businesses to provide basic safety equipment such as eye protection, gloves or steel toe footwear or the like. They may dictate that a shop require the use of things like that, but it doesn't mandate that the company provide it for free. I don't know where the line is drawn, but certain safety equipment which is more expensive such as safety harnesses, high-end respirators or other items which "follow the worker around" may be mandatory employer responsibility, as well as stationary company equipment like exhaust equipment and guards and such.
I know I've worked a few places which were somewhat regularly inspected by OSHA did not provide gloves, boots, eyewear or the like to us workers. We had to buy our own.

WhatTheFlux!
09-22-2013, 04:24 PM
At least around here you are required to provide the absolute minimum quality safety goggles and hearing protections. MOST companies get a slightly better grade because most companies aren't out to "get" workers in that regard. If you can't see through your Dollar General goggles you can't do your job.

Not sure if that's an OSHA or state-level requirement. Might be state as I don't see it in my manual.

Mike Amick
09-22-2013, 04:45 PM
Except that's not what happened. Christ, it's amazing how people can manipulate a story to fit their views of right and wrong :(




You rock Lazlo ..

CCWKen
09-22-2013, 06:12 PM
And I suppose the extra capital expenditures to be compliant on top of the $45 million had nothing to do with it? I said the fine wasn't the only cause. It could be that the feds wanted another $45M in improvements. I just don't think US companies should be penalized any more than the companies that import their products made under the same conditions.

And for those that can't think for themselves, here's what I'm saying:
No imported products should be allowed into the US until the factory has been inspected and passed by US OSHA. It's just that simple.

Dr Stan
09-22-2013, 06:19 PM
I think OSHA will only come and inspect, if they put it into their schedule, only after they get a complaint or after there is an injury or illness or something, and maybe if a company is big enough or has to deal with chemical issues or something.

However, I don't think OSHA requires businesses to provide basic safety equipment such as eye protection, gloves or steel toe footwear or the like. They may dictate that a shop require the use of things like that, but it doesn't mandate that the company provide it for free.


The reality is that the Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II administrations eviscerated OSHA. There are so few inspectors it is incredulous. On top of that many states now run their own OSHA compliance programs. As you can imagine the program in a state like Texas is nothing but a joke. Its only after accumulating a massive number of "recordables" and/or serious injuries/fatalities will the inspectors show up.

For those who slam OSHA for only political gain as one of my OSHA instructors said "every word in the OSHA regulations is written in blood". If companies had acted in an ethical manner and provided safe working environments OSHA would have never been implemented (by Nixon BTW).

As far as for providing safety equipment it took a US Supreme Court ruling, but now employers are required to provide the necessary PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) including everything from safety glasses to "moon suits" as needed for the job.

Dr Stan
09-22-2013, 06:22 PM
And I suppose the extra capital expenditures to be compliant on top of the $45 million had nothing to do with it? I said the fine wasn't the only cause. It could be that the feds wanted another $45M in improvements. I just don't think US companies should be penalized any more than the companies that import their products made under the same conditions.

Tell that to the survivors in the town of West, TX.

Mike Amick
09-22-2013, 06:39 PM
I just don't think US companies should be penalized any more than the companies that import their products made under the same conditions.

And for those that can't think for themselves, here's what I'm saying:
No imported products should be allowed into the US until the factory has been inspected and passed by US OSHA. It's just that simple.

Actually Ken, a lot of us would agree on that one. Its not that the regulations on the U.S.
facilities should be lessened, as you said .. the importers should be penalized.

The problem is, others on your side won't even let that be discussed.

Edwin Dirnbeck
09-22-2013, 07:17 PM
There was a recent cabinet shop in San Antonio that shut down after receiving $250K in OSHA fines. Maybe not the only cause but I'm sure that played a big part of the decision to close the doors. It put 900 people out of work with no notice. The gates were locked when folks started showing up on a Monday morning. The feds must be proud. That will certainly put 900 more folks on the government dependency roles. I would like to research this case .Could you please provide the name of this 900 person shop that shut down ? A google search found nothing. Thank you Edwi Dirnbeck

CCWKen
09-22-2013, 07:28 PM
http://www.cardell.com/history.htm

Cardell Cabinetry
3215 N Panam Expy San Antonio, TX 78219

http://www.woodworkingnetwork.com/wood-market-trends/woodworking-industry-news/production-woodworking-news/Cardell-Cabinetry-Cited-for-29-ComDust-OSHA-Violations-219939501.html#sthash.QPHLk9b4.dpbs

It's a good thing OSHA doesn't visit your home shop. You could get a $65,000 fine for running your compressor set too high.

Edwin Dirnbeck
09-22-2013, 07:30 PM
There was a recent cabinet shop in San Antonio that shut down after receiving $250K in OSHA fines. Maybe not the only cause but I'm sure that played a big part of the decision to close the doors. It put 900 people out of work with no notice. The gates were locked when folks started showing up on a Monday morning. The feds must be proud. That will certainly put 900 more folks on the government dependency roles.The company didnt shut down .It move to Roswell NM.

CCWKen
09-22-2013, 07:51 PM
It did shut down. You're viewing retail outlets for Cardell Cabinets. Pay attention. :)

lazlo
09-22-2013, 08:25 PM
Actually Ken, a lot of us would agree on that one. Its not that the regulations on the U.S.
facilities should be lessened, as you said .. the importers should be penalized.

I also agree wholeheartedly! No one should be forced to work in a factory with haphazard mountains of fine wood dust or spray clear coats without proper ventilation. The goal isn't to lower American standards to match third world conditions. The goal is to have enough value add to produce competitive products in first-world conditions.


It did shut down. You're viewing retail outlets for Cardell Cabinets. Pay attention. :)

What you're both seeing, and the real cause of Cardell's bankruptcy, is that they were acquired by a billion dollar vulture capital firm (H.I.G. Capital) in 2010. They cut up and redistributed the company into subsidiaries with closely related names.


Cardell Cabinetry adds equity investor (http://www.woodworkingnetwork.com/news/woodworking-industry-news/cardell_cabinetry_adds_equity_investor_127780553.h tml)

H.I.G. Capital, which is a global private equity investment firm with more than $8.5 billion of equity capital under management, invests in management-led buyouts and recapitalizations manufacturing or service businesses. H.I.G. says its current portfolio includes more than 50 companies with combined revenues in excess of $8 billion, including American Hardwood Industries, Linden Lumber, and Witex Flooring Products.

I find it amusing that the Cardell webpage linked off H.I.G.'s site, proudly advertises "Green Manufacturing" and "Environmental Stewardship" :rolleyes:


http://www.cardellkitchens.com/kcma_esp.htm

The ESP certification program is designed to promote the sustainability of natural resources, reduce waste, and recognize environmentally conscious companies like Cardell Cabinetry, who focus on preserving and protecting the environment we all share.

To demonstrate our firm commitment responsibly, Cardell is proud to display the ESP seal on its products.

Cardell Cabinetry is an active member and participant in KCMA’s Performance Standard and Environmental Stewardship Programs, demonstrating our commitment to provide our customers with a quality cabinet or accessory that meets or exceeds KCMA standards for performance and environmental sustainability.

As a manufacturer, Cardell Cabinetry purchases materials that meet or exceed the requirements outlined by KCMA’s Environmental Stewardship Program for Environmentally Preferable Products. All plywood products comply with standards and specifications stipulated by the Hardwood Plywood & Veneer Association.

Cardell Cabinetry also encourages its material suppliers to pursue the initiatives established by the US Green Building Council for products and services, recognizing that establishing a new paradigm in the manufacturing setting requires planning, training, and implementation phases that will ensure long term sustainability.

The US Green Building Council is a non-profit organization dedicated to the design and development of environmentally responsible buildings and building practices. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System addresses all building types, and Cardell Cabinetry is actively engaging in LEED for Homes accreditation as a supplier to LEED certified projects.

WhatTheFlux!
09-22-2013, 08:43 PM
I also agree wholeheartedly! No one should be forced to work in a factory with haphazard mountains of fine wood dust or spray clear coats without proper ventilation. The goal isn't to lower American standards to match third world conditions. The goal is to have enough value add to produce competitive products in first-world conditions.


Sadly most companies only understand cost cutting, they don't know how to innovate or add value. They don't realize that $250,000 automated machine can replace 16 people who do the same task over and over... and allow them to quote competitively again... and reassign those folks to better jobs. Instead we have companies cutting costs, cutting corners, trying to create jobs to get tax credits and the situation spirals.

CCWKen
09-22-2013, 09:15 PM
LOL... There you go. Now add taxes into the mess. :) And just how to you reassign laborers to "better jobs"? That's exactly why no one in the US knows how to harvest lettuce. We have to rely on Imported Labor. It won't be long before we become a third world nation and nobody knows how to do anything on their own. There will be a select group of workers to service vending machines in their head-to-toe safety equipment and the rest will be on welfare.

J Tiers
09-22-2013, 10:15 PM
LOL... There you go. Now add taxes into the mess. :) And just how to you reassign laborers to "better jobs"? That's exactly why no one in the US knows how to harvest lettuce. We have to rely on Imported Labor. It won't be long before we become a third world nation and nobody knows how to do anything on their own. There will be a select group of workers to service vending machines in their head-to-toe safety equipment and the rest will be on welfare.

People in third world countries know a LOT about doing things on their own. Maybe not *right* ways to do it, but it gets done.... And nobody knew the "right" way to do ANYTHING until it was done and the results "evaluated". Started a long time ago. (Ugh, Grop try that, it no work, Grop dead. Better not do it that way.)

WhatTheFlux!
09-22-2013, 10:20 PM
LOL... There you go. Now add taxes into the mess. :) And just how to you reassign laborers to "better jobs"? That's exactly why no one in the US knows how to harvest lettuce. We have to rely on Imported Labor. It won't be long before we become a third world nation and nobody knows how to do anything on their own. There will be a select group of workers to service vending machines in their head-to-toe safety equipment and the rest will be on welfare.

Standing on a line pushing the same button over and over is not "doing something." Standing at a discharge chute and putting a product into a bin is not "work" fit for a human being. Automate that nonsense. Don't pay someone to do what a machine can do faster cheaper and better... train up a generation of STEM-skill empowered technicians and repairmen/women. Do not focus on creating another generation of folk who put stickers on a product or tighten screws because the owner doesn't understand the value of robotics.

wierdscience
09-22-2013, 10:54 PM
I also agree wholeheartedly! No one should be forced to work in a factory with haphazard mountains of fine wood dust or spray clear coats without proper ventilation. The goal isn't to lower American standards to match third world conditions. The goal is to have enough value add to produce competitive products in first-world conditions.

Dear lord you should write for Hollywood:rolleyes: "Forced"? Really,they were chained to the machines and held at gunpoint? "Mountains of fine wood dust" really,they were swimming in it arsehole deep?

The truth is in the middle,a plant that 10-20 years ago was in compliance today isn't because OSHA came up with new regs and they make no allowance for that at all.I've seen this several times in various types of woodworking plants.If it's a climate controlled plant then you have to operate a bag house filter and air over heat exchanger,otherwise there is no way to maintain the climate inside the building since the dust collection system changes the whole volume of air in the building in a matter of minutes.So they run the old system,with newer filters,but there is always dust suspended in air and that is where OSHA sinks it's teeth in.




What you're both seeing, and the real cause of Cardell's bankruptcy, is that they were acquired by a billion dollar vulture capital firm (H.I.G. Capital) in 2010.

What your missing is the housing bubble bust in 08' when we lost on average 100 woodworking firms/week for two years and a lesser number per week ever since.Cardell would have gone under or gone south of the boarder in 09'like so many others did.The 900 folks working there got a stay of execution when HIG bought them simple as that.

wierdscience
09-22-2013, 11:04 PM
Sadly most companies only understand cost cutting, they don't know how to innovate or add value. They don't realize that $250,000 automated machine can replace 16 people who do the same task over and over... and allow them to quote competitively again... and reassign those folks to better jobs. Instead we have companies cutting costs, cutting corners, trying to create jobs to get tax credits and the situation spirals.

But in the woodworkig business they do realise it.That's why the new machines being installed are automated.Infact they are enclosed so only the machine itself needs dust collection instead of the whole facility.Makes for a nice,neat plant,with 5 or 6 people who sweep the floor,a couple that pack boxes and one that signs shipping and recieving tickets.Not much help for people needing jobs,but such is life.

J Tiers
09-22-2013, 11:34 PM
Standing on a line pushing the same button over and over is not "doing something." Standing at a discharge chute and putting a product into a bin is not "work" fit for a human being. Automate that nonsense. Don't pay someone to do what a machine can do faster cheaper and better... train up a generation of STEM-skill empowered technicians and repairmen/women. Do not focus on creating another generation of folk who put stickers on a product or tighten screws because the owner doesn't understand the value of robotics.

Sorry, it just isn't that simple.

That idea ends up with a large number of unemployed "proles", and a very few working people. It's not sustainable, not really "humane", and leads to a revolution (as do several alternatives).

people complain about work, but they want to work. Instead of trying to find ways to keep them from working (known as using automation to "free-up labor for more productive tasks".... which generally means sitting on their butts at home drinking beer because they are unemployed), it makes more sense to have them work, and get paid for it. Everybody wins that way.

That whole "automate it all" deal won't work long term..... It benefits the rich in the short term, but it actually is ultimately destructive. Destructive to the rich, and to others.

A.K. Boomer
09-22-2013, 11:59 PM
You guys are good, lot's of good perspectives on the topic, I just briefly went over this and agree with most even at opposite ends of the spectrum,
this is a great topic

Im going to read more of this when im sober in the morning...

Seastar
09-23-2013, 09:51 AM
In my company we try to follow all of the OSHA rules and even go farther than they require if possible.
Most of our employees have been with us for over 20 years and are like family.
No way we want any of them hurt or sick.

On the other issue we have reduced our employment from 110 employees to 90 over the last 3 years by buying a few million dollars worth of automated machines.
The reduction was all by retirement or other normal attrition.
Our sales have almost doubled at the same time and our bottom line has increased in kind because we are now competitive with our Asian competitors.
Our employees are also paid more as a result of raises and bonuses.

It's too bad we have not created jobs as we have grown but we could not see a way to do that in the present environment.

Now we are very concerned about the impact of Obamacare.
We have a good health plan but are being told that our coverage cost will increase by at least 25% and maybe by as much as 75% over the next 2 years.
That's a no starter for us and will reverse all of our gains.

I guess if it were easy everyone would start a business and then everyone would have a job.
Bill