Aug 13, 2019
Safety leadership and safety training must be the top priority for every company. The ultimate aim is to avoid serious injuries and fatalities. However, even a minor injury to one person can hurt the morale of the entire organization. Safety is about so much more avoiding big OSHA fine. In the case of a serious injury or fatality on the job, the injury reverberates throughout the safety culture.
The ultimate aim is to avoid serious injuries and fatalities. However, even a minor injury to one person can hurt the morale of the entire organization. Safety is about so much more avoiding big OSHA fine. In the case of a serious injury or fatality on the job, the injury reverberates throughout the safety culture. This effectively injures everybody else in the entire company — psychologically — from management on down. Guilt sets in. So does remorse. Imagine playing over those "What-if" scenarios over and over again in an endless loop inside your mind. Case in point: the story of Kina Hart. Tragically, she lost her left arm in a gruesome industrial accident when she was just 20 years old. She hadn't received proper training for the summer job when she was a college student working in an Alaska salmon processing factory. The conveyor belt Kina was working on was not properly "locked out" as she cleaned the underside. This refers to specific practices and procedures to safeguard employees from the unexpected energization or startup of machinery and equipment. Someone above her inadvertently turned the machine on to spray it down. This resulted in the loss of her arm while on the job. Given the seriousness of the injury, Kina hart easily could have died. In the same scenario, Kina's whole body could have been pulled into the conveyor below. Thankfully, she survived. Kina admits she made a tragic mistake, trusting that topside management knew what it was doing and wouldn't allow anything dangerous to happen to her. Additionally, she had begged to get called to work, then ended up losing her arm in the first hour of her first day on the job. While Hart's life has been hard since the accident, it is impressive that she stepped up and personally accepted much of blame. Hart personally knew the job is kind of dangerous, she realized that she "gave away" her safety that day. That one moment changed her life forever. She simply wanted to work hard and do a good job, like any factory worker. Even a strong work ethic and human performance factors couldn't prevent this serious injury. Hart's story shows that everyone, including every single worker, needs to keep safety training in mind every single day at work. Ironically, Kina Hart's father was the foreman of the fish plant where she tragically lost her arm. He was riddled with feelings of guilt after the safety accident. Hart's story is heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time. She has made something good with her life, speaking at safety conferences and helping with safety training at factories. Hart said her lost arm is an enduring reminder of that tragic day. She often suffers from the phantom pain of her lost arm. "But the worst part of what happened to me was it was 100 percent preventable. It did not even have to happen," she said. Just losing your focus on safety for a minute can cause serious injuries or fatalities. The consequences can be permanent but the situation is avoidable with the proper safety training.
Since 2001, Plastics News has kicked off every year with our editorial agenda. One constant: Safety must be the top priority of every company.
So this week, we are glad to bring you our special report on workplace safety. A bunch of the stories are from a tremendous conference in mid-July, the 2019 Environmental Health and Safety Summit, sponsored by the Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors (MAPP), the American Mold Builders Association and the Association for Rubber Products Manufacturers.
This two-day event held in Columbus, Ohio, drew 100 people this year — but the conference deserves a much wider audience. The Environmental Health and Safety Summit is a unique chance for processors and mold makers to hear the newest happenings in safety. We encourage more people to attend this annual event.