There are some details that might be difficult and upsetting.
Still trying to comprehend what’s going on here. But I’ll do my best to explain. For context, I work in a older lumber mill. (Built in the 60’s) So, we have a lot of older equipment. These machines we work with are constantly breaking down and causing upset conditions.
So today as I’m coming into work our machines were running like crap (common problem they’ve been “planning” on fixing for 2 months now.) The man who was operating the machine at the time was dealing with this problem and had been clearing out the wood as part of his job to keep the machine going.
These sheets of wood are over 200 pounds a piece. And they’re in Stacks of 30-50. So he’s manually moving these stacks by hand. As he finishes re-stacking the entire load, He passes out either due to exhaustion or a combination of different health problems and exhaustion. At that point he hits the concrete floor, face first.
He then lays there in blood for the next 10-15 minutes until someone finds him. The first people to arrive start CPR until the ambulance shows up. Once paramedics arrive they take over chest compressions and transport him to the hospital.
Fast forward about 30 minutes and all of day shift starts showing up. They call the entire company into a meeting to inform us what had happened. This meeting lasted about 5 minutes in which they politically tell us “this wasn’t due to unsafe conditions.” And to get back to work.
All of us were confused and concerned. But, we walk back to our departments and start working. Now we’re working and the same issues keep coming up causing the same upset conditions. We’re fighting to re-stack the wood when a employee tells the boss something along the lines of “well I see we’re never going to fix this and this is what we’re worth to the company.”
The boss responded with a stereotypical political boss answer and ended with “if you guys don’t feel we support you you can shut the line down and go home.” We all look at each other take off our hard hats and walk out on him.
Not sure what happens next, or if any of us have jobs anymore. But we’ll be damned if a company is going to treat us like our life’s are expendable. I think In the end we did the right thing. RIP Robert you’ll be missed by all of us.
What do you guys think? Did we do the right thing? Would you ever go back?
I'm sorry for your loss. I think you did the right thing. No one should be manually handling 200 lb. sheets of anything. OSHA doesn't set limitations on safe limits for lifting weight, but there are industry standards & most of these set limits between 30 and 50 lbs.
Manual handling should be minimized. Winches, hoists, fork trucks, etc should be used, instead. I am a safety engineer & I would not consider your work environment safe.
Had a coworker die on the job, boss gave anyone that wanted it that day and the next day off. Company brought in a counselor. This felt like the bare minimum. Always remember how easy it is for work to replace you and how hard it will be for your family to replace you. Pick family over work as often as you can!
You deffo done the right thing. ✅️
Hijacking this. They cannot fire you. You did it as a group. It is now a union activity. You and your team need to unionize. IMMEDIATELY. They will feed you to the machines if it keeps making the money.
OSHA has a phone line. Maybe use it?
And what do I say? This company refuses to fix anything and as a indirect or direct result I think it played a hand in killing someone? I am seriously considering it.
Yes, that’s exactly what you say. They’ll be responsive since there was a death in the workplace. Usually there’s an online form where you can file an anonymous complaint so you don’t need to talk to anyone.
I reported it to OSHA. I will be keeping you informed on what happens in the following days. I’m off Mondays so I won’t be in until Tuesday to figure it all out. But I want to thank you all for your kind words and advice. This is why these subs exist. Thanks again.