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#151347 - 11/02/06 01:57 AM Machine Interlocks, Etc  
Trumpy  Offline


Member
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,211
SI,New Zealand
I am leaving my current job in the newspaper industry, because of what happened at work today.
I'm going back to the PoCo, where they actually care about workers safety.
A second-hand machine turned up here the other day that is going to be (so I was told) in the new part of the factory, when it gets built.
I had a look at this machine just on passing and noticed that most of the interlocks and guard switches had been shorted.
This machine is known as a Cut and Stitch machine, it uses sharp knives and stitching needles within easy reach with the guards open.
I refused to connect this machine (although I had already run the cable for it) until all of the interlocks were re-instated.
To this I was told, that the machine will be staying like it is.
An off-site electrician was called and he hooked it up while I was away at lunch.
I came back and found the machine was livened and proceeded to disconnect it at the switchboard and locked out the supplying 3 phase breaker.
I asked for the name of the electrician that connected this equipment without making sure that all of the interlocks were working.
I was refused this information so I handed my notice in.
I was also told that I was breaching my contract, as I was required to install and maintain all equipment that the company requires.
I told my Boss (in a VERY heated argument) that his company was breaching not only the Electricity Regs, but a number of OSH laws, as well.
Why is it that in so many companies, it is OK to defeat in-built safety systems in machinery?.
They don't put the things in there for the fun of it, do they.
Try and do a job by the book and look what happens..........


Let's face it, these days if you're not young, you're old - Red Green grin

Arc Flash PPE Clothing, LOTO & Insulated Tools

#151348 - 11/02/06 10:01 AM Re: Machine Interlocks, Etc  
renosteinke  Offline
Cat Servant
Member
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Blue Collar Country
"I was told I was breaching my contract..." I love it when the first response is to try intimidation!

This is exactly why I keep harping that it is WE, and no one else, who are the experts. Not the manager, not the enginer, not the man in the moon.

I can forgive an outside contractor for not knowing the machine intimately, and hooking it up. It is, however, the role of the maintenance crew to ensure that the machine is safe for operation. If the maintenence guy locks a machine out, HIS is the word tht needs listening to. If management has a problem, they know who to ask!

Safety is probably less than 25% about rules, equipment, and procedures. 75% is what we might best call "corporate culture." In simple terms, poor management leads directly to more accidents.

Sounds like the paper is best left behind. It's got the inmates running the asylum.


#151349 - 11/02/06 03:55 PM Re: Machine Interlocks, Etc  
mountainman  Offline
Member
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 54
Richmond Va. U.S.A.
I do not blame you Trumpy, nobody is going to look out for your safety but yourself. All of us in the trade has been "ordered" to do what we know is not right. I have left several companies for the same reason. As my Granddaddy always said, if you learn a trade you will always find work.


#151350 - 11/02/06 09:15 PM Re: Machine Interlocks, Etc  
gfretwell  Offline


Member
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,057
Estero,Fl,usa
You made the right decision. It may not be an issue in the less litigous down under but here in sue happy USA I would be worried that I could be listed on the defendant list if someone got hurt and sued.


Greg Fretwell

#151351 - 11/03/06 02:56 PM Re: Machine Interlocks, Etc  
Trumpy  Offline


Member
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,211
SI,New Zealand
Greg,
It's not a percieved threat of legal action that worries me at all.
The crux of the whole matter, IMO, is the fact that I was over-ruled on a matter of basic safety practice.
Now, if I don't have the authority as a qualified person to ensure the safety of my fellow workers, who on earth does?.
I was under the impression, that that was what I was employed for.
If someone got injured even slightly (or seriously) while using that machine in the state it is in, I could not live with that on my conscience.
What this is about, is responsibility and I think it is rather rich for someone from management to say leave the thing as it is.
Should an accident occur, who do you think the OSH inspector is going to speak to first?.
And as I've found happen in the past, management has a habit of denying all knowledge of "what is happening on the factory floor".
I just don't want to even go there, hence my exit from the place.
Defeating safety circuits in machinery is one thing that gets me really worked up!.
As I said above, they don't put the things in there for the fun of it. [Linked Image]


Let's face it, these days if you're not young, you're old - Red Green grin

#151352 - 11/03/06 06:27 PM Re: Machine Interlocks, Etc  
gfretwell  Offline


Member
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,057
Estero,Fl,usa
That is the kind of thing that brings fat fines from OSHA here. An honorable company would correct the installation, reinstate you and give you back pay when the owner heard what happened.


Greg Fretwell

#151353 - 11/06/06 03:13 AM Re: Machine Interlocks, Etc  
Trumpy  Offline


Member
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,211
SI,New Zealand
Well Greg,
Quote
An honorable company would correct the installation, reinstate you and give you back pay when the owner heard what happened.

A lot of factories here have one thing in mind and it ain't safety.
Production is what matters in these places and they try to attain rediculous goals by defeating anything that they can to achieve those goals.
I'm going back to Faults work to try and get my credibility back.
Working in a place like this is no good for the karma.
You cannot have middle management run rough-shod over the top of you, in any factory, as they will see when I finish up there next Saturday night.
Never bite the hand that feeds you.
I will say no more. [Linked Image]


Let's face it, these days if you're not young, you're old - Red Green grin

#151354 - 11/06/06 10:24 AM Re: Machine Interlocks, Etc  
renosteinke  Offline
Cat Servant
Member
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Blue Collar Country
Mike, you dance around a very real issue, one that is not often appreciated:

Bad management results in not only disappointing results, but greatly increased expenses. Accidents are one of the greatest expenses.
Moreover, a firm that has nothing but contempt for it's people will see that attitude passed on to the customers.

For an example of the latter, here we have a few "Big Box" general retail chains. One stood head and shoulders over the rest as recently as the ;ate '70's.... and had nothing but contempt for those who actually were dumb enough to volunteer to become their employees / slaves. Naturally, the employees passsed their lack of enthusiasm on to the customers. Management was so focused on keeping the serfs on the manor that they failed to serve their customers, as well.
End result? A new chain, founded by one of their management "failures", sprang up and has since become the worlds' largest retailer. The original firm has been loitering around the bankruptcy courts.


Likewise, I have seen countless firms stumble along. Old equipment. Illegal labor. Unsafe practices -often caused by improper equipment and inadequate training- the norm. The end result has been lots of accidents and little profit.
Indeed, the result of one place having two serious accidents -the authorities can't help but react when limbs are lost- drove one place out of state. Another was shut down permanently when an explosion killed a few of their illegal workers.

The best you can do, at this point, is document the daylights out of your experiences.... and make damn sure there is a paper trail leading to the executive suite. Paper tends to take on a life of its' own, and will come back to haunt them if they fail to respond.


#151355 - 11/26/06 08:46 PM Re: Machine Interlocks, Etc  
Paulusgnome  Offline
Member
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 56
Christchurch, New Zealand
Hi Trumpy,

Just dying to know how things worked out?

I must say your (ex) boss was being a very brave man to countermand his staff electrician, especially since you have your inspector's ticket too!

Mark


Mark aka Paulus

#151356 - 11/28/06 01:42 AM Re: Machine Interlocks, Etc  
Trumpy  Offline


Member
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,211
SI,New Zealand
Gidday there Mark,

To put it bluntly, I just walked away from the place.
To be honest, the actual General Manager and the Factory Manager were pretty decent guys.
The problem was that a lot of the under-management and Supervisors in this place lack any sort of people skills or technical knowledge.
I will not be spoken to, in the manner that I was by those who have no idea of what they are talking about.
On my last night there, I attempted to repair a socket-outlet that was not functioning (because of a tripped Circuit-Breaker), I was told by one of these Supervisors, that they would get another Electrician in to fix it, because in her opinion, because I was leaving I was not competent to do this job.
At that stage, I grabbed my tools, took off my overalls and said to the Supervisor that I would not be finishing the shift and was going home.
I was very wound up at this stage and anything could have happened.
I shook hands with the people on the shift that I had any respect for (all 2 of them) and walked out.
I've never quit a job in my life, that felt very scary to be walking out on a team of people that I had worked with, even for the short period that I did.
I'm back at the PoCo these days where they treat thier staff like people, not idiots.

{Message edited for typo's} [Linked Image]

[This message has been edited by Trumpy (edited 11-28-2006).]


Let's face it, these days if you're not young, you're old - Red Green grin

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