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Thu Dec 20, 2012, 06:29 PM

Employer to Worker: “Get in the Hole or Go Home.” OSHA to Employer: Oh, Hell No.


http://wepartypatriots.com/wp/2012/12/20/employer-to-worker-get-in-the/



DKS' safety approach pre-dates this awful dot matrix image...


The U.S. Department of Labor is suing DKS Structural Services for allegedly firing an employee who refused to work in unsafe conditions.

According to the complaint, DKS fired an employee after he refused to enter a 15-foot trench that did not have adequate safety measures to prevent cave-ins. OSHA inspected and sided with the worker claiming DKS and its owner Jeffrey Kennedy violated Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which prohibits retaliation against employees who report or refuse to work in unsafe conditions:

On Jan. 16, the employee was directed to work in trenches between 6 and 15 feet deep at the company’s job site in Huntsville. The walls of one trench, measured at approximately 15 feet deep, began to slide and cave in. The ladder that was used to get into and out of the trench broke from the dirt and mud caving in. After the ladder broke, the employee was directed to access the inside of the same trench by being lowered in the bucket of a backhoe. The employee complained that he did not want to go back into such a deep trench without protection from further cave-ins. The employer allegedly told him “to get in the hole or go home.” The employee refused to get back into the unprotected excavation and immediately was fired.

The lawsuit seeks back wages, interest, and punitive damages for the employee. It also seeks to expunge the employee’s personal records in matters of this case.

FULL story at link.



37 replies, 4303 views

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Reply Employer to Worker: “Get in the Hole or Go Home.” OSHA to Employer: Oh, Hell No. (Original post)
Omaha Steve Dec 2012 OP
The Magistrate Dec 2012 #1
kestrel91316 Dec 2012 #10
deafskeptic Dec 2012 #29
niyad Dec 2012 #2
forestpath Dec 2012 #4
Bluzmann57 Dec 2012 #5
niyad Dec 2012 #9
elehhhhna Dec 2012 #15
freshwest Dec 2012 #16
Bluzmann57 Dec 2012 #3
Brickbat Dec 2012 #6
KT2000 Dec 2012 #7
onethatcares Dec 2012 #8
yardwork Dec 2012 #11
Sherman A1 Dec 2012 #12
WillyT Dec 2012 #13
socialist_n_TN Dec 2012 #14
Hydra Dec 2012 #19
socialist_n_TN Dec 2012 #21
Scootaloo Dec 2012 #34
MrModerate Dec 2012 #30
freshwest Dec 2012 #17
sheshe2 Dec 2012 #18
Curmudgeoness Dec 2012 #20
Doc Holliday Dec 2012 #22
nc4bo Dec 2012 #23
Gman Dec 2012 #24
snort Dec 2012 #25
progressoid Dec 2012 #32
snort Dec 2012 #37
MrModerate Dec 2012 #26
Hotler Dec 2012 #27
HockeyMom Dec 2012 #28
Omaha Steve Dec 2012 #31
closeupready Dec 2012 #33
socialindependocrat Dec 2012 #35
lumberjack_jeff Dec 2012 #36

Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 06:32 PM

1. A Charge Of Attempted Murder Would Be Appropriate, Sir

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 07:00 PM

10. That's exactly what I thought.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 10:36 PM

29. Amen! n/t

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 06:33 PM

2. wow--osha actually stood up for a worker???? It really must be the end of the world

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Response to niyad (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 06:36 PM

4. You just saved me a post!

 

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Response to niyad (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 06:36 PM

5. Have you ever had any dealings with OSHA?

In my dealings with them, they have been very worker oriented. Same with MSHA. But I suppose there are always going to be some who don't believe that. Sigh.

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Response to Bluzmann57 (Reply #5)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 06:47 PM

9. I am glad to hear that your dealings have been more positive than mine.

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Response to Bluzmann57 (Reply #5)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 07:44 PM

15. Here in TX, in construction, you have to kill 2 mexicans

before OSHA pays attention.

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Response to Bluzmann57 (Reply #5)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 07:49 PM

16. They certainly were when I dealt with them, pre-Reagan days. They whipped the employers into line.

After he got in, within a year working conditions began going to hell, it was unsafe and the employers were extremely oppressive and disrespectful. The difference between the Carter years and Ronnie's club running thing was like day going into the long night.

Those who still had unions had a good measure of protection; the non-union work men were treated like dogs. I watched as OSHA and other regulatory agencies were slashed and villified.

This man did the right thing and it's great to see a turn around with the agency under a different administration. I've been reading and seeing so many of these trench cave-ins since those years that they don't even make the news much. Just something that happens to 'those lowly workers' has been the attitude for too long.

I've seen the reports of the crane accidents and other things that were rare and a decline in the way worksite are managed. I've been amazed to see workers on construction sites without what was standard protective gear when I worked in the high rises. Sure, there was usually at least one death before that evergreen tree was hoisted to the top of the building by the workers - but the changes I saw in safety was stark and even I got hurt along with others. A bitter time under RR.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 06:34 PM

3. Being lowered in the bucket of a backhoe?!

That in and of itself is illegal. So the company wanted the guy to break the law after refusing to...break the law? What a bunch of greedy, unsafe assholes.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 06:38 PM

6. Mr. Brickbat worked construction for years and is now on the railroad. I never worry about him on

the job because I know he has the courage to say "fuck you" if the company wants him to do something dangerous. A lot of guys go along to get along -- and I guess if I worry, I worry about them causing a problem for Mr. Brickbat.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 06:39 PM

7. Good for the worker and

I hope this story is carried wide so other employers gets the message.
Agree - this should be an attempted murder charge.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 06:43 PM

8. it' those damn regulations again,

if the idiot employer would have followed them, it would have been a lot cheaper than a fine and the rest.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 07:03 PM

11. This is why we need unions.

A person was killed in North Carolina recently when a trench they were working in collapsed. The company had been cited in the past for not following safety requirements.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 07:04 PM

12. K&R

Good news. I suspect the Labor Department will make life very unpleasant for DKS.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 07:09 PM

13. K & R !!!


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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 07:21 PM

14. This is the perfect illustration of capitalism..........

and lest anyone think it was better in the "good ole days", I saw a TON of dangerous things pushed by management onto an intimidated workforce back in the early 70s when I was a Boilermaker Shop Steward. It was almost a full time job just keeping people alive and out of dangerous job sites simply because management cared only for profits.

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Response to socialist_n_TN (Reply #14)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 08:10 PM

19. The myth that capitalism is somehow benevolent

Is becoming increasingly hard to sell. Romney was the perfect symbol of capitalism- a gleefully amoral, greedy and narcissistic force of nature.

Is a properly regulated Romney a good Romney?? I say it's still evil, and will kill you when it gets the chance.

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Response to Hydra (Reply #19)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 08:35 PM

21. "I say it's still evil, and will kill you when it gets the chance.".......

Yep. That's also why "regulated capitalism" never works over a long term. Or even just a few decades. It will always be striving to break any bonds put on it.

Regulating capitalism is like riding a tiger. It's hard to do and you're always in danger of being eaten.

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Response to Hydra (Reply #19)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 03:58 PM

34. The key is to disentangle the propaganda

Capitalists have spent over a hundred years pushing the bullshit that "Capitalism" is synonymous with "merkets," that you can't have a market without capitalism, and that capitalism is just a benign market-enabler.

That is the knot that needs to be untangled.

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Response to socialist_n_TN (Reply #14)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 11:13 PM

30. Nope, this is a perfect illustration of assholery . . .

And criminal behavior. Lots of companies (mine included) are ardently capitalist and wouldn't tolerate such a situation for one second.

In a professional outfit, the supervisor would be fired instantly for letting such a condition occur in the first place, let alone insisting a worker enter a clearly unsafe confined space. In my company (and many others), individual workers have the authority (the obligation!) to shut the site or subsite down if there's a hazard of this sort -- and get rewarded for doing so.

Why? Because we really believe that going home safely at the end of the shift is an absolute requirement of work on our sites, and (as good capitalist businessmen) strict adherence to safety practices ultimately both saves us money and helps us make more. We win more work based on our safety record, our insurance costs are insanely lower, and we can sleep at night.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 07:50 PM

17. Thanks for posting this Steve. this needs more coverage.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 08:01 PM

18. K&R!

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 08:20 PM

20. Oh! Oh! Oh! Me, me, me....put me on the jury!

When that lawsuit goes to trial, I want to be on that jury.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 08:36 PM

22. This might appear on FOX as:

"Big Government Crushes Small Business Owner"

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 08:44 PM

23. Terrible!!! In NC, we've had several trench cave-ins, a couple of killed workers.

After the initial news coverage "horror", we hear nothing else about them beyond the usual "there will be investigations" blahblahblather.

NC = Right to Work State, very few union anything.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 09:11 PM

24. As a private citizen, I have called OSHA about unsafe trenches

Twice. One fixed things before OSHA got there, the other got fined. i have been threatened by contractors for stopping and taking pictures. ANY CITIZEN can call OSHA if they see unsafe working conditions. Use the words IMMINENT DANGER to describe the situation and OSHA must visit the job site immediately.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 09:15 PM

25. My cousin died this way.

A trench he was working in in Phoenix collapsed on him. We miss him. I hope DKS gets the shit fined out of them.

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Response to snort (Reply #25)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 03:09 PM

32. ...

So sorry for your loss.

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Response to progressoid (Reply #32)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 10:41 PM

37. Thank you, progressoid. n/t

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 09:21 PM

26. Sue their asses until they don't have a penny left . . .

And hand the contract to someone who knows how to build.

In my company, any worker who sees an unsafe condition can shut the site (or a specific area on the site) down until the situation is rectified up to our specs, which exceed local requirements (everyone carries a little plastic card called a "Stop Work Authority").

Needless to say, the supervisor a) allowing an unsafe condition to exist and b) directing a worker to enter an unsafe confined space would have been fired instantly and would have received zero support from the company when regulatory and civil lawsuit brickbats began to bury him.

We get along just fine with OSHA and our sites frequently win their VPP awards. And we're not unique. That's the way it's done in professional construction.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 09:22 PM

27. The company where I work takes safety very seriously.

We just got done with an OSHA VPP (Voluntary Personal Protection) audit. We were audited for for three days. The Office, shops and the field. We were going for a Star status. Only 0.03% of companies in the US achieve this with OSHA and we passed with zero non-conformances. We are a mechanical and structural steel fabrication and service company here in Colorado. Over 400 employees between the office, shops and field crews and 51% were interviewed. We have a program called SHOW ME (Safety, Health, ownership in the Work place) any employee can stop work and issue a stand for safety without getting in trouble. OSHA will and does protect whistle blowers.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 09:37 PM

28. Bio Hazzards

That fall under OSHA too. When I working in a special needs class, a boy vomited in the middle of the classroom. We called the custodian (contracted out) and asked him to come clean it up. He REFUSED and said it wasn't his job and for us to clean it up.

OSHA standards from I was taught from both working in Nursing and Group homes. We had no supplies for that in the classroom: no gloves, no mop, no disenfectants, no way to safely dispose of it.

I called the Nurses office and they told us no do not pick it up with bare hands, paper towels, hand soap, and throw it in wastebasket. The Nurse called the Custodian, and they came and cleaned it up.

Not following, and knowing, OSHA standards can be very dangerous to employees. That is why they exist in the first place.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 07:00 AM

31. 5 years ago I got hurt on a ladder covered with ice and snow


It was a confined space. I had no training or fall protection. I was lucky. I only hurt my shoulder. Two surgeries since then on it. It could have been much worse.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 03:12 PM

33. K&R

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 04:20 PM

35. The expression in ther cartoon hides the seriousness of the situation - true example

My coworker's husband was in a ditch that caved in.

He broke a leg and had his pelvis crushed.
the bone cut into his eurethra and his intestines needed attention.
It took weeks in the hospital just so he could walk on crutches.
Pain, surgery,

A cave in is serious

If you've ever wondered what those 8 foot high steel plates are that are attached
by two large tubes and are aprox 6-8 feet wide - thoe are to set into trenches
in order to prevent cave-ins.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Fri Dec 21, 2012, 05:20 PM

36. Three people died several years ago in my little town in a trench cave-in.

Serious shit. Install a trench coffin - it's not that expensive

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