Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A boring post. (Sorry, Joy.)

My daughter, Joy (a.k.a. Christina to some of you), has told me that she enjoys my blog except when I write about stuff at work. Then it’s pretty boring.

I ought to listen to her. At least she reads this page daily. Plus, she thought my novel was pretty good, so she MUST be a good judge of quality writing.

Well, OK, she told me that she liked it because she learned things in it about her parents that she hadn’t known before. But that’s the same as knowing quality writing, right? (Thank you for not answering.)

So, this post is about work.

Joy, you can stop reading now. It’s OK. I’ll try to come up with something humorous and interesting tomorrow.

I work at a continuous process industrial plant. Well, I GO there every day. Opinion is divided on whether or not I do any real work.

For the past 5 years we have participated in OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program, VPP. This guarantees that we will not be subject to random safety compliance inspections. Instead, once every 2-3 years an inspection is scheduled to ensure we are maintaining standards acceptable to that agency.

Plus, our actual safety record of injuries, etc., must be better than our industry average. That keeps the angry public from deciding that we must be guilty of heinous unsafe practices and are hiding them from the watchdogs through the subterfuge of a voluntary cooperation.

I mean, EVERYBODY wants OSHA to spend its limited resources going after the companies who are getting their employees hurt, right?

Well, this week OSHA is at our plant doing its scheduled inspection.

In truth, it’s a very good thing. We can actually “consult” with these law-enforcement types to make sure we’re doing things right without fear of fines and penalties. And none of this stops them from coming in unannounced if an employee files a complaint.

So instead of dreading a visit from them, we now welcome it.

Twenty years ago, this was NOT the case. During my first year at this plant (1986) an OSHA compliance officer knocked on our door unannounced to inspect us. I asked why. I was told that they were targeting all plants in a certain industry type (SIC code), and we were one of those. I asked in innocence, “What code is that.” When he told me I was able to say honestly, “Oh, we’re not in that code; we’re code 2999.”

When he verified my information, he tipped his hat and left. I was a hero that week for having avoided an OSHA inspection!

What a change today.

Yes, they will find some areas where we are lacking, and some practices that we could improve. And we will take their suggestions VERY seriously! They will give us up to 90 days to correct any deficiencies they find. If it is at all feasible, we will try to have everything done in less than 30 days. We want to show good faith and a true attitude of compliance, not lip service.

Why am I rambling on about this? OSHA’s visit is occupying most of my time at work this week, and it’s pretty much all I thought about all day. And I just HAD to pass on to all my devoted blog readers this important aspect of a Human Resources Manager’s daily life.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll write about something you can all relate to. How about, “Progressive Discipline?”

(I know, Karyn. You’d prefer “Sexual Harassment.” Maybe on Friday.)

6 comments:

Michelle said...

You would never have so much fun when gallavanting across the country on book signing tours. *lol*

Hamel said...

One question you can ask Mr./Mrs. OSHA.

"When an employee is killed on the job, exactly how long may we keep the remains in the freezer?"

I've found that asking such questions either a) pisses people off and puts me on their crap-list right away b) breaks the ice and lets them know I'm an OK guy and not some stuffy tie.

Wait. Come to think of it, it's always a.

Karyn Lyndon said...

Maybe you can add "Joy Alert" to the title of your work-related posts...and perhaps your golf ones, too.

Hale McKay said...

wow - great job of foiling the OSHA inspection. That would make you a hero at a lot companies.

schnoodlepooh said...

I agree that any company where I have worked has trembled in fear at the thought of an OSHA inspection. Good job on being proactive.

Christina said...

Well, I read the whole post. I do have a lot of time on my hands right now. But if you are going to write about progressive discipline, maybe you could enlighten my previous employer - they don't seem to understand the concept. You know who I mean. Also, for those (both) of us that have patiently read all your golf posts, we want to see some pictures of the baby deer!