June 3, 2006

Scary Stuff

There was an accident at work this week. One of the operators on the shift after mine managed to catch her head in a machine with a great deal of moving, automated pieces. She's ok now, but she won't be back to work any time soon, and will likely never operate again. She has a broken nose, fractured jaw, fractured cheek bone, skull fracture, and two deep cuts on her face, needing about 25-30 stitches total. She came in to visit us today (she had a CAT scan yesterday, and will be having surgery on Tuesday), and her face was so swollen, bruised and distorted that most people barely recognised her. The worst part is, she has no memory of what happened, and is terrified that she's going to lose her job.

So, big, HUGE changes are coming at work. Lots of new gates and shields, lock-out procedures, and protocol. Crew used to be able to change the tapers on the box erectors, and to open the guards and pull out crushed boxes, but now we can't even touch those parts of the machines. Aside from conveyer belts, we can't touch anything that moves, which is making life hell for the operators, who now have to watch our side of the floor (the pack-off side) from behind a brick wall (the operator's side). Because most lines are run by temporary employees with no training, I would imagine that there will soon be more people hired on full time, and certainly more caser-operators who are trained/allowed to fix problems on our side. There was roumer floating about that even the operators won't be allowed to fish out stuck boxes, and that they will have to call maintnence to do it, but I can't imagine that the plant is ready to hire on at least 10 more maintnence people per shift: that's what it would take to pull that off.

So, for the next week, or at least until the Labour Board leaves, there's caution tape all around the machine where the accident happened. Until yesterday night, there was still bloody paper towels and blood on the machine because no one could get in to clean up. Friggin Scary. I'm glad I wasn't on that shift, and I'm glad Louise is going to be ok. She's increadably lucky: she could have been killed.

So, everyone's a bit more safety concious right now, and still in shock. I haven't noticed a lot of the changes because I've been on light duty for the past 3days with a pulled muscle in my left shoulder, but people are still pretty tense, and there are a lot more people running around in lab coats than there usually is.

So, I'll say this to ANYONE who reads this scrap of html coding and sleep deprived rantage:

No job is worth your health, or your life. You, as an employee, have the RIGHT to refuse to perform tasks that you feel are hazardous or unsafe, and if your employer gives you grief about it, you can report them, and the company can face big fines. Even in retail settings: you can really hurt yourself lifting heavy boxes. So, please be aware. Make sure, before you start somewhere new, and once a year double-check, that you know where all of your exits, fire extinguishers, eye-wash stations, emergency stops... ANYTHING like that is. Especially with factory work (I know that there are a few out there who read this after a long day on the end of a line). I actually keep in my wallet a page with a list of emergency phone numbers, my health card number and medications. I know it seems paranoid, but better to be safe.

Other than that, not much has been happening here. I'm just trying to stay afloat until the 9th, when I go back to the bay to graduate! (Can you tell I'm a little excited?) I'm still not too sure what is going on post-convocation. I would like to visit people, I'd like to have drinks and hang out with friends... but right now, there are no set plans. But that's ok. I'm sure whatever I wind up doing will work.

Um... Yeah, that's pretty much it for now. I mean, stuff is still kinda puttering along here, the world is still turning... What more can you ask for.

Cookies. That's what.

1 comment:

Beatrix said...

Yikes, scary stuff indeed. I hope she's ok. And I think it goes without saying, but take care of yourself at work, we'd like you alive and well and in one piece come September.

I don't know if I'm working over the days you'll be here for grad, but if you do make plans and you feel like company, lemme know!

Catch ya on the flip side.
- Ducky