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Monthly Archives: October 2013

  • Concerns Raised Over OSHA Fines for West Fertilizer Company

    osha fines at west fertilizer plantOn April 17, 2013 a massive explosion rocked the otherwise quiet community of West, Texas. The town was Home to West Fertilizer Company, a distribution center where fertilizer and fertilizer components were stored on-site in large quantities. Among the chemicals at West Fertilizer was highly volatile Ammonium Nitrate - a major contributor to the ferocity of the explosion that occurred as the direct result of an out of control fire at the facility.
     
    The intensity and shockwave of the blast killed 15, injured 300 and damaged at least 150 surrounding buildings, completely destroying many structures that were in close proximity, several of which were apartment buildings and homes.
     
    Nearly 6 months later, many are raising valid questions in regards to workplace safety, as well as the safety of residents who are located near similar facilities. Time and time again, many want to know why a facility with such destructive potential in the circumstance of an accident could be permitted to operate so closely to residential areas. Furthermore, many residents and relatives of those injured or killed in the blast are downright angry with one thing in particular - OSHA.
     
    Two weeks ago, OSHA proposed $118,300 in fines towards the owner of the West Fertilizer Company, citing 24 serious safety violations. As none of the violations were found as willful, the maximum penalty for each instance is $7,000. Had the safety violations found by OSHA to be willful, the company would face a maximum penalty of $70,000 per violation.
     
    While the OSHA procedure for determining fines seems to be quite cut and dry, the question being raised by many is with 24 'serious violations' discovered, how is it possible that none of those were willful? Especially considering that OSHA determined the violations to be a direct cause of the explosion? For a scenario where there was a large loss of life, hundreds of injuries and unprecedented property damage, how could these safety violations be seen as non-willful?
     
    When safety standards are set for a facility to operate by, that facility is expected to live up to those standards as an assurance of best practices to prevent and/or reduce accidents such as the explosion at West Fertilizer Company. Therefor, it's hard for many to swallow the idea that 24 serious offenses (violations of safety code) could be issued without a single violation being considered willful. And it makes sense.
     
    Let's consider, for example, if a person were driving to work in a busy area and a pedestrian jumped out in front of their vehicle. The driver may have not had a chance to stop in time, and since the situation was out of the driver's control they couldn't possibly be at fault. But let's just say that the driver had bad brakes on the car… They knew the brakes were bad, failed to fix them and willingly continued to drive with a compromised vehicle. Could that driver had stopped in time if the brakes were operating safely? Even more so, lets just assume that the road conditions were wet, their wiper blades were worn and not functioning correctly, plus their tires completely lacked tread necessary to stop quickly. Is the accident still out of the driver's control, or could the fact that the driver neglected to have repairs made be a legitimate factor that contributed to the fatality of the pedestrian?
     
    At some point, a line has to be drawn. The idea that 24 serious safety offenses were identified which were directly responsible for a deadly explosion, yet not 'willful', is a very hard story to swallow for the families of the victims and the residents located nearby who lost their homes. At which point do these violations reach the level where they're considered willful neglect?
     
    Recently, OSHA fined a general contractor and sub-contractors $280,000 for violations at a job site in new Hampshire where a power plant was being constructed, yet there were no injuries or fatalities. In fact, the site was only inspected due to complaints filed by workers.
     
    While it's clear that OSHA's system for fines is not relevant to the number of injuries or deaths and is instead determined by the number and character of the violations themselves, you have to wonder if a numerous safety violations resulting in such destruction should ever be able to be labeled as non-willful. In this case, many are finding it as a slap in the face and a complete lack of justice.

  • ML Kishigo Winter Safety Gear

    ml kishigo winter safety wearWhen it comes to high visibility safety gear, ML Kishigo is not only a well known name but also an industry leader. For over 30 years they have been designing high-quality safety products to keep you safe, visible and comfortable in the workplace. With winter just around the corner, it's no surprise that ML Kishigo has a complete lineup of high visibility winter gear to protect you from the elements, whether mild or wild.
     
    From high visibility knit beanies to ANSI class bomber jackets and a wide array of safety vests, ML Kishigo has you covered. The innovative design features and rugged materials ensure that any ML Kishigo product you purchase is made not only to perform, but to last.
     
    HiVis Supply carries a complete line of ML Kishigo products and in fact they're some of our best sellers.
     
    If you're working outdoors this year, you'll definitely want to take a look at the ML Kishigo 360 Pro Series Parka. It's ANSI Class 3 compliant and made form 300-denier polyester oxford material. In other words, it's made to take a beating - and it has tons of other convenient features.
     
    If you're after something less bulky than a parka, be sure to check out the ML Kishigo Brilliant Series Bomber Jacket - it's also made with 300-denier rip stop fabric and is ANSI class 3 compliant and offers an abundance of features for increased comfort and functionality.
     
    Whatever you're needs are, HiVis Supply is your one-stop source for everything hi vis. Visit us today as www.HiVisSupply.com to browse our huge selection of the top name brands and save big with our guaranteed everyday low pricing.

  • Work King and Tough Duck - Heavy Duty Winter Work Wear, Now Available at HiVis Supply

    work king and tough duckReal safety gear, made for real people. That's what both the Work King and Tough Duck brands represent. Quality manufacturing at a price that's affordable and quality materials that can stand up to the abuse of hard work - time and time again.
     
    Tough Duck and Work King are produced by Richlu manufacturing, a a third-generation, 70 year-old family owned business from Canada. While the majority of their products focus on work wear and safety gear designed specifically for winter, who knows winter better than Canada? Nobody.
     
    The tough standards set forth by Richlu Manufacturing are what makes the Work King and Tough Duck brands what they are. They're rugged, durable, and they're designed to fit. From thermal bibs and high visibility knit beanies to hard hat liners and ASNI Class winter jackets, both brands deliver performance and reliability that you can count on - all winter long.
     
    We're happy to announce that HiVis Supply will now be carrying both the Work King and Tough Duck products. We believe that carrying these quality brands provides a better selection to our broad base of customers which spans across many industries. In the future, we will continue to expand upon our inventory of both brands in an effort to offer a wide variety of solutions for all types of outdoor work.
     
    View our complete lineup of Work King and Tough Duck Work Gear today and save on high quality gear at our everyday low prices. Be sure to stay tuned for updates about new products from Richlu.

  • Lose Your Cool at Work with High Visibility Winter Headwear

    hi vis winter headwearWorking outdoors all day in the cold winter weather can be pretty miserable if you're not dressed properly, and one of the most important factors to retaining your body's heat is by keeping your head warm. When you experience an increased heart rate, your heart pumps more blood to your brain. This means that during periods of work or exercise, up to 50% of your body's total heat loss occurs via your head.
     
    In order to minimize heat loss and maintain a safe and comfortable body temperature, it's important that you protect your head while working outdoors in the cold.
     
    HiVis Supply specializes in providing workers with ANSI and non-ANSI safety apparel for all seasons, including winter. We carry a huge inventory of the most popular brand names including a variety of sizes and styles. With winter soon approaching, we've upped our stock of winter protection to include a broad array of high visibility winter hats and headwear.
     
    From simple knot hats and beanies to innovative NeoFleece Combo Baclavas, HiVis Supply is your one stop source for all of your winter workwear needs. The wide variety of products we stock ensures the utmost protection from the elements in even the most extreme winter weather.
     
    Check out our high visibility winter headwear today and save big with our everyday low prices. Be prepared this winter so that when you're left out in the cold, you know you'll be comfortable!

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