To: Harold Clurman, Plant Superintendent
From: Fred Nelson, Safety Officer
Date: August 4, 1998
Subject: Safety Practices for Group 333
Many accidents and near-accidents have occurred in Group 333 because of the hazardous working conditions in this area. This memorandum identifies those hazardous conditions and makes recommendations for their elimination.
Employees inside the factory must operate the walk-along crane through aisles that are frequently congested with scrap metal, discarded lumber, and other refuse from the shearing area. Many surfaces in the area are oil-coated.
The containers for holding raw stock and scrap metal are also unsafe. On many of the racks, the hooks are bent inward so far that the crane cannot fit into them properly unless it is banged and jiggled in a dangerous manner. To add to the hazard, employees in the press group do not always balance the load in the racks. As a result, the danger of falling metal is great as the unbalanced racks swing practically out of control overhead. These hazards endanger employees in Group 333 and also employees in the raw-stock and shearing areas, because the crane passes over these areas.
Hazards also exist in the yard and in the chemical building. The present method of dumping strip metal into the scrap bins is the most dangerous practice of all. To dump this metal, the tow-motor operator picks up a rack, with the rack straddling the tow-motor forks, and raises it over the edge of the scrap-metal bin. The operator then rotates the forks to permit the scrap metal to fall from one end of the rack. As the weight shifts, the upright frame at the other end of the rack slams into one of the tow-motor forks (now raised 12 feet above the ground, inside the scrap tub). This method of operation has resulted in two tow-motor tip-overs in the past month. In neither incident was the driver injured, but the odds are great that someone will be seriously harmed if the practice continues.
Group 333 employees must also dump tubs full of scrap metal from the tow motor into the 10-foot-high scrap bins. In order to dump the metal on the tow-motor forks, the operator raises the tubs high above his head. Because of the unpredictable way in which the metal falls from the tubs, many facial cuts and body bruises have resulted. Employees who work in the yard are also subject to danger in winter weather: all employees have been cut and bruised in falls that occurred as they were climbing up on scrap bins covered with snow and ice to dump scrap from pallets that had not been banded.
Finally, nearly all Group 333 employees who must handle the caustic chemicals in the chemical building report damaged clothing and ruined shoes. Poor lighting in the building (the lights are nearly 20 feet above the floor), storage racks positioned less than two feet apart, and container caps incorrectly fastened have made these accidents impossible to prevent.
To eliminate these hazards as quickly as possible, I recommend that the following actions be taken:
1. That Group 333 supervisors rigorously initiate and enforce a policy to free aisles of obstructions.
2. That all dangerous racks be repaired and replaced.
3. That the Engineering Group develop a safe rack dumper.
4. That heavy wire mesh screens be mounted on the front of all tow motors.
5. That Group 333 employees not accept scrap in containers that have not been properly banded.
6. That illumination be increased in the chemical building and that a compulsory training program for the safe handling of caustic chemicals be scheduled.
I would like to meet with you and the supervisor of Group 333 before the end of the month, as your schedule permits. You will have my complete cooperation in working out all of the details of the proposed recommendations.