Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Working with OSHA

First things first.......

I should mention this before I forget. I met this cat who is Dutch and his name is Freerk Bos.

The guy has mad love for baking, and he has started a Facebook site called Breadlab.

I found it not only useful, but his point of view totally has swag.

If I were you, when I was done reading my musings.....I'd flop over to his site.

Or better yet, go now, I wouldn't blame you. It's hard for a Pollack to keep up with the Dutch.

All kidding aside. I think that Holland may be one of the most underrated baking countries in the world.

Anyways.....on with tonight's program.

Recently I was talking to a couple of other guys who hold positions similar to mine in several different bakeries across the state.

One of these colleagues mentioned that OSHA hadn't been around in awhile, and all of a sudden we all became silent.

I am not going to lie. Nobody enjoys ushering an OSHA inspector through their working space.

If you don't work in a bakery, just think back to the day that you took that test to get your drivers license.

Remember the man with the clipboard. The guy with the short sleeve shirt and plastic pocket protector.

Remember that moment he buckled his seat belt, and he breathed those heavy breaths, your anxiety level escalated a few notches huh?

And before the guy uttered a single word, you wondered if anybody ever let him know that he had shrubs of hair festering inside his ears.

Well my friend....... times that by 10, and that's what it's like when OSHA pays a call.

A lot of business owners don't like working with them, because they run their inspections different than the FDA or Department of AG.

When most government agencies write you up with a citation, often times the business has several months to fix the infraction before a fine gets levied.

That isn't always the case with OSHA.

When they tag you, you're tagged. There are avenues of recourse, but more often than not, a reasonable size business is going to have to put some money in their coffers.

Urban legend amongst bake staff is that OSHA used to be funded by the government, but since Uncle Sam's contributions have diminished, they've had to create revenue by "sticking it to the little guy."

I don't by that for a second.

OSHA has a proud history and has put it's reputation on the line defending the "Little Man" when corporate America thumped away at hillbilly and ethnic work forces that built this great country.

Talk to those famous coal minors at Matewan, and they'll bow down for any government agency that will enforce little liberties like...oh stuff like....breathing fresh air, or having tunnel regulations that will decrease cave in's.

But as unions have been broken across America, many people seem to think there isn't the need for regulating.

Sweet Polish Christ is that short sighted.

Just take a stroll over planet earth and look at all the funky goo that festers in regions where businesses are left to determine it's communities welfare.

You will be disgusted.

I remember 4 years ago when OSHA sweeped across Minnesota, they were popping bakeries for "Lock Out - Tag Out" as well as lack of signage which declared that no persons should be allowed in an oven.

Already I can hear you laughing, you're most certainly thinking "why would any dumb a** ever crawl into an oven?"

There are more reasons than you might think of.

Often times parchment papers will flutter to the oven floor and sometimes remnants of them will clog the pilot light of the flame rod.

When that happens, usually the littlest guy in the shop would crawl in and dislodge the paper clot.

Or sometimes on Ferris wheel ovens, the weight of too many bread pans can knock a shelf off its tracking and the broken shelf will catch against the oven floor, thus seizing motion.

Once again, entering from stage left...the smallest baker or oven man will crawl in and place the shelf back on it's tracking.

Time is money right????????

People die doing things like this.

Sometimes people get maimed and pain will stay with them till they lay down upon their death bed.

I think OSHA picks singular things to focus on so bakeries will network and actually mend their errant ways.

Also by focusing on a singular initiative, this allows the OSHA inspectors to receive uniformed training and support one another out in the field.

Will Klecko jump for joy the next time an OSHA inspector shows up unannounced,

Nadda-Nadda....Big Papi will be sweating bullets, you can count on it.

But none the less.....for those of you living the American dream, thank God you have an agency like this that works so hard to protect your interests!

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