Wednesday, March 02, 2011

A Costly Mistake

A company I worked for years ago is in the news. Not in a good way. I'm not shocked at their total disregard for rules and regulations. I left there out of sheer frustration and their disrespect for their employees and laws.
They hit the news because they are being sued for a contaminated product that caused the death of a 2 year old. They were warned by the FDA and chose to ship the product anyway and now have issued a voluntary recall of several of their products. In reading some comments left on the news article, a lot of people tend toward blaming the FDA. Yes, they should have shut them down, but I feel the total blame lies on the company itself.
The article lists several issues-dirty pipes-people packaging sterile products without gloves and record keeping to name a few. In the seven years I worked for them I saw them go through three QA Managers. The owner flat out didn't want to hear about anything other than how fast the product could get out. He balked when he had to "clean up" the room where the producing and packaging was done. He balked at having to supply clean room suits, hair nets and gloves. He balked at everything that was going to take away from his profit.
I was injured due to a wrongly wired machine and was asked to keep my mouth shut and not record the incident. Needless to say there was an OSHA fine for my incident and the incident shortly after mine which was just as bad. Failure to correct machine functions will do that to you.
When I was injured there was a lot of blood inside the machine and on the floor and conveyor belt. It was wiped up with paper towels and within an hour of my injury the line was back up and running. The owner and supervisor decided that since it was an alcohol towelette machine that the alcohol would take care of the blood left in the machine. I was at the hospital for several hours and was given an excuse for the remainder of the day and the following week. I received a telegram the following day requiring me to return to work. It was a right hand injury and being right handed there wasn't much I could do. I stood next to someone and trained them on running the machine I was injured on. No lost time incidents for this guy.
At one point, to avoid a mound of OSHA and Union fines he shut his plant down and reopened 6 month later in another city but that didn't work out for him.
The past few days I have heard from several people whom I worked with at this company. It brought back some feelings that they as well as I would like to bury. I can see that it was just a matter of time before he'd be in trouble. "What goes around comes around" doesn't seem to be a morally correct statement due to the death of a two year old and other claims of violently ill people. I say sue his ass for his carelessness,greed and total disregard. It took a lot for me to admit I worked there.

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