Part 3: Conagra Foods the “Wells Fargo” of the Food Industry

The inconsistencies continue: In the beginning of my employment as a bulk loader we had to work on the top of the tank trailers with a ceiling about 5ft. above the trailers. By the end of my employment the ceiling was approximately 4ft. above the trailers. The original trailer company had trailers 13′ and 13’6″. The first trailers from a new company were higher. The first issue to decrease clearance that was already forced improper ergonomics. Along with the fact that to move along the trailers to open and inspect all the hatches beams came down from the ceiling that were 18 inches lower and the bottom of the flour bins were even lower. The higher trailers increased cubic space allowing more flour and certain products to be loaded. There were 13′ trailers that increased their space by being wider and I was told by a manager that the company was going to get a fleet of those trailers due to the height restrictions. That never happened. Then they decided to put fall protection in our work area. Finally something to make the job better and safer. OH YAH! I personally made to scale drawings of several options for fall protection because I was told WE CANNOT PUT A SAFETY CABLE IN THAT WORK AREA. Never got an answer to my drawings which were most likely less expensive and not an obstruction to the fall protection that was installed. YOU GUESSED IT, A SAFETY CABLE PUT RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE 4′ by 2′ space we needed to walk along the trailer to do our work. What’s next you ask. LETS PAVE THE SURFACE OF THE LOADOUT BAY. When I expressed my concern, I was told don’t worry it will only be a few more inches. Can you guess what happened next? One of the first trailers pulled in the work area to load HIT THE ROOF AND ALMOST TORE THE OVERHEAD DOOR FROM THE CEILING. No way. HEY WAY. Can there be more. Well nothing more funny but in the beginning of 2012 they decide to get rid of one of the two trailer companies. THE ONE WITH THE LOW TRAILERS RIGHT. Nope, the company with the high trailers  and were in the process of manufacturing of higher trailers. Actually there was something that was funny. When the supervisors would bring customers and managers from the home office in the work area to witness the inspection process it sounded like a gun range when they followed the loader up the catwalk to see the top of the trailers and hard hat after hard hat smashed off the beams when they were hitting their heads off the ceiling.

Actually the lack of clearance on the top of these trailers was no joke and contributed to some serious injuries. I fought hard to address this issue because of the immediate safety issues and the obstacle of an employee for longevity as a loader. The clearance can be fixed but with a cost to the company and they don’t care about firing people when they get older and are more susceptible to injury and they sure don’t want to spend any money to fix it. WHATS SAD IS WHEN YOU ADD UP ALL THE COSTS- injuries, extreme amount of turnover, untrained employees, etc. JUST PAYING TO FIX IT WILL COST LESS IN THE LONG RUN. OH YAH I FORGOT THE ONE OBSTACLE- you might have happy employees and noone would have to lie about the work they do to get a job done. OH YAH you wouldn’t want a reputation of being a good place to work. AND REMEMBER THE COMPANY MISSION STATEMENT do whatever you want as long as you get away with it.

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