Saturday, March 4, 2017

Funny Training Story #2

There's a girl at work who is a bit OCD, or neurotic, or lets say what I call a "worry wart"
Some people are quick to act when the situation arises. Others ask questions first, and by the time they act, the event is over. She is the 2nd one.

I'll call her WW here. So, the other day, we found out a company is comming through to visit. We already have several jobs we do for them, but they are considering more, so every work station must be clean and orderly. This is something I have been trying to do since forever, and I am often going to this person's area, asking her to keep items related to her job [like paperwork, scrap bins, ect] at her work cell and not on [or under] the table of the work cell next to her.

 I am kicking stuff out that doesn't belong, and putting it away, hauling garbage out ect, when I walk past her. WW is doing a job that doesn't take a full amount of time, and is booked as a 1/2 OP [Operator] job. I tell her [knowing she is one of our worst offenders when it comes to work cell organization] "Company is comming through, so anything you see that is out of place, feel free to take care of it"

WW: Who is comming?
I'm still walking
Me: XYZ company
Her:  Why are they comming?
I stop, hands full of stuff
Me: I don't know
I do know but it will take too long to explain. If I say to think about giving us more jobs, she will say "which ones?" or "what kind?"
I continue walking the stuff to the dumpster, and when I  return she says:
WW: what about this?
Me: Yep, that would be great, thanks!
WW: How about this?
Me: Awesome, please take care of that
This contintues for each thing she puts away.

Later I am removing old [non compliant] lables from returnable totes next to her work station that I had pointed out to her first thing in the morning needed to be done. [she didn't do it obviously] She is watching me [not helping], and asks again

WW: Why is XYZ comming?
Me: To look at us for more jobs
WW: What kind of jobs? [BINGO!]
Me: I don't know
WW: Why not? I thought you knew everything
Me: Think of it  like we both sat down at the same time, in front of a TV where a movie is playing, and you asked me what it's about
WW: You know we don't watch the same things

Yeah, and we don't live in the same world either! LOL

Funny Training story #1

Remember #4?
Company Rule #4 Nothing here is square, even if it looks like it is. If something you are packing into a box doesn't seem to fit, turn it 90 degrees.

Well, we have a new job without a job book [scratch that - Mimi made a job book for it which 3rd shift QC tech removed because it was wrong on almost every facet of the job], and when I came in, 3rd Sup tells me they are out of boxes, so he was using a giant material shipping box called a gaylord to put the parts in.

The OP I put there couldn't reach into it, so I made 2 cuts halfway down one side, climbed on top, and kicked the makeshift door down. Now that she is good for a bit, I ran to shipping to get the correct boxes, which I did find, and brought to the job.

Another OP who's press wasn't running yet, was trying to help her re-pack the parts into the appropriate box, but having a hard time. [I love this guy. He ain't the best OP in the world, but by golly he is a team player!] He'd pick up a row, place it in the new box, only to discover it wasn't right, then pick it up again, reverse hands, place it back in, and find the parts were still aiming the wrong way.
I saw the problem, and told him to "pick them up again and don't move."
While he was holding the stack of parts, I turned the box 90 degrees, and then told him to drop them in. MAGICLY they fell into place, and I think I heard Angles sing!

3rd shift QC tech [who was watching and directing the re-pack], and me had to leave because we were laughing too hard.

Is Inventory bad For Your Health?

 Probably, but it's wose for your relatives.

I told our new -now new-ish boss, that inventory is bad for the health of family and friends. He had been our Sup for about 5 monthly inventories by now, but still didn't get it. Now it's time for the yearly one, which lasts a week. It takes place between Christmas and New Years, and all employes either get laid off for this week or are required to come in.

Sure as bears poop in the woods, 2 of the 8 workers who showed up, had to leave because of "sick" family members. Both of them were mandated to work. 4 of the 8 volunteered to work, and one of the volunteers left in the middle of the day without saying so much as a "see ya"
At the beginning of the 3rd day, only 4 came in, and by noon on New Years Eve, only 2 of us were left standing.
Me, and the office lady who had to enter in the numbers. A 10 freakin hour day for us, cuz everyone else bailed.
Well, the maintainence guy did stay till we were almost done. He left about 30 minutes ahead of us, so he's excused from my rant.
There's a 2 person rule there for safety. Now one would think that one of those persons should be a man. Funny though, the lady said she felt safe with me there. LOL
* she's probably right, though. I don't take crap from nobody, and I think and move pretty quickly.
[again nothing against the maintainence guy - who's no slouch - but knows me enough to know I can handle myself]

So what should have been 2 days work for 8 people, and plus a half days work for me [for recounts] and the office lady [to input numbers] on New Years eve, turned into 3 - 10 hour days for me and office lady.

Why? Because in addition to counting stuff, I had to help run 2 presses that a boss had insisted on running, plus had to count stuff that other people bailed on, and recount stuff that they counted incorrectly. If that wasn't enough, I kept finding mixed pallets and boxes of stuff that was suposed to contain only one thing, and thusly was counted as one thing, so after seperating the items, I had to recount the 2 things. While I was still counting, the shipping guy was burying stuff that hadn't been counted yet.
Yep, there I was at 1pm New Years Eve, climbing racks, and throwing incorrectly stacked boxes off shelves, putting them where they belong, and tossing pallets and their contents that had been stacked 3 high in spaces too tight to get a hylo in, moving crap so I could count what was underneath. I left the pallets, shrink wrap, and other garbage on the floor where it landed, and it was still cleaner than when I started.

I had an obligatory party to go to, and decided to ditch topping off my tank so I could get home sooner. Then I remembered something I had to pick up [storage boxes to organise stuff while I was off], and thought I'd make a quick run into grocery store on way home.
That turned into a shocking experience for me, as I heard my name called. It was [are ya ready] MIMI! Had I saw her before I heard her call my name twice, Ida ducked quickly, but alas, I was caught. Got to hear a story about her new puppy, which I politely listened to for 20 minutes while thinking about my coffee getting cold in the car. After that I had to re-collect my thoughts to pick up what I came for.

When I got home @ 6:30 Hubby seemed a bit despondant in advance of me announcing that I wouldn't go to his friends party @7, so I told him I'd gulp coffee and change. He asked if I wanted a shower, and I said, do I stink? He said no, so I said I will change COD [clothes over dirt] and we'll go.
It was bitter cold out. We stayed until 12:30, and boy does he love me. At least he better! LOL

New Quality - use term loosely - Supervisor

let me tell ya about our company's latest QC supervisor. We've gone through 4 of these since last Jan. They all started out ok, and then went stark raving mad before being fired or walking out, and this one is 3/4 of the way to being comitted to the looney bin already so . . . .

Here we have M, who looks like Mimi without the makeup, so I'll just call her that here. Another employee discovered she delivers newpapers to homes before work [car is stuffed to gills with papers and junk, making her look like a hoarder], and I noticed she does not do weekends, which will not sit well with the head of QC.

As well as working closely with management, I also work closely with QC because as trainer, I have to make sure I train myself on all the latest procedures, rejects, alerts, ect. so I will know what to train the OPs to do to reduce rejections. I read every job book every day, and if I see something that needs fixing, I ask QC to make those changes to the books. While other trainers or OPs either complain about the procedure, or do it their way, dispite what the books says, I've found if I simply state my case, and show QC what OPs should be doing to produce good parts, the procedural change usually gets put in the book that day. So I do know what the head of QC wants, and I think we'll be singing "Another one bites the dust" soon.
but until then, here's Mimi:

I saw a job set up that, upon reading the book, I noticed that one vital procedure had been left out of the instructions. If we do not do this prcedure, the parts will be bad and we will get a rejection. It won't run on my shift where I can instruct the OP to do it, so we must change the book to include this so if it starts on another shift, they will know to do it. So I tell Mimi. She says "Oh honey, I'm busy right now maybe later" I tell her if that job starts on 2nd or 3rd shift we will have bad parts, and I tell her what we need to do to insure that doesn't happen. I also tell her that the last time this ran, I told the last QC manager, and he didn't do it fast enough [it started up on another shift], and all the parts were rejected by the customer, so this should be a priority. She insists that she will do it tomorrow.
Luck was on our side, as the other shifts didn't have enough OPs to run it.
So finaly I get her to look at the sample parts the next day, and show her what we do to keep them in spec. She wants to make the Sup process that out. I have to tell her it's not a processable defect. As the material cools, it shrinks on one direction - laws of physics and all that. We're using the material the customer wants, and the fact is, it shrinks a bit. All we have to do is slightly bend the part flat before placing it on a cooling rack. She wants to think about it.
I got a QC tech to do it later while she was preoccupied with something else.
Thank goodness I am reasonable enough for others to see this was a priority.


 Among running an assembly machine myself, and sometimes an automatic press, and training people, and fixing things, I also make boxes, set up or fix job cells to S5 requirements, and give breaks. [yes, I am a bit hyper at work] That means I run their press while they go on break. One at a time. The breaks are 30 minutes each, so 5 of them means I will be tied up for 2 1/2 hours. If the cycle time affords, I often make boxes and do other jobs while running their press. Some jobs, I can't do anything but run the parts at hand, however.
So here I am, giving a break on press 4, and Mimi holds up a 2" tape gun and asks me for some tape. I tell her there is a tape gun on press 3 [next to me].
She holds up both tape guns and as if I didn't understand her, and she says
M: I want tape for this [empty] tape gun.
X [me]: Theres tape in that [other] gun, use it
M: where is the tape?
X: in the shipping dept
M: way over there?
X: Yep. just use the tape gun with tape in it [not that it matters, but the one with tape in it is a 3" tape gun]
M: but I want tape in this gun
X: then go to the shipping dept
M: but I don't want to walk way over there
X: then just use the gun with tape in it.
Even though I could get it for her, and then catch up any parts that are made while I am gone, I am already doing parts from another job inbetween parts from this one, and I do not want to indulge her folly.
She sulks off, comes back with 5 freakin rolls of tape, and places them on the OPs working table.
X: "Well you've now made this work cell non-compliant for S5" I say as I look at the pile of tape.
M: Can you put this with your stash?
X: I don't have a stash. I have one roll [it's the 3" and it's on a tiny table behind my assembly machine - people who need tape quickly, know it's there, and I check or replace that roll almost every morning]
M: Come on, you know you have a stash
X: I have ONE ROLL
M: Well, can't you find a place for it?
X: no
Later, when packing up my tools, to put them in my tool box, I see 4 FREAKIN rolls of 2" tape IN THE BACK OF MY TOOL box! Horrified, I removed them to place my tool bag in and lock up my tool box. I then take the freakin tape back to the shipping dept where it belongs. I am so mad that my personal space has been violated, I have to wait until I calm down before I say anything. Otherwise I may say something not nice.
She beat me. She came up to me, and elbowed me, and said "I found a place to stash that tape"
X: I saw that, and you can't keep it in my tool box.
M: Why not?
X: because it's my tool box. I lock it each night and there is no company property in it. Everything in it, on it, and including it, is mine, paid for by me.
M: Well can't I just keep some tape there?
X: No. No one is to go in my tool box.
M: mm, where else can I stash it? [looks around] what about there?
X: That's the stand that holds the computer that displays my test results, and everything under it is specific to this assembley machine. I can't have people comming here poking around and taking things I need to fix this machine.
M: It would just be me
X: people would see you, and then they'd come here and start taking stuff I need to run this assembly.
M: It wouldn't be that often
X: then just keep the tape where it belongs - in the shipping dept.
M: Where did you put that tape? [she wants to stash it there anyway]
X: in the shipping dept
M: Oh man . . .
Fortunately she is to lazy to go back there and get it. I sure as heck better not find that freakin tape stashed anywhere around my assembly!!!

What a time suck that woman is!

and speaking of time, lets just see where her priorites are, shall we?

We had a rejection on a part that was sent out incomplete. In the biz, it's called a "short" So to make sure OPs pack complete parts, The Head of QC adds instructions for the OP to use a silver sharpie and make a "Witness mark" on the part in the area of the part that is sometimes short. This forces the OP to look there while making that mark, and it validates to the customer that we did indeed look there.
We have a lot of jobs utilising such witness marks, and some are for parts that require assembly, to insure that components have been installed the part.
Well, all these marks take time, and because we're a creative bunch, many things were made to keep the sharpie marker accessable, without having to waste time taking the cap off, and putting it back on each time. Some have made holders out of an empty roll of tape. Often the pen cap comes with it, and so many OPs end up holding the pen in their hand the whole time, which dries it out prematurely. I simply tape the pen cap to the edge of the table, or the pole that holds up the light, making it a one handed operation to grab pen, and put it back, keeping it from drying out. This works well, and all is good.
Here comes Mimi:
Hey x [me] I wonder if you could try something out for me?
I am doing something, but I'll bite, so I say "Sure"
M: I made this pen holder and . . .
X: Oh the one on press 12?
she thinks . . [cuz she obviously doesn't know all the press's numbers yet]
so I say "the press up front, right?"
M: Yeah I made this . . .
I say "holder, right? it seems to work just fine." [its a chunk of syrofoam with a hole in it for the pen, and she taped it to the table top kinda like the empty roll of tape thingy that already doesn't work after awhile because the hole becomes bigger with use, and soon the pen cap comes with it]
M: Great, Im going to make them for all the presses
X; Ok, but whats wrong with this one? I say as I pull a pen out of the cap I have taped to the pole on the table at the press I am running.
M: Every table doesn't have a pole
X: If it has a light, it has a pole
M: yeah but every table doesn't have a light
X: well it should. We have to see the parts, right?
M: Well does it keep the pen from drying out?
X: The job this is for, hasn't run in 3 days, so lets just see
I pull the pen out again, and write on the desk with it, and it writes just fine, proving that taping the pen cap to the pole or edge of the desk top is an excellent idea.
Umimpressed, she leaves, and later I find out from a QC tech that she is BUYING the damn things cuz she thinks we are going through too many pens.

Never mind that we just ran a job that has to be marked in 3 places, and another that has to be marked in 16 places, besides the 2 jobs we always run that only get marked in one, so yeah we went through a few pens in previous weeks. How does she know how many?
Well she has made herself the keeper of these pens. Yep with all she has to do, she has added "keeper of the pens" to her job description.
Now what she is buying I don't exactly know, but I do know one can dumpster dive for a chunk of foam, and get what she made for FREE. Or we can all just tape the freakin pen top to the edge of the table or light pole, and call life as we know it, good.
When the job changes and that stupid chunk of foam is there in the way of the next job [unlike the one I had on a pole while running a job that didn't need it] what do you think is going to happen to that "device"? I know. It's gonna get tossed in the garbage! LOL

So when press 12 [ground zero for her experiment] got changed over to another job, I run to see where that stupid chunk of foam is, and fell out laughing well I saw it TAPED TO THE EDGE OF THE TABLE. I picked up the pen, and the cap CAME WITH IT.
That stupid thing will be in the garbage before the ones she ordered come in.

Oh, and all this after Mimi made the push with the head of QC to have us use china markers instead. I can't even imagine that conversation, but the head of QC is much less patient than I am, so . . . .

 Another Mimi encounter:
Our heat quit at work when it was 20 degrees outside, and many people were wearing coats. I was giving breaks [running peoples machines while they go to lunch], and she caught me doing my 5th 30 minute break of the day. I was busy as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs, trying to squeeze in other stuff while doing this, so I could finish my own stuff and go home at a reasonable hour.
M: Aren't you cold?
X [me]: I ditched my coat back at press 8&9. [those parts are hot, and I had been running the 20 feet or so between the two to do both and break 2 OPs at once]
M: Oh, you're one of those people that like to show your skin
X: Huh?
M: Do you use a tanning booth?
X: [holding arms out in disbelief] why would I use a tanning booth?
M: Aren't you an exhibitionist?
X: uh, yeah. That's me.
[the only skin showing is my face and arms, not dark skinned, don't wear make up, wear jeans from salvation army, and leather work boots, but ok]

So how about another Mimi story?
I think there oughta be a law that if we have to work on Sat, someone needs to bring doughnuts. After declaring it to be a law, nothing happened. So I began buying doughnuts on the way home from work, no matter how tired I am, and bringing them in Sat morning for everyone. I've probably been doing this for 6 months or more. Sometimes I take left overs home, and sometimes a person or two will ask if they can take some home. Sometimes, I save some for 2nd shift. As always, I am generous, and no one has ever seemed to be greedy about it.

Some lady on a message board posted a recipe for apple cider doughnuts, and I thought it would be cool to make them for work, but I did it on a weekday.
It took me 2 days to make them because I only have about an hour to do stuff each night.
So, predicting they'd be a hit, I made a quadruple batch of them. Made the dough one night, and fried them up the next night. Of course I rolled them in sugar and cinnamon till they were good and covered. In a minute you realise why I am telling you this.
I put them in the lunchroom, and warned everyone this was my first attempt at frying doughnuts. Everyone liked them.
Somewhere around noon, I was in the QC office, and Mimi [who had only been here a coupla weeks at that point] tells me they were too sweet, and that "once she scrapped off as much of the powdered sugar" that she could, she liked them.
Then she added that if there was any left at the end of the day, she could take them home with her, and give them to the deer that hang out her house.
I was shocked that, first of all, there was no powdered sugar. Then the audacity to selfishly take them all home with her, along with my tupperware containers probably, and finally feed her pet deer with them. I think I just said, oh, I'll keep it mind.
and boy did I. As soon as the last person finished their lunch, I ran into the lunchroom, and took the remaining doughnuts out to my car. I park in the back, and when I passed through the maintainance area, the QC tech was there, who had over heard Mimi tell me she wanted to take them. She was as flabbergasted as I was. I told her I was taking them home myself, and that just maybe I wanted to eat them, or feed my own deer. She told me that she couldn't believe that Mimi said that, and I said I was hoping she meant it nicer than it sounded. I mean does she have any idea how much work it is to make what 6 dozen doughnuts?
I got an idea.
Why don't I give her the recipe, and tell her she can make them for her deer!

Mimi botched up another job book yesterday. It's a part that is pass/fail. There is nothing to do to it, but inspect it, and pack it if it's good, or scrap it if it has any defects including 'flash'. She wrote instructions that the operator is to flick off bits of flash with their fingernail. It also says not to use a knife. Knives are exactly what we use to trim parts.
I didn't find out she changed the book until this morning when I come in and there is a brand new OP on 3rd shift using a knife to trim. I potlitely told 3rd shift QC tech, and we both looked for the book, and found it had been put away before the job was finished. Another "no, no"
After reading it and questioning a few people, we found out the OP was using a knife because he has no fingernails.
Everything he did is scrap now, actually if it needed trimming, it was scrap before, plus wasted 8 hours of manpower that could have been doing something productive.

I could put up with her being odd, but she is pretty much a failure at QC Sup, so far. It seems she just makes stuff up, without any investigation or research on what the customer wants.

Now for a quick note on Mimi:
She botched another job book, broke 2 digital gages, and mouthed off to a big wig yesterday, and I fear the stories will come to an end before this year does.

Mimi has upped her game. I am sorry to say, she hasn't said anything stupid to me all last week, and has been correcting job books fairly quickly. That's a good thing, actually, and all I really wanted. When she does her job, it makes my job easier. Doesn't make for a good story, however. I'm sure there will be more stories. That kind of stupid doesn't just go away. There's plenty of silliness left in her, just waiting to come out. That perscription ain't gonna last forever ya know.

Monday morning, I found out Mimi got fired last Fri. Bummer. No more Mimi stories.
There has gotta be one last Mimi story, but no ones talkin.
A whole lotta folks were dern happy about it. Was it a coincidence that I made doughnuts with my new Fry Daddy on Sunday, and brought them in? I dunno . . .

Company Rules

Now that I no longer work there, I thought I'd reflect back on some of the better times. Well if by 'better' you accept that I wasn't killed . . .

When my daughter graduated and moved out, I started on a new path as a press operator, where my husband worked. We were in different departments, and the only help I got from him was in getting the job. Bombarded with new tasks, and not wanting to fail, I tackled each one, finding little tricks, to help me "Beat the press" as I came to call it. I would create a pattern or series of steps to complete each part, and repeat it, until I memorised it, and went faster. Sometimes I made up little rhymes, to help me remember each spot to trim, assemble or look at.   I got so good at it, without even realising it, that unbeknownst to me, I had drawn the attention of the very person I was trying not to be noticed by - the boss.
My life's mantra had always been "Don't be noticed". As every bully's favorite target, I can't ever say that it worked. I really just like to do my job well, not be bothered by anyone, and go home. . . . and  I really thought that was the formula for my personal peace. Turns out many people like to see others fail, and will take measures to promote it, so that they can look good without having to actually be good at anything. My brain does not accept that, and I am quite sure that I upset a few people by succeding dispite their efforts.

Early on I discovered our companies unwritten, but strictly adhered to rules:

Rule #1 If theres a hole, somethings going in it. [If you don't want someone stuffing crap in your space, fill it yourself]

Rule #2 Nothing gets moved [or put away] until we need that space for something else

Rule #3 This place is one giant game of "Where's Waldo" Try finding an extension cord to run a material feed or conveyor belt so you can start up a press, and you'll see what I mean, even if the extension cord was there yesterday. [or an hour ago]

Rule #4 Nothing here is square, even if it looks like it is. If something you are packing into a box doesn't seem to fit, turn it 90 degrees.

Once I became trainer, I came up with some of my own:

Rule #5 Start every day with a new blade and a good attitude.

Rule #6 Don't copy other people. READ the job book!

Rule #7 Once the previous shift has left the building, you OWN whatever condition that work cell is in.  Don't stand in a pile of mess all day, and then clean it for the next shift, or point to it saying you didn't do it. Clean it NOW!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

What happens . . .

What happens when someone you work with is killed on the job?

We had been working 6 days a week, but this time, we had worked all 7 days without a day off.

Monday morning, I went in to work an hour early as usual to set up the work cell I am responsable for, and my supervisor tells me to stop for a minute. I walk over, and he says "last night, [my favorite 3rd shifter whom I will not name here] got stuck in a mold and was killed" In just a few seconds, I realised who he was talking about and that he is gone. Before I could ask, Sup says "No one knows what happened yet, but I need you to catch everyone comming in, and tell them there is a meeting in the lunch room. Don't let anyone go to that building"

I was thinking "Are you kidding me? I want to run outa here screaming, and I have to talk to people?" I went outside where I could indulge in my habit, and inform people as they approached of the meeting. I could see a pink sign on the offending building's door from where I stood, and I wondered what it said. Part of me was glad I didn't work on those parts anymore, because I sure didn't want to now. Upon being told of a meeting, most thought it would be a disaplinary meeting due to the poor attendance on the mandatory Sunday the day before. I only told one person, the material handler who also has to come in early, what it was about. He stayed outside with me, and we smoked like chimneys.

Just the morning before, I had talked to [MF3S] as I always do. I had brought breakfast in for everyone - scrambled eggs with sausage and cheese in a giant crock pot, and told him to have some. He said "Hey why didn't you say happy birthday [MF3S]  on [Month & Date]?" and I responded "Happy birthday [MF3S]  on Month & Date!" and we both laughed. Oh my goodness what a laugh he had! Excedingly energetic, and upbeat, always smiling, moving, and laughing. Who didn't love this guy?
The material handler told me he last saw [MF3S] skipping towards the door smiling, and holding a bowl full of my scrambled eggs, on his way out that morning, and I didn't know whether to feel happy that I had provided his last hot meal or not.

The meeting was quick and we were told to take a few minutes if we needed it. One of my crew wanted to go out for a smoke, and I said "go" Not sure if he'd get in trouble or not, he wanted me to go with him, so I did, and some non smoking members of our crew tagged along.
People that didn't even smoke were out there asking for cigarettes, and I must have given away a whole pack, telling them I had more if they needed it.

Few said what everyone knew: "I could have been me"

By 6am, the news was on many radio stations. I never heard it, but I did hear they got his age wrong. What else will they get wrong?

Back to work, my crew was broken up, both literally and figuritively, as we had to fill in for people who left in despair. Later, two more people left, and I was the only only one that remained in my work cell.
My knees were weak all day, and I wasn't sure if they would hold me up.

Storys were pieced together as we were told bits  of what happened by friends of other 2nd and 3rd shifters [the accident happened at 2nd and 3rd shift overlap], but nothing was complete, and some didn't even make sense.

As if anything could make sense right now.

I found out that his car was still there [who would come get it?] and that my car was parked next to his. ugh!

The building remained closed to all but the investigators, and later a cleaning crew.

Customers of the parts I make, prone to hanging around watching us work, asking why we did or didn't do certain things, getting in the way, and in general, being annoying,  kept their distance for once. They are lucky, as I am known to be polite for a limited amount of time, and that time was up before I even started this day.

At the end of my shift, some 2nd shifters arrived, but I saw them leaving again before I could pull my car out of the lot. I found out through FB that our sister company sent over their crew to work in that very building, at that very machine that killed my friend, just a few hours later. Less than 24 hours after my friend was Unceremoniously devoured, that predator was brought back to life!

That was our second shock!
Surely that machine that I'd heard was faulty can't be trusted to run again!
I mean I know we needed these parts, and that's why we were on mandatory weekends, but come on! Have some decency!

Back when I was only a  trainer, I had always said "It takes more than one mistake to close a mold on a part" as I point out all the safety's, floor, door, and rules to my co-workers. My rule is "The one who goes in  the press pushes the button [to start it again]" One of my current crew members knows this, and remembers how I told him to unplug the grinders before cleaning them and hang that cord over the top in view so we'd know it was still unplugged while we worked on it.

but this wasn't a part left in the mold. It was a person. It was an awesome person who deserved better. Not some debris to be cleaned off the mold so the monster can be restarted.

When I got home, I skipped dinner, and any chores I had planned, and instead googled stuff about accidents and plant safety until I couldn't see any more, and went to bed.

Tuesday, my crew and I came in early to make up for not running the day before, but were instantly broken up again to staff other areas of the shop, leaving little left to produce the parts I am responsable for.

I was asked to go to our customers facilty, and sort or fix inferior parts that had been shipped to their wherehouse - the very part I swore I never wanted to see again! These of course were shoddy because of all the untrained people being thrown at it - due to all the trained people being too traumatised to make them. Luckily, after about an hour they asked us to leave, saying they'd take them "as is"

When I got home, I googled more plant safety, skipped chores again, and dinner again, and went to bed.

Wednesday my crew and I came in early again, and again were sent elsewhere. Finaly the company realised they needed help, and got a 3rd party in to run that machine, as all of 3rd shift had quit and most of 2nd was still traumatised. Some of 2nd shift quit, and a few will be out for awhile, if they even come back. They had a group counselor in at the end of 3rd shift, and shut down for that.

Some co-workers [not management] passed around some sympathy cards to sign.

When I got home, I gave myself a break on plant safety, still skipped chores, and  dinner, and went to bed.

Thursday, they announced a group counseling for our shift, but it seemed they really didn't want us to go, because they needed us to work. My crew was still needed elsewhere as the investigators finally got around to interviewing the people that worked in that building.  They had my crew working on that monster machine, so that the ones who normally work it, can be interviewed by  the fine folks looking for the truth. [will we ever know it?]

An hour before the meeting, I was told to certify parts that had to ship that day, and that I could stay late if I wanted. I went to the meeting, and normally, I'd stay late, dig in and help, but I wasn't feeling it, so I left imediately after.

The meeting was held in the offending building, which I am sure was planned to force us into that lair. I was insulted that they appeared to treat this as a "get back on the horse" moment. I gave the monster a wide birth as I passed it.
The tables were made into a U configuration, topped with kleenex, and the couselor handed out printed brochures titled "Critical Incident Resources" and once again I was insulted that my friends death was reduced to a critical incident.

Really? I've had horribly critical incidents in my life, and I lived!!!!!

I don't know if it helped, but I had thought I was one of few who knew [MF3S]  and I found out everybody had worked with him. He always stayed late into our shift, right up to the company's 12 hour cut off, and there was nobody that didn't know and love working with him!

An office worker complained that the customer of the part made by the offending machine, had the audacity to ask if the machine was damaged, and when we'd be back up running again.

One of the things the couselor said was to "imagine the worst day in your life, and remember you survived that, and know that you will survive this" I thought "lady, you don't know me, what I've been through, and I sure don't want to think back on those times to determine which was the worst one. Yes, I did survive, but I was forever changed, and each time I reassesed my life plan, and made changes because of it"
So, yes, I am, once again, reassessing my goals, and my plans toward that goal, but first, I need to vegetate for awhile.
and I need answers. Not gory details, but answers. I need to be assured that this can't happen again. I need to feel safe, and that the company is doing all it can to insure the safety of it's employees. Right now, I don't feel any of that. I just feel pressure to perform my regular duties, because they need the finished goods. Was that pressure one of the causes of the accident? Will we ever know?

Of course management probably knew him, but not like we did. and they certainly never realised, and probably still don't, that we are broken! One of our loved ones has been killed by your careless supervisor controling this big monster and we are devastated!

There were rumours of another mandatory weekend, and I'd had enough. I went right to my Sup, and asked if we would have to work this weekend. My next question was already prepared "Would we be punished if we didn't?" but he answered my first with "It's voluntary" and I quickly said "ok" and walked out of his office.

On the way home, and feeling sorry for my neglected husband, I picked up a $5 pizza, still skipped any chores I had, ate a couple of the smaller pieces, and went to bed.

Fri, our crew was back together again halfway through the day, and like thoroughbreds that had been held back, they eagerly churned out an impressive number of parts.

 I was coasting toward the first real weekend I'd had off in awhile, knowing most of it would be spent catching up on stuff I hadn't done for weeks. but that would be ok this time. I just need to do normal things. I know I will never feel normal, but will instead adopt a new normal. One without my friend. One I hope will include justice for him, and a safer work environment for the rest of us. Will it?

First day back after the weekend, 1 person from 3rd that we thought had quit, returned - on our shift.

An obituary was posted on the entrance and lunchroom doors.

We found out that our customer came in over the weekend, and ran that machine. That's all they did, as we noted they didn't trim, or lable or even pack the parts correctly.
Later, a 3rd party came in to fix them.

I noticed a new sign on the machine that runs my parts [same size as the monster in the other building], and suspect it is on the others as well. It said in a nutshell that the person who enters and exits the machine is the one who should push the button to start it. Of course this is contrary to what the supervisors had been telling us: "Op1: You get the parts out, and Op2: you push the button" was the mantra to shave 8 seconds off the cycle time. I had previously refused, and instead moved a table by the machines door, so I could put the parts down quickly, spin to face the panel, and push the button myself. Problem solved.
So simple.
I am a production junky, and if I refuse to do something, it's for a reason. I will find a safe way to make quality parts in a reasonable amount of time. So why oh why didn't everyone do it that way?

As I write this, I remember once when my machine was running 'those" parts. It had  went down,  and the Sup was inside the mold, working on it.  I had gone there to put the OP's on another job until this was running again. While I was there, not 3 feet from the panel that controls the machine, another employee walked up from the end where you can't see inside the mold, and started to turn it back on. I screamed "No, don't touch it!" and he hesistated, but continued, and I screamed "Stop - it's down!" and threw myself between him and the panel. He told me to relax, and asked how long it had been down. and I said I don't know, but they are working on it right freaking now! He said ok, relax. I said "NO, you don't just just walk up and start pushing buttons when you don't even know what's going on!"  I wonder if my boss knew I probably saved his life that day?

So simple. The one who enters/exits the machine pushes the button.

Later, a 2nd shifter whom we thought had quit, returned.

2 days after returning from the weekend, and a couple of people had T-shirts made memorialising our friend.
I noticed the new sign on the machine had misspelled "Obstruction" probably because they were under the gun from OSHA. People are obstructions now?

3 days after returning from the weekend, the obit notice was taken down from the lunchroom door, and replaced with one from an unknown person, who turned out to be the relative of one of the management, who was fortunate to pass on from natural causes.

4 days after returning from the weekend, it was annouced we would be working this weekend.

and so it goes.

The dust has settled.

No questions have been answered.

Nothing has really changed.

Oh wait, my friend was wearing headphones when his supervisor pushed the button to cycle the machine, so they decided we couldn't wear headphones anymore. Yeah if only he wasn't wearing head phones,  . . . the Sup wouldn't have pushed the button without checking inside the mold [6 seconds], the door wouldn't have closed [8 seconds], and the mold wouldn't have closed [18" per second, then slows down as it engages the horn pins for a total of about 9 seconds] and crushed him. Yeah, that's it. My friend is gone in 17 seconds because the Sup didn't want to spend 6 more to check the mold, but lets blame headphones.

I think I know what happened, but I can't say, because of the possible lawsuit. I have done some die setting, and I know what has to happen to cause a tragety like this one. Again, more than one thing. Several rules were broken, and if anyone one of those people, or things worked as they should, this would never have happened.

I have changed.
I look at every open mold to see if there is an escape route, and train my eyes to detect the door closing, as well as my brain to react appropriately, should that door begin to close. The offending mold was as wide as the entire press that housed it, and taller than me, but it began at my knees. If I had to, I could lay down, and  . . . probably make it.

I began writing  my resume. I put down that we moved too far away to continue as the reason for leaving.
Would my prospective employers know that I work at  a company responsable for killing someone, and hold it against me?
2 months after they killed my friend, a sup I have known for 3 years and worked with for 2 of them quit.
4 months later, the company failed their yearly ISO and TS audits, and the head of quality threw up her hands and quit. The company no longer holds certification for anything.
6 months later, one customer pulled all their molds, and truck after truck lined up to be loaded so they could deliver them to other plants.

Even though I am overqualified, I want a simple operators job once again. I still need time to decompress, but I can't say that.
I keep getting calls for supervisor positions, but I am not entirely confident in that roll. I can do it, but I no longer want to come in early and stay late solving problems I did not create. I do not want to be in a position where I have to lie to people, or do things that aren't safe.
I want to raise chickens.
and make quilts.
and grow stuff.
and invent things.
You know, have fun again.
I finally convinced one prospective employer that I just want to work, and it seems like I may have a shot.

Finally, I got a call for employment starting the first of the year, which I had off at my plant, so I went there for orientation.  The plant tour emphasized plant safety and OSHA requirements. They wanted me to start the next day, but I felt I owed my crew, now called the "A team" by the customers, a chance to say goodbye. Plus I wanted to make sure that what happend to my friend wouldn't happen again without me there to provide optional directions when the head supervisor tells them that one goes in and the other one closes the door.

6 1/2 months after they killed my friend,  I took the new job, giving my company 4 days notice.  During those 4 days, I grilled my crew on plant safety. I still think if I was working with my favorite 3rd shifter that day, he'd be alive now.
I don't even care if the new job doesn't work out. They killed my friend , and they don't deserve to have me work for them.
and at least it moves them down one spot on my resume.

The Supervisor who killed my friend is still there.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Installing T-Post Clips on Garden Fence

I decided to fence in the humble beginnings of a garden, before it got too far.  Fat chance of that happening with the bunnies and other critters taking care of things for me. Bless their little furry hearts. To rephrase:  "before I sunk any more money into feeding the wild life." There, that's better. So I measured, and came up with a number divisible by 6, because that is the post spacing I would be using.
Then I drew a picture, and added up the perimeter footage 24'x2+36'x2= 120ft, got my post count of 20, and looked up supplies. I found that T posts are sold in total length, so if putting up a 5ft fence, I need 6 1/2 ft posts. Which they do not make, btw, so I will be fine with a little bit of fence over the top. I decided to go with 7 footers for the corners, and sink them an extra foot. Added everything to an online shopping cart, got my total, and then went to another site to price compare. The other site wasn't as friendly. It made me pick a store, then wanted to know if I would be picking items up or having them shipped, which makes sense, except  when I chose pick-up, it would not let me put them in a shopping cart. This was at 8am, and I wanted to get going, so I just went to the store that let me put stuff in a virtual shopping cart. I copied the cart contents, and printed it, and now I have my list.
I got what they call T-Posts, and what they call T-Post Clips, plus 3 - 50' rolls of 5' fence, and  150' chicken wire to re-enforce [detour smaller critters from] the bottom 2' of the 2"x4" fencing.
I think I am good to go, and after measuring and marking the spacing, I pound the posts in, and partially unroll one roll of fence. Now I am looking at these things called T-Posts and these things labled T-Post Clips, and my fence, and thinking something isn't quite right.

I must be what they call challenged because I do not see how these things go together. If I place them how they are shaped, they don't hook to the fence. If I hook them to the fence, they are of opposing shapes. There must be a trick to this I am not seeing. Of course there are no instructions for this. They must go together, because 1) they are given away in packs of 10 for free with each post, and 2) it's the only fence clip they, or anyone else for that matter sells.

So I went online and googled how to install garden fence. I got all kinds of stuff involving 2" fencing for bunnies, then guys with big tractors, using 2x4's to stretch the fence with, and a guy who uses fishing line for deer, and finally a guy who made a thing called a T-Post Clip bender. It looked so easy, I wanted one. I used plastic tie wraps to hold things in place, wrestled with a few of those clips, and decided to get one in the morning. After all, they are carried everywhere! So they said. I looked up a couple stores online, TSC, Home Depot, are the closest. TSC's wesite said one store was out, and the other stores listed, including the one by me said to call. They open at 9, so I just went at 8:30, having run out of coffee creamer.
No one had these stinkin things!
So, after trial and error, here is what I did:
Using 2 different pairs of pliers, and plastic tie wraps to help hold fence in place,
1 Straighten the T-Post Clip in the middle like the one shown on the left

2 Hook the 'one bend end' of the clip on the back side [in fact do one whole post at a time]

3 Wrap the one bend end around the piece of fence

4 Take pliers and grab the 2 bend end and hook it through the fence

5 Walk around to front of the fence,

6 Grab the clip at the point closest to the fence with the big mouth pliers to get the twist going.

7 Hold that position with your left hand using the smaller pliers

8 with other hand grab the wire and twist it with the big pliers. You can't see me using 2 pliers at once, because I was holding camera, but it will start to look like this:

9 After coupla turns it will end up like this

and that is how to make these illogicaly shaped T-Post Clips fit on to a T-Post!
If after all that, if anything makes in my garden and has dinner on me, I will have dinner on him!