I would like to extend a big huge hug to a friend of mine who lost a member of her family. My heart goes out to you and your whole family.
I would like to express my condolences to the family of Creative Paper Company employee David Gonzalez, Worcester, MA. David was pulled into a paper spooling machine and killed yesterday during his twelve hour shift at work. My father and my brother both work at paper factories, my father making corrugated and my brother making envelopes. Five years ago my brother had his hand caught in a machine and had to have parts of two fingers amputated. What happened to David Gonzalez is a factory worker’s family’s worst nightmare. The thing is, usually, things like this could be prevented by safety guards on the machines. The machines have safety guards. But the companies tell the workers not to use them because it slows production down. They also encourage injured employees not to report small injuries, and not to file to collect workman’s comp, etc. so that things won’t be investigated by OSHA (my brother’s company actually has pizza parties if no one “gets hurt” over a certain period of time. That is to say, if no one REPORTS that they were hurt). My brother never got a cent for his injury, because he chose to keep his job and have a reliable income, rather than receive compensation for an injury that will cause him lifelong pain, and could eventually make him not able to work anymore. If he filed, the company would find ways of firing him. And since word gets around, other companies in that field would hear that he was a troublemaker, and not hire him. My brother has three small children. He needs his job. I don’t know how David Gonzalez was pulled into the machine, but if it was a result of negligence on the company’s part, I hope his death will help others stay safe, with OSHA passing stricter guidelines on safety guards. Yes, they have laws now. But that doesn’t help when as soon as they walk out the door after their inspections, the guards come right off.
Factory workers are great guys. They are the people who keep this country running, who supply us with the things that we take for granted every day, the things that if we were without them, we would be lost. Please, let’s take better care of them!