Tom Andel, Editor over at Penton’s  Material Handling and Logistics blog, raised an interesting paradox the other day.

“Not only is it hard  to recruit people into warehousing,” he says, ” but those who do get hired often exhibit an attitude problem about using personal protective equipment (PPE) like ear plugs or safety glasses. ”

In the U.S. employers provide PPE...

Tom goes on to say “Al Will, who now trains young people in the ways of warehousing…followed up with me afterwards, adding: “It seems as though we’re in a Catch-22. If a company fires workers for PPE non compliance, they can’t readily find replacements.”

Hey Tom, we have the same situation going in Precision Machining and Manufacturing!

Back to Tom’s Post :”That’s why supervisors are sometimes lax in enforcing safety rules. Good material handlers are hard to find. One industry magazine article I read recently advocated a “take no prisoners” approach to safety enforcement:

“The rules are that a careless workman must be discharged and a foreman who keeps a careless operator, even though he be a good workman, lacks the discipline necessary to safely handle materials in a plant.”

“This article spread the blame for safety negligence in a plant across all functions: “the employer, for not having proper and sufficient equipment, the foreman for not properly instructing the workman, and the workman who does not complete his part of a task, as when he removes a barrel head and carelessly leaves nails protruding in the barrel.”

You can read the rest of Tom’s Blog post here.

What do you think? Are you a member of the “take no prisoners” camp? Or are you a member of the “we can even rehabilitate the folks we have to hire- they’re all we can get”  School of Hard Knocks?

There is no doubt that OSHA holds the employer responsible for the safety of  all employees

So how do you solve this paradox?