In the same day I interacted with OSHA and the USPS and I can’t tell you how similar the experiences were. Utley Brothers was paid a visit by O S H A – I can’t remember the last time they were here…if ever. The young lady pictured here, Kelly, was training the bearded gentleman so he can help other companies in Kent County attain their maximum safety. They were interviewing Phil. They were taking pictures of this and that and I thought I wanted to take a picture of them. I am not certain of the outcome of their visit, as Safety Officer Kelly will return at a later date to discuss their findings during their visit. I can respect the higher goal of wanting organizations to have safer places for people but OSHA doesn’t come at it with a consultative approach but rather one of enforcement, intimidation and fear (Security Officer?). They spent an hour going over our paperwork. Granted, it wasn’t organized well (it will be going forward)…but paperwork?
I kept thinking to myself…I have a great idea…for the few businesses left in the state of Michigan, let’s go harass them with regulations.
My other visit was to the Bulk Mail Entry office (USPS) to make sure we had prepared the paperwork properly for a mailing we’re dropping off later this week. It took the clerk, Marlaina, 30 minutes to find the correct form (because I used the wrong one) and a fairly long conversation with her supervisor who I think was trying to tell her not to accept the mailing and tell me to go away. Thankfully we had dropped the same mailing last year and she knew we did and kept pushing back with “they mailed this same thing last year”. Eventually the right form was found and we were set straight.
Both women are very nice people. They are professional. They are helpful (seriously) but the organizations they work for are not. These women are a tiny part of huge unresponsive detached bureaucratic machine. I don’t have a complaint against them. To me, that’s like getting your dinner at a restaurant and getting upset at the server for undercooked vegetables.
As a small business owners we anticipate and make our moves to respond to the market because if we don’t we won’t be around tomorrow. These organizations don’t live in that reality. They enjoy a protective cocoon of the long arm. It’s sad but I am actually afraid to express myself – especially about OSHA, which tells me I need to keep writing. The truth is we run a good shop. When the Security Officer asked me for some injury form I had no idea what she was talking about (more paperwork). She asked “when was your last workers comp claim?” It had been so long I couldn’t remember. We later determined it had been well over a decade. But she found bottles without caps, bottles without labels, paperwork out-of-order and I’m sure other things.
OSHA will be back in a few weeks to discuss their findings. I am interested to walk this path. But I can agree with what a famous man once said “The scariest words in the English language are ‘We’re from the government and we’re here to help.”
I would have to agree.