Dependable Erection

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Paging Cherie K. Berry

Been doing your job much lately?
A major explosion hit a ConAgra food plant Tuesday, sending suspected ammonia fumes in the air and blocking access for a half-mile in all directions.

Family members were trying to reach employees of the plant on Jones Sausage Road, and were being escorted from a nearby Wilco Hess gas station.

Reports from the scene are that people were injured from the explosion and the ammonia fumes.

UDPDATE: This article gives a little background on how Ms. Berry has been missing in action for much of her term as labor Secretary of the state of North Carolina.
A Charlotte Observer investigation last year found that penalties for serious workplace violations in the state's manufacturing plants are less than half the national average. Some poultry processing plants haven't been inspected in more than five years.

Berry has said she can do more to improve workplace safety by cooperating with businesses than by levying stiff fines.


The 425,000-square-foot plant last was inspected by the North Carolina Department of Labor for workplace safety last July and no violations were found, said Labor Department spokeswoman Dolores Quesenberry.
Ooooh, we'd love to read that report and hear comments from anyone who works there.

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  • I've seen Cherie Berry's name on the inspection certificates in elevators in both CA and NC. I always thought it an poor name choice by her parents, but at least it's memorable.

    By Blogger SteveG, at 12:40 PM  

  • Assuming this is a failure of the NCDOL is a bit presumptious at such an early stage don't you think?

    By Blogger Patrick, at 3:20 PM  

  • The very first paragraph on the NCDoL website:
    "Welcome to your N.C. Department of Labor Web site. We strive to make North Carolina a safe and healthy place to live and work. Through its various bureaus, the labor department touches nearly every North Carolinian's life, from boiler safety to elevator safety to workplace safety and health."

    Isn't that their job? Isn't every incident like this a sign of their failure?

    By Blogger Barry, at 3:31 PM  

  • Barry that's assuming the workers are doing their job properly, safely and correctly. While the government can institute protocol, inspections and what not to protect workers, its hard to protect workers from other workers. To assume right away this accident is the fault of NCDOL when in fact no one yet knows why this happened is a bit premature.

    If in fact this accident is due to lack of oversight and enforcement of NCDOL rules and regulations then I'll be first in line to call for heads to roll.

    By Blogger Patrick, at 4:48 PM  

  • There are only two possibilities for this being the fault of workers at the plant. One is that they weren't rained properly in handling potentially destructive materials.

    In that case, DoL bears some responsibilities for not catching that.

    The other is deliberate malfeasance on the part of one or more workers. I'll concede that DoL bears no responsibility if that's the case.

    Based on everything that i've read about DoL in the past 4 years, i say the onus is on Cherie K. Berry to prove that she did her job to make sure that plant was safe.

    I suspect we have very different starting points when it comes to the level of safety we expect in the workplace. My assumption is that employers will do the absolute minimum to assure their workers' safety, especially in a right to work state like North Carolina. which puts a heavier responsibility on the state to ensure that those minimums are both adequate to protect workers, and are enforced.

    By Blogger Barry, at 5:00 PM  

  • I'll say it again. The only reason she keeps getting elected is because nobody knows anything about what the Labor Commissioner does, and a lot of people think it's funny when they walk into an elevator and see the name "Cherie Berry," so they vote for her.

    This office has no business being elected. Just let the governor appoint it, along with Ag., Ed., and Insurance.

    By Blogger Michael Bacon, at 3:28 PM  

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