Worker Dies at Tumwater Cardinal Glass

Aug 19, 2008 Full story: The Chronicle, Centralia, WA 17

An employee at Cardinal Glass CG Tumwater was killed early Monday morning. Tumwater police were dispatched to the plant shortly before 3 a.m. Officers said that coworkers found Christopher Benson, 23, lying on ...

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Heglameister

United States

#1 Sep 13, 2008
I worked at Cardinal Glass in Casa Grande, AZ from May 2005, until November 2007. I guess I'm lucky to have not been killed. I sustained hearing loss due to excessive noise exposure and have been forced to exist on Social Security. Production was always more important than safety at the Casa Grande plant. Cardinal ignored many OSHA regulations. Safety procedures were changed only after somebody got hurt. Many of my former co-workers have been injured. The Casa Grande plant had a very high casualty rate.

I served on the safety committee for several months. This committee gave the illusion of safety. It became obvious that production was more important than safety. T-shirts and sports bottles were given to employees that didn't end up in the emergency room.

One particular piece of equipment would get jammed up with glass and it was policy to un-jam it while it was still running. Many of the safety features were intentionally disabled. I learned not to put my hands in moving machines when I was 5 years old, however, it was standard operating procedure at Cardinal. One of my former co-workers was injured and disfigured while trying to un-jam this machine. He's lucky to still have his hand. Tag out and lock out procedures apparently took too much time therefore, they were ignored. I verbally complained about this unsafe procedure prior to this accident and my supervisor told me to stop over reacting.

Several co-workers engaged in methamphetamine use/sales on the job. Handling raw glass with a tweeker is like playing chicken with someone that doesn't care. The Cardinal Casa Grande, AZ plant was run like a sweat shop in a third world country.

Broken glass on the floor is as slippery as ice. I found it odd that this fatally injured worker was alone long enough to get injured and bleed to death before anyone noticed.

I wonder if Sentry Insurance will deny his workers' compensation claim? Workers' compensation claims at Cardinal Casa Grande were alot higher than the industry average. Hopefully all employees were well trained(watched the video) in dealing with blood born pathogens.
NELSON DOESNT CARE

Vancouver, WA

#2 Dec 15, 2008
The Tumwater plant was one of Cardinal gems when it 1st opened. I believe that to be 1994 or 95. It was by far the cleanest plant they had. BUT things changed when Commander Klink AKA Steve Nelson came aboard in his 1980 's Caddy from a competing Seattle glass company.( he did upgrade his car last I knew as a Lexus ). Production became focus before safety. THE BONUS PROGRAM at Cardinal is a great source of income for the workers making nothing. So it is beat into you MONEY / Production over anything. EXPERIENCE GLASS workers where thrown out to the street to be replaced by less expensive wages. I along with many of an employee where kicked to the streets with lower waged employees coming in right behind us. Granted there is many of an employee still there when I worked there from 96-2000 but there is many workers sent packing there bags because they didnt want to be dictated to as just another number. Past employees will tell you that during that time 96-2000 when we where trying to make the plants 1st bonus and keep it going that Cardinal glass was the most stressful job they ever had. This would come from former employees changing jobs to a state penn as a guard.
You work 3 -12 hour shifts that change bi weekly to 4 12 shifts. LEADS would work through breaks so there staff could get breaks. Breaks would be stopped if emergency situations would happen. Emergency meaning production has halted. I was in charge of the LOAD END...and when I was let go not more than a few months after an employees neck was cut on line as he loaded glass. He just missed cutting a major artery. He was training a new person to load glass. In the 4 years I was in charge of load end not one person got hurt , because I trained people to load correctly. So a newbee was training a newbee to load and almost got killed. I mourn for the person who got killed in August , but I am surprised it didnt happen sooner.Steve Nelson Cardinal Plants inflate there numbers to corporate offices so they can make bonus...they are the enron of glass companies...have no idea how they are doing know but I am sure it is not good with the housing situation.
Michael

Austin, TX

#4 Jan 27, 2009
I've been drawn to Cardinal Glass because of the buzz around it's high performance glass, particularly for residential use, but the two above accounts from the floor are kind of disturbing. Although I'm not convinced by a couple disgruntled employee posts, it nevertheless raises the question of the values held by the company. It would be a shame if I felt I couldn't spec. Cardinal glass because of safety issues. It's tough when you don't have balancing information to weigh against the charges made.
harnat

UK

#5 Feb 1, 2009
Londonwide emergency Call Our for Glass and Glazing repairs

www.24houremergencyglazing.co.uk/
google

Roanoke, VA

#8 Jul 12, 2009
I worked for cardinal glass in Va. for 3 and 1/2 years, When i started it was a mad house, the management they put in the new plant was terrible, the safety record was so high we had atleast one ohsa recordable a week. that wasnt so bad as the time an employee picked up a piece of glass and it broke cut his nose almost off his face, the managers put him out the back door by hisself. so the other employees would keep working until the rescue personel arrive. he could have bled to death. that happened about 2 months before i was hired. there has been numerous different injuries since i was there. like the first poster stated, they dont prevent injuries with safe policies they just fix the problem after it happens. My best friend and i worked on the load end. we were having issues with soft coating on our coated stock. so we were told to start stacking all coated glass on an a frame. my best friend was pulling over about 1100lbs of glass on the a-frame and because we where running skeleton crews to save every penny possible for the plant the whole a-frame of glass fell on him breaking his knee, and tearing both is acl and mcl in his leg, his wife just had a week old baby. and he had to have multiple surgeries and is still going through rehab for it. the next day first thing they had straps brought in before we started working we unpackaged them and was told no a-frame was to be moved without them. when we said something they said it was always policy to strap them. funny thing is how do you strap them if you dont have the straps til after the accident happened. thats not even the worst part. somehow the way the glass all fell on him he was only scratch and didnt have any bad cuts at all. so the plant superintendent, safety coordinator, and human resources lady along with all the supervisors made him lay on the floor for 45 minutes before calling an ambulance, because our plant had a bet going with the ocala florida plant that we would have more safety days than ocala. they were gonna put him in an office chair and roll him out of the plant to the safety coordinators car and take him to a doctors office to keep from getting an osha recordable!!!!!! can you believe that! now to the guy thinking cardinal is great! its not!!! i worked my ass off for nothing, i was promised the world there and layed off 2 weeks after christmas along with 28 other people after they said they wasnt giving christmas bonuses out, instead they were not gonna lay anyone off! thats back stabbing if i ever seen it. but i am in no way mad. i will not ever work for that company again as long as i have a choice. them laying me off was the best thing that could have ever happened to me! i am now a much happier, less stressed person. So i do want to thank cardinal glass for letting me go before i was severely injured or killed. and for showing me what its like to work for a company that will put any of there products before there employees safety and well being!!!
Heglameister

Phoenix, AZ

#9 Sep 11, 2009
I'm so thankful I didn't get killed at Cardinal Glass. Cardinal's workers' compensation insurance carrier, Sentry Insurance is reading my blogs. I'm going to give them something to read.

The mortgage crisis and construction slump couldn't have happened at a better time. I hope the recession never ends. Prosperity lead to greed.

If I didn't end up disabled, I would have not received a stimulus check.

http://vandal49588.blogspot.com/
spectator

Madison, WI

#10 Jul 8, 2010
What do you think the company's behavior will be as related to cadmium coatings for photovoltaic coated glass? How about properly reporting and safely disposing of their hazardous waste? As for noise reported IN the plant at Casa Grande, AZ: at another location, the company's solution appears to divert all the noise outside toward neighboring properties. Cardinal Glass is a horrible community neighbor!
Jenbensonpadgett

Adelanto, CA

#11 May 9, 2011
The young man this article is about was my son. Cardinal blamed the entire accident on my son in the Olympian newspaper stating that he was "rushing" around. The never took responsibility for the fact they were fined for violations on the steps of the machine he lost his footing on (which resulted in his death). Christopher was a good enough worker that they put more and more responsibility on him rather quickly. If he was as careless as they painted him out to be, why did they keep trusting him with more. I am not saying none of the accident was Christopher's fault. I don't know because I wasn't there, but from what the coroner told me was on the video of his death (yes, the whole gory event is on video), he didn't seem to be that careless. My point is, instead of blaming the whole thing on Christopher, they should have taken at least part of the blame on themselves.
They did provide safety equipment. Sadly, though, said equipment did not fit properly causing some employees to wear only some or none of it. I was promised by management of Cardinal Glass in Tumwater that steps would be taken to improve on the safety equipment.
NaW

Seattle, WA

#12 Aug 15, 2012
I work at the Winlock plant and they are great. I was provided PPE that fit and was protecting. All they care about is safety especially with their maintenance crew. We may not make bonuses but with only 4 OSHA recordables in 8 months it is not the same at all plants. Our plant manager (Steve Smith) is awesome. All the people at our plant feel safe. The word at the plant is if you don't feel safe don't do it, and they are fine with it. I find that those who complain about Cardinal besides bonus were the ones who couldn't hack it. Remember bot all the plants are the same.
BKrause

Kent, WA

#13 Dec 16, 2012
I work at Tumwater CG currenty. Safety is a huge deal. Our Safety manager Seth is constantly doing classes and trainings, he'll write you up if you lift the gates by yourself, or don't have proper gear. All the management is strict about PPE and doing things safely, even with each other. I admit sometimes lifting gates by myself, when I need them off. But around glass is a different matter. Everyone here takes safety very seriously. The people who don't, don't stick around. I feel safe at Cardinal, and I trust the people I work with.
I have only been here a year, I'm the Load End Lead. The stoce stacker Chris got killed on is not used because of that reason. Gates were put up and better stairs. Anytime he has been mentioned at work, it's in a sad way. I don't think it's necessary to blame anyone after the matter, but I believe things have changed since. I love working here. It's still a job, but it's the best one I've ever had.
ttt

Shelton, WA

#14 Dec 26, 2012
They should just ship these jobs off to china. Americans complain to much and always feel entitled.
RGriffith

Olympia, WA

#15 Feb 22, 2013
I am currently a Quench Operator at Cardinal Glass in Chehalis and have worked there for over 3 years now. I am proud to say that our Safety program at the Chehalis plant has been very successful in implementing many safety policies that have greatly reduced the number of accidents at Chehalis. Our Safety Coordinator Pat Holden has done an outstanding job at making safety priority number one. We have monthly safety committee meetings that are well attended by our employees. In fact, the Chairman of our Safety Committee is a production employee. Yes, we have employees that don't always abide by the safety regulations as far as wearing the correct PPE. I will say, however, that those employees have been taught and shown the correct way to wear their PPE, they just don't care enough about their own safety. I have never been asked to do something at work that was dangerous or unsafe. In fact, if I see something that is unsafe at work I can submit a Safety Condition Report about it to get the problem fixed. At Cardinal Glass Chehalis - Safety is NO JOKE!
Jack

Lodi, CA

#16 Mar 3, 2013
google wrote:
I worked for cardinal glass in Va. for 3 and 1/2 years, When i started it was a mad house, the management they put in the new plant was terrible, the safety record was so high we had atleast one ohsa recordable a week. that wasnt so bad as the time an employee picked up a piece of glass and it broke cut his nose almost off his face, the managers put him out the back door by hisself. so the other employees would keep working until the rescue personel arrive. he could have bled to death. that happened about 2 months before i was hired. there has been numerous different injuries since i was there. like the first poster stated, they dont prevent injuries with safe policies they just fix the problem after it happens. My best friend and i worked on the load end. we were having issues with soft coating on our coated stock. so we were told to start stacking all coated glass on an a frame. my best friend was pulling over about 1100lbs of glass on the a-frame and because we where running skeleton crews to save every penny possible for the plant the whole a-frame of glass fell on him breaking his knee, and tearing both is acl and mcl in his leg, his wife just had a week old baby. and he had to have multiple surgeries and is still going through rehab for it. the next day first thing they had straps brought in before we started working we unpackaged them and was told no a-frame was to be moved without them. when we said something they said it was always policy to strap them. funny thing is how do you strap them if you dont have the straps til after the accident happened. thats not even the worst part. somehow the way the glass all fell on him he was only scratch and didnt have any bad cuts at all. so the plant superintendent, safety coordinator, and human resources lady along with all the supervisors made him lay on the floor for 45 minutes before calling an ambulance, because our plant had a bet going with the ocala florida plant that we would have more safety days than ocala. they were gonna put him in an office chair and roll him out of the plant to the safety coordinators car and take him to a doctors office to keep from getting an osha recordable!!!!!! can you believe that! now to the guy thinking cardinal is great! its not!!! i worked my ass off for nothing, i was promised the world there and layed off 2 weeks after christmas along with 28 other people after they said they wasnt giving christmas bonuses out, instead they were not gonna lay anyone off! thats back stabbing if i ever seen it. but i am in no way mad. i will not ever work for that company again as long as i have a choice. them laying me off was the best thing that could have ever happened to me! i am now a much happier, less stressed person. So i do want to thank cardinal glass for letting me go before i was severely injured or killed. and for showing me what its like to work for a company that will put any of there products before there employees safety and well being!!!
Still would've been an OSHA recordable. Know your info before you post.
Jim

Graham, WA

#17 Mar 30, 2013
I worked at the Winlock Cardinal Glass, and it was a great place to work. It was, and most likely still is, very safe indeed. They even employ a Doctor to adress any flukes or illnesses we might have. Every Tuesday. They do random drug test too. And besides that you don't get paid good money to 100% safe easy work. Quit being a puss
SAM

Olympia, WA

#18 Aug 4, 2013
i am currently on light duty (actually less than light duty) due to tendinitis that i got from 6 years of moving glass at the Tumwater plant. yesterday, while on light duty mind you, i had to send someone to break that required me to break my light duty restrictions while my supervisor stood by and watched (not helping as usual) and then when that person got back from break he finally grabbed his gear to help out. Then we have today, where i again broke my light duty restrictions to help out my crew because we are being made to stay 13-14 hours per day when we signed up for 12 (besides the point) and then got bitched at for talking and told not to chat while working, at that point i said screw this and left! i just spent time possibly furthering my injury to help out and this is the thanks i get? I cant wait to quit my job, although i am dealing with L&I for my wrist, so maybe i'll just let them know how they take care of their injured employees.
RJJ

United States

#19 Aug 29, 2013
I know most of the people that have posted negative shit on here, and all of them are whinners and slackers. This company rewards those who work hard and accomadates those that dont. The only knock I have on Cardinal is that there starting wage is low, and that they dont do enough to get rid of the whinner and complainers. Suck it up "Sam" pson. You've been sucking hind tit for years. The wage gets better, but you have to work for it. The profit sharing spread out to everyone that works for it is awesome! You work hard and come with a positive attitude, you do get rewarded. Go more old school Cardinal, get rid of these slackers!
Lead and proud

Olympia, WA

#20 Feb 21, 2014
haha right on RJJ! Tumwater CG is a great place to work!

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