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Matt and I were together for 10 wonderful years - met in 1998, married in 2002, until his untimely death on November 15, 2008. We have two beautiful, healthy children - Jacob (born 5/04) and Sydney (born 5/07)... the most precious gifts he could have ever given me.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Effecting Change

One of the things I find solace in is helping others in similar situations as mine. Whether it's by lending an ear, giving advice, or just simply "getting it." But there's a bigger service I need to perform to feel some peace.

I truly believe that one of the several factors involved that contributed to Matt's accident was the fact that OSHA hadn't stepped foot in the facility since it was built. Nor did they step foot in there after the new test bay was added on, which wasn't that long before Matt started working there. As far as I know, they only inspect a facility if there is an injury or death, or if someone reports a safety hazard (and who wants to be the whistle blower in the company they work for?). There need to be more preventative measures in place. That's not to say that the facility wasn't inspected at all, but if whoever the company hires to come in to inspect finds any violation, they don't have the power to impose the same fines, etc. that OSHA has. So what would motivate a company to comply if any were found?

For anyone who doesn't know or remember, Matt was a test engineer for a company that manufactures industrial-sized air compressors. His job included working with machinery that required National Grid and other major utilities to be called to get their approval before powering up the machines to test them - that's how big they are.

OSHA has no policy in place that requires them to inspect a facility that manufactures industrial-sized machinery before a company's operations begin. Nor do they have a policy to inspect a facility after a major structural change/addition has been made to the area where they manufacture/test the machinery.

Not to mention the pathetic fine they gave the company after Matt's death - a mere $6,300, and the company was only required to post the violation in the room where he died for three measly days. 

I believe that the only way I can make Matt's death not completely in vain is to see that those procedures are added to OSHA's policies.

I know I'll have my work cut out for me, and I'm gonna have to learn a lot about politics. It's going to be a long road, but I need to do this for Matt. I need to do this for all the other people working in these dangerous jobs, and I need to do this for myself.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good for you! Its a very important task!

letterstoelias said...

An important task indeed. I wish you all the luck and strength you need (and then some!) while working your way through the politics and red tape.

I'm sure Matt would be so proud.
~C~

Mel said...

You CAN do it, Andrea. You can. Change starts with situations like this, and people like you. It may likely be a long process with lots of setbacks, but you have the tenacity to stick to it and make it happen.
xoxo

Shannon said...

That would be a very heroic thing for you to do. Matt WOULD be very proud, Andrea. I know it would give you some closure too. Make you feel like you gave back a little. Good Luck to you, it will be a journey, but a very fullfilling one!

Jennifer M Karn said...

People before you have fought for laws to protect others and they've won. It wasn't easy, but they did it. I wish you luck and strength during your journey. And, thank you for it.

mymomgenes said...

If anyone can do it, it's you! You've got a lot of voices and hearts behind you!
-Angela

AndreaRenee said...

Thank you so much for the encouragement and the faith you have in me - I'll need it every step of the way! Especially when I come up against obstacles, and I'm expecting a lot of them.

Meghan said...

Sounds like a plan. I think Matt would love for you to fight for what you know is right. And you could save so many other lives in the process.

Michigan Roys said...

Way to go! I think you will find the help you need every time to do come to a wall. It will happen, one way or another and you'll make a difference. Keep on going!

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your bog for a little over a week now. And you are a strong and bright woman. Matt was a very lucky person to have someone like you to be as strong as you are. See I know Matt and he helped me with my problems that I was dealing with at that time. I have not seem him or spoke to him in years. He was like an angel that GOD sent to help me out. Andrea all I can say is that knowing Matt and reading your blog you are truly Matt's other half that he was looking for for years!! Take his heart with you and you will reach very high peaks. And when you feel that you can't do it just remember what Matt would say to you so you can.
God Bless you and your two wonder children they are a true blessing!!!!

Anonymous said...

sorry....my 2 year old just woke up and my 4 year hit the button to send before I proof read it....

God Bless you and your two wonderful children....

Anglea said...

Let me tell you, Andrea...if there is anybody out there that could do this...it's YOU!!! And I agree...Matt would be proud of you!

Notes From the Grove said...

You can do it, Andrea. It's all in who you know to get these kinds of tasks accomplished. Do some networking and find the people who know how to pull the right strings. You have a huge support system behind you!

AndreaRenee said...

Anonymous who knows Matt, do you mind telling me who you are? I LOVE hearing from people who knew Matt, and I would love to hear more about how he helped you, too.

Anonymous said...

I would love to but, not over the blog where everone can read. Do you have an email address??

AndreaRenee said...

Yes- you can find it on my profile page under "contact" to the left.
Thank you!!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Heather said...

Good luck Andrea! You can do this and I agree with you that it needs to be done. Though we have never met, you have my support 100% every step of the way.

-Heather