Anyone who was planning to write an article about Golden Dragon Copper prior to last week should not be deterred by my column, “Is Golden Dragon Copper tarnished?” Maybe, if enough unbiased articles are written, some interesting common themes will emerge.
I had no idea anybody was planning to write anything, but even if I had known it wouldn’t have changed a word I wrote. In a case such as that, don’t call me. Especially on a Saturday night. Just out write me. Where I am wrong, right me. But remember a column is not a hard news article or a feature story, and it is almost impossible for me to write my own opinion wrong.
There have already been several articles written in the recent past featuring different issues such as the communication problems and the clash of cultures at Golden Dragon. Maybe a fresh batch of articles would show the problems have been solved and everything running remarkably well.
But what initiated my column last week was the release of the penalties handed down by OSHA due to 14 safety violations. I knew it would be plastered all over the front page of the Progressive Era and other papers. The violations included unguarded machine parts, no safety rails, no fire extinguishers, exposing workers to electric shock, and for not training employees on an emergency plan of action or first aid.
OSHA, is not a small town in Wisconsin. It is an agency of the United States Department of Labor and stands for Occupational Safety and Health Act. They exist to assist companies in reducing workplace illnesses, injuries, and death. Because of the stiff fines, businesses get a little anxious about OSHA and are sometimes of the belief they go to extremes. But, even with that, if OSHA comes in it is kind of a big deal. It doesn’t reflect well on the overall management of a company, because here in America we tend to put employee safety first. Disgruntled employees may sometimes call OSHA. I guess that is the point. That is why OSHA posters are by law posted on bulletin boards in virtually all workplaces. And if safety codes are up-to-date, there should be no worries.
I assume most of our local leaders, along with anyone wishing to write an article about Golden Dragon, also want safe work environments for all area employees. But what kind of reality are we currently living in when a foreign owned company – that has only been here just over two years and already acquired 14 safety violations – isn’t questioned by those who enticed them here? Even if some of them aren’t huge violations, why defend them? Isn’t it important that they are corrected and not repeated? Is not a violation a violation?
Seriously, write the stories. Paint it bright if that is the truth. Tell everyone the gloriously positive aspects. Explain how the 14 safety violations aren’t a big deal and are simply the result of a handful of unhappy employees with loud voices. I think both Clarke and Wilcox Counties would appreciate knowing the violations have been corrected. And I do fully agree it is important Golden Dragon Copper survives and thrives. Unemployment rates are too high in both places, and there are already enough carcasses of dead businesses in Camden and Thomasville. Sunny South doesn’t need one.