It's Time TECO Prioritizes Employee Safety Over Profit After Explosion

It's Time TECO Prioritizes Employee Safety Over Profit After Explosion

The Tampa Electric Company produces its electricity from burning coal, natural gas, and oil-fired capabilities.
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Thursday, tragedy struck the Tampa Electric Company power plant in Tampa, Fl, after two people were killed and four were seriously injured in an explosion. The accident occurred at one of TECO's largest facilities off of Big Bend Road in Appollo Beach. The Tampa Electric Company produces its electricity from burning coal, natural gas, and oil-fired capabilities.

While the direct cause of the accident is still unknown, reports believe that there was a malfunction during a routine maintenance on one of the slag machines. Slag is a molten by-product that is formed during the process of burning coal. Chunks of slag build up in specific machines where they are later cooled and reused for products for roofing and sandblasting. However, during the maintenance routine on Thursday involving several TECO employees and independent contractors, molten slag began pouring out of the machine and onto the workers below. One eyewitness described the slag "erupting out of the machine like lava from a volcano," and the molten slag covered the factory floor with several inches in height.

TECO has issued several press conferences expressing their condolences to the victims and their families and are investigating into the cause of this accident. However, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 108, recently issued a statement on their thoughts on the TECO explosion and how it was completely preventable:

"IBEW Local 108 expresses our sincere condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives in this tragic accident. The local hopes that those that were injured have a full and speedy recovery.This incident could have been avoided - period. It's time to listen to the employees. It's time to stop using contractors to do “routine maintenance” when the safety of this maintenance has been questioned by employees. It's time to stop putting profit before safety. It's time to truly put safety first.IBEW Local 108 has always been concerned and focused on employee safety. We are currently working with OSHA in their investigation, and we are determined to do all that we can to prevent this from happening again. This will take cooperation, understanding, and effort from all parties. It can't be one-sided."

TECO has had a long record of employees being injured and killed on the job; one incident including a separate explosion at another facility almost ten years ago to the date. Due to its record, there's no doubt that TECO is cutting corners when it comes to keeping their workers safe in order to save a few bucks. Afterall, TECO has been previously criticized for hiring outside contractors to work on machines that their own employees thought were dangerous. How many lives need to be lost before TECO suffers any serious consequences?

Cover Image Credit: TBO

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I Weigh Over 200 Lbs And You Can Catch Me In A Bikini This Summer

There is no magic number that determines who can wear a bikini and who cannot.
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It is about February every year when I realize that bikini season is approaching. I know a lot of people who feel this way, too. In pursuit of the perfect "summer body," more meals are prepped and more time is spent in the gym. Obviously, making healthier choices is a good thing! But here is a reminder that you do not have to have a flat stomach and abs to rock a bikini.

Since my first semester of college, I've weighed over 200 pounds. Sometimes way more, sometimes only a few pounds more, but I have not seen a weight starting with the number "1" since the beginning of my freshman year of college.

My weight has fluctuated, my health has fluctuated, and unfortunately, my confidence has fluctuated. But no matter what, I haven't allowed myself to give up wearing the things I want to wear to please the eyes of society. And you shouldn't, either.

I weigh over 200lbs in both of these photos. To me, (and probably to you), one photo looks better than the other one. But what remains the same is, regardless, I still chose to wear the bathing suit that made me feel beautiful, and I'm still smiling in both photos. Nobody has the right to tell you what you can and can't wear because of the way you look.

There is no magic number that equates to health. In the second photo (and the cover photo), I still weigh over 200 lbs. But I hit the gym daily, ate all around healthier and noticed differences not only on the scale but in my mood, my heart health, my skin and so many other areas. You are not unhealthy because you weigh over 200 lbs and you are not healthy because you weigh 125. And, you are not confined to certain clothing items because of it, either.

This summer, after gaining quite a bit of weight back during the second semester of my senior year, I look somewhere between those two photos. I am disappointed in myself, but ultimately still love my body and I'm proud of the motivation I have to get to where I want to be while having the confidence to still love myself where I am.

And if you think just because I look a little chubby that I won't be rocking a bikini this summer, you're out of your mind.

If YOU feel confident, and if YOU feel beautiful, don't mind what anybody else says. Rock that bikini and feel amazing doing it.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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8 Things You Learn When You're Related To A Drug Addict

1. No one is obligated to choose you.
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Being the child, or family member of a drug addict can be hard but depending on how you look at it, it can also be a blessing in a very weird way. Here are eight things you learn about life from being the child or family member of a drug addict.

1. No one is obligated to choose you.

2. When people choose you, you know to cherish it.

3. Not everyone is going to understand your situation.

4. People have very skewed opinions about families of drug addicts.

5. People can change.

6. Not all people choose to change.

7. Being selfish is actually a lot of work.

8. Don't judge a book by its cover, or a person by their family members.

There are many things you learn about life, often sooner than most, when you're related or close to a drug addict. In my case, I have many members of my dad's family as well as my dad, who overdosed when I was young, who are addicted to drugs. Seeing people choose substance over blood at a young age is eyeopening, and hard to understand. As you get older and begin to understand the severity of the situation; life becomes clearer. You don't trust everyone you meet, you try to stay away from risky behavior, and family that chooses you becomes all the more important.

Cover Image Credit: Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

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