All Manufacturing owners and managers understand that by reducing workplace injuries you will in effect reduce your Workers’ Compensation costs. Of course I’m over simplifying a bit – creating a safety culture in a dangerous environment isn’t easy.
As a Risk Manager, I’ve worked with hundreds of manufacturing operations during my career. I’ve seen well run operations who consistently have a sub 1 MOD for their comp and I see others who are missing some fairly easy fixes. When I say easy – I mean there is an easy solution to the problem.
Manufacturing jobs involve a variety of tools and machinery, and with the operation of this equipment comes a variety of risks: Equipment failure, improper operation of equipment, poor maintenance, lack of training, and even the repetitive motion required to operate certain machinery can all lead to employee injuries. Here are some tips on how to prevent manufacturing related injuries, keep the workplace safe, and keep the workers’ comp. costs down.
Implement a Safety Management Program
Perhaps one of the most important rules in my book for reducing your Workers Comp claims and therefor costs is having a solid Risk Management program in place that is constantly being managed and monitored.
Many of the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) standards require that a written safety program be developed and communicated to all employees. Beyond being mandated by OSHA, experience shows that companies with fully developed OSHA-compliant programs have fewer accidents.
Safety management programs are a comprehensive live document, meaning they contain a rich amount of safety information that is constantly being evaluated and updated. They often will include: General safety practices in the workplace, guidelines for the safe use of equipment, access to Material Safety Data Sheets, equipment maintenance schedules, procedures for managing unsafe situations, and more.
Creating one may take some time and money up front, but a solid safety program will pay you back with fewer injuries, higher productivity, and lower workers’ comp. costs. OSHA provides free resources to businesses and will help you create a comprehensive safety management program.
Safety Checklist Poster
In conjunction with a comprehensive safety program, a safety checklist poster serves as an effective tool in raising safety awareness. Identify the core safety essentials in your business, put them in a quick view (bullet point) format, and post in the work area. This keeps safety fresh in employee’s minds, helps to cut down on injuries, and in turn will help keep your workers’ comp. costs down as well.
Here’s what a Safety Checklist might look like:
- Report maintenance needs or hazards immediately.
- Report incidents or injuries immediately.
- Horseplay is prohibited.
- Keep fire exits clear, unblocked and unlocked.
- Keep fire extinguishers and fire alarm pull stations clear.
- Clean up spills of liquid and water immediately.
- Clean up trip hazards once discovered.
- Wear gloves when handling pallets.
Repetitive Motion and Ergonomics
Manufacturing jobs often require employees to perform tasks involving repetitive motion, and injuries related to these activities are common in the industry. Since repetitive motion injuries are invisible, small injuries can go unnoticed until a more serious soft-tissue injury occurs.
Tips for preventing and reducing repetitive motion injuries:
- Maintain good posture when sitting or standing
- Work at a comfortable speed
- Perform basic stretches before work: Wrists, back, neck, hands, etc.
- Use proper lifting technique
- Take breaks and switch up tasks if possible
Keeping employees safe and healthy is a shared goal between your business and all of us at The Workplace Solution where we believe that employee wellness and a healthy company work hand-in-hand.
For those of you who know me, you know that I’m a business owner first and Risk Manager second. I understand the trials and tribulations of running a business, managing staff and keeping the cash flowing. I developed the WorkPlace Solution Workers’ Comp Captive program to help well run businesses not only manage their risks and control premium fluctuations – but to put money back into their pocket at the end of the year for a job well done.
We’d love to hear how you are keeping your Manufacturing Operation safe. What’s making you a best in class business?
Dave Sinclair, CEO The WorkPlace Solution