Extending safety off the job pays

Safety is an idea. Like truth and beauty, it is elusive to recognize and define. We do know, however, what the absence of safety looks and feels like. American workplace deaths and injuries are at an all-time low. Yet unsafe workplaces still proliferate. It a more cynical time, workplace hazards were seen as a cost of doing business.


Safety is an idea. Like truth and beauty, it is elusive to recognize and define. We do know, however, what the absence of safety looks and feels like.

American workplace deaths and injuries are at an all-time low. Yet unsafe workplaces still proliferate. In a more cynical time, workplace hazards were seen as a cost of doing business. Today, they can be the cost of undoing business. Workplace deaths and injuries have a direct cost on workers and on the business — in lost wages, in lost productivity, in retraining replacement workers, in lowered workplace morale and in higher worker compensation costs.

The companies that understand safety make it a part of the daily culture. The companies that don't keep Alan McMillan's mission moving forward.

As president and CEO of the National Safety Council, McMillan has attacked the issue of worker safety from two fronts: What companies and workers can do to stay safe on the job, and extending that corporate message of safety to the time when workers are off the job.

"One message has been there for years: any well-run, profitable, productive business operation has to have an effective safety and health culture as an integral part of the business," McMillan said. "Corporate executives pretty much understand this. Whether it's integrated into every decision is still an issue. It's not that the challenge has gone away, but the understanding of the importance is there.

"The emerging new part of the equation is the incredible part of the costs we see as it relates to safety and health of workers off the job," he said. "That's still a big bridge to be crossed. CEO's who get it are beginning to build a bridge to that issue."

Part of that bridge is an emerging understanding that if a worker is injured in a weekend accident in the home, while participating in athletics, or while driving, the cost to the company is still the same. A pulled hamstring or broken ankle will limit a worker's productivity no matter where the injury occurs.

"We're focusing on the fact that the culture of safety has to be 24/7, that the leaders on this have to be large, medium and small businesses and their executives," McMillan said.

To do this, many companies institute off-the-job safety training. Some offer the National Safety Council's defensive driving course to their employees and to their families, recognizing that if a child or spouse is injured, there is an effect on the worker as well. Other companies offer smoking cessation programs, fitness training, blood pressure screening and stress reduction programs. Some let employees borrow safety equipment such as gloves, safety glasses or ear plugs to protect the workers when they are working on do-it-yourself projects at home.

The cumulative effect is to make safety a pervasive idea in all parts of the worker's life — and to bring that worker back safely each day.

The Council offers training, literature and consultancy to assist companies in driving a message of improved safety to the workplace floor. They have a long-standing partnership with OSHA to encourage safety efforts, and to recognize plants for their outstanding safety efforts.

For those companies whose leaders haven't embraced safety, plant managers and engineers can help lead the charge forward. Data will help make the case," McMillan said. "Then look for the natural allies at the plant level - the safety officers, the unions and in human resources. The Council and its local chapters would be excited to be participants in that process."

The National Safety Councilwill host the 93rd National Safety Congress and Expo Sept. 21%%MDASSML%%23 in Orlando. Preceding this year's Congress will be the XVIIth World Safety Congress, being held for the first time in the United States.

For more information about the National Safety Council, visit www.nsc.org .

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Safer human-robot collaboration; 2017 Maintenance Survey; Digital Training; Converting your lighting system
IIoT grows up; Six ways to lower IIoT costs; Six mobile safety strategies; 2017 Salary Survey
2016 Top Plant; 2016 Best Practices on manufacturing progress, efficiency, safety
Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Big Data and bigger solutions; Tablet technologies; SCADA developments
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
What controller fits your application; Permanent magnet motors; Chemical manufacturer tames alarm management; Taking steps in a new direction
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; Paralleling switchgear generator systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
This article collection contains several articles on preventing compressed air leaks and centrifugal air compressor basics and best practices for the "fifth utility" in manufacturing plants.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
click me