On an errand for the company: Is he still at work?

Bill Talbot, a mechanic in the maintenance department, was packing up his tool kit, preparing to leave as his shift drew to an end. Shipping Supervisor Jack Diamond approached.


Bill Talbot, a mechanic in the maintenance department, was packing up his tool kit, preparing to leave as his shift drew to an end.

Shipping Supervisor Jack Diamond approached. "Bill, I was told you pass through North Broad Street on your way home from work."

Talbot replied, "I don't usually go that way; there's less traffic if I go through Grand."

"Would it be a big deal if I asked you to drop off a shipment on Broad; they need the stuff in a hurry?"

"No problem. I'll be glad to do it."

There was one problem, but it was not anticipated. Talbot became involved in an accident when he turned into Broad, and suffered a fractured arm and neck injury which kept him out of work 4 wk. When he returned, he put in for Workman's Compensation. Matt Fellner, his supervisor, refused to file his application.

"Injury sustained off the job isn't compensable," his boss explained.

"Because I wasn't at work at the plant doesn't mean I was off the job," Talbot persisted. "I was on an errand for the company. In fact, if not for that I would have gone home my regular way and avoided Broad altogether where the accident occurred."

Though leery, Fellner promised to check it out.

Question : Do you think Talbot's application for compensation should be approved?

Benson's verdict: "Put through the application," Plant Engineer Art Benson instructed Fellner. "Even though he wasn't at his regular job here, Talbot was engaged in company business when he had the accident. On top of that, his point that he changed his normal route to oblige the company is well taken."

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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

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