How to Organize Shops for Safety

Shops with good safety policies and systems outperform others in terms of productivity and financial performance


If a worker is adversely affected by his or her work due to poor quality job design and working conditions or is injured on the job, there will be an adverse cost to the employer, as well as to the individual worker. Adverse costs can be divided into two categories: direct costs and impacts, and indirect costs and impacts.

Direct costs and impacts are the easiest to see and understand. These include medical expenses for emergency room and doctor visits, medical bills, medicines and rehabilitation; workers compensation; disruption to business activity; overtime to make up for lost productivity; repair or replacement of damaged materials and/or equipment; fines, penalties and legal liabilities

Indirect costs and impacts of an injury are more difficult to identify and are often overlooked. Research has shown this can be up to nearly 40 times the direct costs, depending on the industry and the occupation.

Indirect costs and impacts include administrative and supervisor/manager time dealing with the incident and accident investigation; increased insurance costs; reduced productivity; impact on company morale and customer service; remedial and compliance costs for any equipment safeguards or modifications; safety training and/or development; and creation of new workplace policies, procedures and monitoring.

GOOD HOUSEKEEPING

“Maintenance and repair orders don’t stop because a technician is out with a work-related injury,” says Karen D. Hamel, the technical education manager for New Pig Corporation. “What’s worse is determining that the injury could have been prevented with something as simple as good housekeeping.”

New Pig is a supplier of innovative liquid management solutions to industrial, institutional and government facilities in more than 40 countries. www.newpig.com.

Good workplace housekeeping - routine maintenance and upkeep – reduces injuries and accidents, improves morale, reduces fire potential and can even make operations more efficient, officials at W.W. Grainger add. Workplace housekeeping should be an integral part of every company’s loss control program.

Grainger is North America’s leading broad line supplier of maintenance, repair and operating products. www.grainger.com.

The officials note that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) makes reference to housekeeping in several health and safety standards contained in Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (29 CFR). Per these regulations, all places of employment, passageways, store rooms and service rooms must be kept clean and orderly, and in a sanitary condition.

In order to ensure that proper workplace housekeeping is maintained, a continuous process of housekeeping should be incorporated into all processes, operations and tasks performed in the workplace, advise the Grainger officials.

Furthermore, they say each worker needs to understand that workplace housekeeping is an integral part of his/her job and not merely a supplement to work he/she already performs. As workplace housekeeping becomes a standard part of operations, less time and effort are needed to maintain it at an appropriate level.

Workplace housekeeping levels are most easily maintained if they are completed throughout the day as needed, they say. At the end of the shift, all areas should be thoroughly cleaned in preparation for the next day or the following shift.

SLIP-AND-FALL INJURIES

Leaks and spills that aren’t cleaned up promptly create slippery floors and track messes throughout the shop, leading to slips, trips and falls - the second leading cause of workplace injuries and lost work time, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, says New Pig’s Hamel.

The National Floor Safety Institute finds that slip-and-fall accidents account for more than one million hospital visits annually. It encourages workers to quickly report safety issues, such as a wet floor or equipment malfunctions, to a manager to prevent accidents and keep employees in the workplace.

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