Running your own successful construction company or industrial facility absolutely comes alongside its share of challenges. It’s not just about maintaining a high standard of excellence when it comes to the work you and your team do for your clients. Success is also about consistently staying well within budget and turning a profit without making sacrifices when it comes to the quality of your services.
The most successful industrial business owners never stop looking for ways to save money and make their bottom line even healthier than it already may be. Making sure that your facilities, warehouses, job sites, and project locations are as safe as possible is one way to go about doing this. Here we’ll take a closer look at how raising the bar when it comes to your safety equipment can potentially save you a fortune.
Andrews, S.C., Jan. 6, 2015 — While many U.S. manufacturers have been forced to move their manufacturing facilities overseas to remain competitive, SixAxis co-founders Rob Honeycutt and Fred Harmon have not only found a way to remain in the United States, but thrive as well.
In fact, the co-founders have reduced direct labor costs while experiencing rapid sales growth - which ultimately required a much larger technology focused team.
This success begs the question of how SixAxis, which manufactures fall protection equipment and loading platforms, created a success story while keeping its operations in the United States. Honeycutt and Harmon attribute much of their success to their on-going commitment to technological innovations in a customer-centric environment.
Falls are among the most common causes of serious work related injuries and deaths. OSHA recently announced the preliminary Top 10 most frequently cited workplace safety violations for fiscal year 2015 and fall protection (1926.501) ranks as its top violation with 6,721 citations for the year.
According to the Bureau Labor of Statistics (BLS), fatalities from falls, slips, and trips increased 10 percent to 793 in 2014 from 724 in 2013. Transportation and material moving occupations accounted for the largest share (28%) of fatal occupational injuries of any occupation group. Fatal work injuries in this group rose 3% to 1,289 in 2014, the highest total since 2008.
In addition to these tragic deaths and unfortunate injuries, falls, slips and trips can create a considerable financial burden for companies. Workersâ compensation and medical costs associated with occupational fall incidents have been estimated at approximately $70 billion annually in the U.S, according to the CDC.
Our company's mission is to help industrial workers return home safely from the job every day. So it's even more imperative that we practice what we preach and ensure that our own safety practices meet or exceed industry best practices.
Our own Quality Engineer and Safety Manager George Biggs shares some of his team’s best practices that are keeping workers safe and have contributed to their year-to-date record of zero lost time accidents. His plant manufactures SafeRack, ErectaStep, RollaStep and YellowGate brand fall protection and access systems for industrial work areas.
A true story... “In a previous company, our rule was to always have two people when working on machinery and never let a person work on a machine alone. There was a large mill on the end of my line. It had stopped, and we couldn’t get it started. I called maintenance and they sent an experienced person who told me I didn’t need to stay, but it was our policy to have two people present, so I stayed anyway. The technician got down in the machine and when he made the limit switch, the mill started. He had nowhere to go. I hit the emergency switch and killed the power, but the mill continued turning with just the power from the weight of the mill. The technician’s coveralls became entangled in the blade. Fortunately, he wasn’t hurt, but it was a very close call.
We see a lot of loading and unloading terminals, but one thing that impresses us is when leadership engenders a workplace safety culture. True, every company has output requirements to maintain, as well as, EHS and OSHA compliance requirements. However, in our experience, those leaders who place an emphasis on workplace safety are also top performers in OEE and other performance metrics.
Many managers are taking workplace safety a step further and incorporating ergonomics into their safety programs. It's a growing concern among EHS professionals because of an aging workforce. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, one in three workers is over the age of 50, and the concern is that the older the worker, the greater the risk of injury.
Regardless of age, ergonomics considerations can significantly reduce the risk of strain and sprain injuries. These injuries are often caused by overexertion. Weâve seen cases where itâs not the aging worker, but aging equipment that causes workers to require more physical energy to operate.
The NALCO Freeport, Tex. facility produces raw materials for its other plants. Some of the materials required to produce these raw materials arrive in isotainers, which led to a project with two objectives:
The first objective was fairly straight forward. However, the second objective is where the SafeRack team worked with NALCO Plant Engineer Bill Brown and his team to design an easy, more productive approach than the harness.
"Safety is definitely number one at NALCO," said Brown. "All of our operations, all of our projects take safety into consideration and it's our number one priority. If it's not safe, we don't do it."