If you are going to build it so they will come, be careful you do not break a leg in the process. The cost of injury in the machinery manufacturing industry is predictably outrageous. What is more terrifying than the costs associated with these injuries is the type of injuries caused. In June of 2014, for instance, a man was completely pulled through the teeth of a wood chipper in a matter of seconds. Injuries and deaths happen all of the time, and there are costs to everyone involved. The employee suffers; the employee’s family suffers, the community suffers, and the company suffers. Injuries in the machine construction industry occur on the business side of the production phase and also on the consumer side once the machine is sold. There is a real challenge for the machinery manufacturing industry to implement safety protocols, and it is difficult to narrow the risks on both sides of the equation.
Trying to design a piece of equipment that is injury proof throughout the whole process of development through deployment in the workplace of the end user is a very complicated process that can only be refined over time. The Bureau of Labor classifies the Machinery Manufacturing Industry as including agriculture, construction, engine, transmission, heating/air conditioning, and more. It is essentially comprised of the technical labor intensive fields and involves very dangerous work sites. One accident can put an entire company out of business. If the wood chipper was sold with a defective safety device or is found to be improperly designed the company could be adjudicated in a civil court as liable for millions of dollars. If the builders of the wood chipper suffered the same accident in the testing phase, it is likely every employee would walk out in addition to facing the same lawsuits from the employee’s family.
Loss of Time, Productivity, and Skills:
The size of equipment in agriculture, turbines, engines, and refrigeration can be intimidating in its final form. Part of the excitement in buying such equipment is the climb into the cabin of the tractor or airplane. There are innumerable opportunities to get hurt in the assembly part of the manufacturing process. The tires are hundreds of pounds, the motors for airplanes are over a ton, the chemicals are hazardous, and the many moving parts are accidents waiting to happen. There is no such thing as a cheap injury. Every injury has an associated direct and indirect costs. The costs of lower productivity, cost of retraining employees, the cost of the injury itself, and the peripheral costs.
In 2013, there were 25 deaths and nearly eight injuries per 100 full-time workers. Numbers like this are staggering. The average time off for employees with minor injuries such as cuts or scrapes was one day while serious injuries like back injuries or broken bones would involve several weeks to months. The costs of losing a skilled labor employee while keeping their position open until their return is a very expensive proposition. An injured employee can cost thousands and even millions of dollars if there is a severe enough injury or provable negligence.
Loss of Morale:
There is another cost worth mentioning that may not be apparent. When employees see other employees get injured, they naturally examine the circumstances and make determinations about their observations. It is natural to say how did the accident happen and how could it have been avoided. If employees see enough accidents, there will be a growth of unrest and the culture will suffer along with the productivity and the reputation of the organization. Employee safety pays for itself from a cost perspective, an insurability perspective, and will promote good relations between management and employees. There are many resources available to help in your health and safety efforts such as software provided at eCompliance.com to help coordinate your efforts. Do not become a statistic in this category, when it comes to safety, lead the way in support of a safe work environment.
The author, Ray Donato, is very familiar with mitigating risks as a result of his training as a paralegal, and writes articles on the topic in his free time to supplement his income from his full-time job. If you wish to learn more about Ray you can visit his Google+.