4 Things to Watch For to Protect Your Workers

September 11, 2023 | Manufacturing packs punch in Iowa's economy Sand Smith, Assistant VP - Policyholder Services Risk Improvement, EMC Insurance Companies,

A worker with a nagging injury can’t be as productive or engaged in their job, and it likely isn’t good for team morale. That’s why establishing a secure and efficient manufacturing work environment is paramount to overall productivity, profitability, and employee well-being. Not to mention it’s a sound business practice and government regulation requires businesses to maintain safe working conditions. 

Here are four top loss drivers to know and plan for to help you reduce risks. 

1. Ergonomic Issues and Overexertion

Ergonomic injuries are responsible for a high number of claims in the manufacturing sector. They generally occur when tasks are repetitive, or if they require excessive lifting or awkward postures. Here’s how you can improve manufacturing ergonomics and reduce overexertion injuries in the workplace:

  • Determine which jobs are most likely to have ergonomic risk factors by examining your claims history, looking into jobs with especially high turnover or thinking about the jobs at your organization that are hard to fill
  • Work with an ergonomics consultant to evaluate and improve your ergonomics program
  • Rearrange your workflow to minimize manual material handling, such as unnecessarily moving materials

2. Struck-by Accidents 

Struck-by accidents are preventable and can be reduced by implementing the following tactics:

  • Ensure forklifts, cranes and other large equipment meets inspection requirements
  • Use an operator evaluation to ensure operators understand how to operate equipment safely 
  • Create a machine guarding program that includes not removing machine guards and training employees on the types of machine guards and their safety requirements

3. Slips, Trips and Falls 

Spills, bad weather conditions and improper ladder usage are all contributing factors to slip, trip and fall claims. Fortunately, reducing these risks can be simple:

  • Conduct a slip and fall assessment and develop a prevention program with your provider
  • Identify factors that increase accidents, such as poorly marked curbs, cords that cross pedestrian paths or liquid on the floor
  • Implement safety changes, such as handrails, cleaning protocols and wearing slip-resistant shoes

4. Risk of Auto Accidents 

Vehicle accidents can lead to employee injuries and loss of dollars, property, and life. Prepare your drivers for the roads, reduce accidents, and improve overall fleet safety with these tips: 

  • Collect driving histories and review each driver’s motor vehicle record annually after hiring
  • Train drivers on general driving safety and company expectations, including defensive driving techniques and any applicable state and local regulations 

When it comes to workplace loss control and spending your safety budget, there are several techniques you can employ to make sure you get the most bang for your buck. For more information about loss prevention resources to protect your manufacturing facility, reach out to a local workers’ compensation insurance carrier specializing in loss control.