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Improving Safety at Your Facility


Eleven metalcasters underwent OSHA training and improved their incident and accident rates. Here’s how they did it. NAIRA CAMPBELL-KYUREGHYAN, PHD, AND KAREN COOPER, CPE, UNIV. OF WISCONSIN-MILWAUKEE, MILWAUKEE


injuries or illnesses per 100 man hours, higher than the overall industry aver- age of 4, according to data from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). A review of all industries reveals that metalcast- ing operations were among the 25 with the highest incidence rates for multiple years. Te largest percentage of injuries in


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metalcasting facilities is attributed to strains and sprains. Training in ergo- nomics, in combination with engineer- ing and administrative controls, can reduce these types of injuries. During 2008-2009, 11 metalcasting


facilities participated in an ergonomic training program funded by a Susan Harwood Training Grant through


etalcasting opera- tions have an average incidence rate of 9.8


OSHA. Te facilities were located in the Ohio Valley Region, and a total of 550 employees and 100 managers were trained in the program. All facilities were small, with eight of the 11 having fewer than 100 employees. Te types of casting processes at the participat- ing facilities included sand casting, diecasting and permanent mold casting. Te types of metals processed were aluminum, steel, iron and copper-based alloys, with an even split between fer- rous and nonferrous metals. Te training materials followed a


participatory approach, empowering employees with ergonomic knowledge to incorporate into their production processes. Te training effectiveness was measured by pre- and post-tests and a feedback questionnaire. Overall, the training improved written ergo- nomic knowledge by 24%. During the


MAKING THE BUSINESS CASE FOR SAFETY


In addition to their social costs, workplace injuries and illnesses have a major impact on an employer’s bottom line. Employers pay an estimated $1 billion per week for direct workers’ compensation costs.


The costs of workplace injuries and illnesses include direct and indirect costs. Direct costs include workers’ compensation payments, medical expenses and costs for legal services. Indirect costs include training replacement employees, accident investigation and implementation of corrective measures, lost productivity, repairs of damaged equipment and property and costs associated with lower employee morale and absenteeism.—Excerpted from an article from the U.S. Department of Labor


24 | MODERN CASTING October 2011


follow-up evaluations, several facilities demonstrated engineering controls designed to reduce employees’ expo- sure to risk factors.


Training Material Development Te basic ergonomic risk factors


present in metalcasting facilities were identified from observational data. Many of the same risk factors were found in every facility visited, includ- ing physical factors (heavy loads, pushing/pulling, high-frequency repetitive lifting, significant low and high frequency vibrations, awkward postures, excessive work duration); environmental factors (heat, high humidity, noise, poor lighting) and anthropometric/demographic factors (differences in employee age, height, strength, gender, etc.). Te training materials employed a


participatory approach, empowering employees with ergonomic knowledge to incorporate into their production processes. Examples from actual tasks observed in metalcasting facilities were used to demonstrate to workers the direct applicability of the concepts to their everyday work. A half-day workshop for all


employees (Part I) and a full-day workshop for managers (Part II) were created. Te identified risk factors were covered in the training, and information on developing and main-


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