Seventy-four percent of U.S. manufacturers believe that their workplace is safer than it was a year ago, according to new survey findings released May 24 by The Marlin Company and Occupational Health & Safety magazine.
The nationwide survey of 691 manufacturers, conducted in honor of National Safety Month (June), also found that 70 percent of American manufacturers have experienced no increase to their Worker's Compensation premiums and 55 percent of those surveyed reported a decrease in the rate of workplace injuries over the last year.
Forty-seven percent of the manufacturers surveyed reported increasing the amount of safety training in the last year. The majority of companies (57 percent) report holding monthly safety meetings. Sixty percent said they supplement their safety meetings with newsletters and other publications and 72 percent said they supplement the meetings with safety posters.
Manufacturers that don't supplement safety meetings with newsletters, other publications and postings reported a 46 percent rise in workplace injuries over the last year. While companies that supplement their safety meetings with newsletters, other publications and postings, reported only a 10 percent rise.
"Manufacturers clearly understand the importance that training pays in improving workplace safety," said Frank Kenna III, CEO of The Marlin Company, an international workplace communications company. "But training alone doesn't do the job. It's important to deliver repeated reminders so that employees stay focused on key safety issues. Adding a visual component like posters can provide additional reinforcement and help workers take safety seriously."
The No. 1 safety problem among US manufacturers is employees' failure to wear personal protective equipment, according to the survey.
The survey found that 60 percent of US manufacturers experience safety problems from employees' failure to wear PPE. The number 2 and 3 safety problems confronting American manufacturers, according to the survey are
• Slips, trips and falls (58 percent reported this a problem)
• Back injuries from lifting (47 percent reported this a problem)
Here are the ranking of safety problems reported by US manufacturers: Failure to wear PPE, 61 percent experiencing problem; slips, trips and falls, 56 percent; back injuries from lifting, 47 percent; failure to follow housekeeping procedures, 43 percent; improper use of machinery, such as lack of guarding or improper placement of fingers, 35 percent; eye injuries, 22 percent; lockout/tagout, 17 percent; other, 11 percent; and, injuries related to hazardous materials, 8 percent.
The survey was conducted in March and fielded to 4,948 manufacturers who subscribe to Occupational Health & Safety.