Mixed results In BLS data

Tags: workplace safety

The number and rate of work-related injuries and illnesses declined in the American manufacturing sector in 2004, according to final data released this winter by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, that data also showed that U.S. manufacturing still has plenty of room for improvement. A total of 941,900 non-fatal injuries and illnesses occurred at manufacturing plants in 2004. In 2003, the figure was 973,600. At a 2004 employment level of 14.23 million, the frequency rate equaled 6.6 cases for every 100 full-time employees. In 2003, with 14.46 million workers, the case rate was 6.8.

While 31,700 fewer recordables and a 0.2 case rate decline is laudable, you must factor in that:

  • Manufacturing logged 22 percent of the non-fatal injury and illness cases in private industry despite the fact that it accounted for just 13 percent of overall employment.
  • The 6.6 case rate was significantly higher than that of overall private industry (4.8).
  • Manufacturing had the largest percentage of illnesses (42.2 percent) and injuries (20.9) among all industry sectors. For illnesses, its percentage was more than two times that of the runner-up (health care and social assistance).
  • Construction had twice the improvement in overall case rate (0.4 decline) and posted a 0.5 drop in injury cases.

Manufacturing recorded 73,800 occupational illnesses during this data period (compared to just 13,800 for the construction sector). This included case rates (per 10,000 full-time workers) of 16.7 for hearing loss, 7.4 for skin diseases or disorders, and 2.6 for respiratory conditions.

To read the full BLS report and obtain access to data comparison tools, visit www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/osh.pdf.

BREAKING DOWN THE OCCUPATIONAL INJURY AND ILLNESS REPORT
2004 recordable non-fatal injury and illness case totals and case rates per 100 fulltime employees for individual segments of the U.S. manufacturing sector. Segments are determined by the North American Industry Classification System:

MANUFACTURING NAICS SEGMENT
EMPLOYMENT
TOTAL CASES
CASE RATE
Primary metal products
466,000
47,000
10.0
Wood products
548,000
54,800
10.0
Beverage and tobacco products
193,700
16,600
8.7
Transportation equipment products
1,763,400
151,500
8.5
Furniture and related products
568,500
46,000
8.3
Food products
1,490,400
122,300
8.2
Non-metallic mineral products
498,500
40,400
8.0
Fabricated metal products
1,488,700
119,900
8.0
Plastic and rubber products
803,700
62,600
7.7
Leather and allied products
42,500
2,800
6.9
Machinery products
1,136,800
77,700
6.7
Electrical equipment, appliance
and component products
443,800
24,100
5.5
Textile product mills
176,200
9,500
5.4
Paper products
493,300
25,300
4.9
Printing and related products
658,500
28,200
4.5
Miscellaneous products
653,600
28,400
4.5
Textile mills
237,800
9,400
4.0
Chemical products
881,800
31,100
3.5
Apparel products
284,700
8,800
3.5
Petroleum and coal products
112,300
3,100
2.5
Computer and electronic products
1,314,900
30,500
2.3
Totals
14,257,400
941,900
6.6

OVERALL GOODS-PRODUCING INDUSTRY
EMPLOYMENT
TOTAL CASES
CASE RATE
Manufacturing sector
14,257,400
941,900
6.6
Construction sector
6,916,400
401,000
6.4
Natural resources and mining sector
1,481,700
54,700
5.3
Totals
22,655,500
1,419,300
6.5
Service-providing industry totals
84,896,300
2,838,000
4.2
OVERALL PRIVATE INDUSTRY
107,551,800
4,257,300
4.8

PERCENT OF INJURIES BY INDUSTRY SECTOR

  PERCENT OF ILLNESSES BY INDUSTRY SECTOR
Manufacturing
20.90%
Manufacturing
42.20%
Health care and social assistance
15.90%
Health care and social assistance
18.40%
Retail trade
15.20%
Retail trade
6.90%
Construction
9.80%
Professional, business services
6.60%
Leisure and hospitality
9.40%
Leisure and hospitality
5.30%
Transportation and warehousing
6.90%
Transportation and warehousing
4.10%
Professional, business services
6.60%
Construction
3.50%
Wholesale trade
5.80%
Financial activities
3.40%
Financial activities
2.60%
Wholesale trade
2.90%
Other services
2.30%
Information
1.70%

The Facts on Explosion-proof Lights
Hazardous industrial locations require specialized portable lighting to prevent explosions. Something as simple as flipping on a handlamp’s switch, or brushing its metal cage against a pipe, can set off a chain of events that costs countless lives and dollars in an industrial plant. If you work with portable lighting, here are some information tidbits that can keep you safe.

1) What is a hazardous location?: Basically, a hazardous industrial location is one with the potential for an explosion due to a flammable atmosphere. For example, because of high levels of combustible fumes in a petrochemical plant, a small spark from a standard handlamp can set off an explosion, as can the lamp’s excessive heat.

2) Are there codes for explosion-proof handlamps?: Article 500 of the National Electric Code (NEC) designates the classifications that both fixed and portable explosion-proof lights must meet (the principle difference being the proper use of flexible cords). OSHA’s standard on confined space portable safety lighting systems (OSHA 29CFR 1910.146) is also relevant to explosion-proof portable lighting since it applies to areas that contain a hazardous atmosphere. In confined space areas, you also must use low-voltage (12 or less) or GFCI-protected 120-volt lamps per OSHA regulation 1926.405 (g).

3) What makes explosion-proof handlamps unique?: Like standard handlamps, hazardous location handlamps provide portable, high-lumen lighting for such applications as plant inspections and maintenance. However, they are engineered to satisfy the codes that apply to hazardous locations with exclusive features like non-metallic guards, non-sparking swivel hooks, watertight designs and the ability to withstand extreme temperatures.

4) Who uses explosion-proof handlamps?: Facilities in the petrochemical, chemical, aerospace, defense, marine, grain and paint industries are principle users of explosion-proof handlamps. Because of stronger OSHA requirements, these and other plants use them in hazardous waste cleanups and power plant maintenance. Portable explosion-proof lighting is used almost exclusively for inspections, maintenance, turnarounds and tank cleanings/coatings.

For more information on this subject, contact McGill Electrical Product Group at 888-832-0660. You can also visit its Web site at www.mcgillelectrical.com.

Grinders, Saws and Ladders Recalled
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recently announced a voluntary recall on the following industrial products:

Makita U.S.A. 7-inch angle grinders
Makita says the guards on some of the grinders don’t fully cover the grinding wheel. As a result, if the grinding wheel comes apart during use, it could hit the user. Makita says it has not received any reports of incidents or injury.

The recall only involves Makita GA7011C 7-inch angle grinders. The recalled angle grinders were sold through industrial suppliers and home centers from July through September 2005.

Contact Makita (866-838-5008) to arrange for a free guard replacement. To learn more, visit www.makita.com.

Porter-Cable MAG-SAW 7¼-inch circular saw kits
According to the company, the lower guard on some saw models could stick in the open position, posing a risk of severe lacerations.

Affected models (and serial numbers) are: 324MAG (010001 through 108962), 325MAG (010001 through 014712), 423MAG (010001 through 100371) and 424MAG (010001 through 012690). The model and serial numbers are located on a label on the top of the saws. Units marked with a “T” have been inspected and aren’t affected by the recall.

Affected saws were sold through a variety of supply channels from March 2004 through November 2005.

For more information, call 800-949-7930 or visit www.porter-cable.com.

Louisville Ladder ladders
Louisville says the formation of the ladder rung may permit it to break near the side rail, causing the user to fall. It has received two reports of rungs breaking.

The following Type 1A ladders are affected: Model FA10XX multi-purpose ladder, Model FE84XX manhole ladder, Model L-3091 ultimate articulated ladder, Model FC100X step-to-straight ladder and Model FX100X extension trestle ladder. On the ladder, the “X” will have a particular model number.

Only ladders with manufacture dates/date codes from November 2004 through March 2005 are affected. The model number can be located on the model number/notice label, and the manufacture date/date code can be located on the model number/notice label or the metal wraparound adjacent to the hinge. These ladders were sold through industrial suppliers and home centers nationwide from November 2004 through June 2005.

For more information, call 800-660-4356 or visit www.louisvilleladder.com.

The Precision Metalforming Association recently formed an alliance with OSHA. The entities will provide workers in the metalforming industry with guidance and access to training resources to help protect worker health and safety. Particular focus will be placed on reducing and preventing exposure to ergonomic-related hazards and addressing press safety issues such as machine guarding and lockout/tagout to prevent amputations and other injuries.

Through the alliance, OSHA and PMA will develop safety and health curricula and materials on the recognition and prevention of amputation and ergonomic-related hazards, and provide expertise in communicating the information to industry employers and employees.

For more safety-related news and notes, visit www.reliableplant.com.