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Aging Workers: Handling the Skills Gap at Your Facility


1 in every 5 American workers will be over 65 by 2020, a wave of retirement in the manufacturing sector could plague US companies with skill shortages and high costs of replacing veteran employees. Has your workplace begun preparing for a less experienced work force?

Although perhaps a bit cliché, the saying with age comes wisdom often rings true. As your workforce ages, your workers bring an added experience for problem solving situations unique to your specific workplace, in addition to technical knowledge and perhaps even name recognition within your field that is invaluable and irreplaceable. According to NIOSH, older workers tend to experience fewer workplace injuries than their younger colleagues and drive productivity.

So I ask again, are you doing all you can to try and retain the wealth of information within your business in some capacity as the years continue to pass?

Many corporations have begun to recognize this unavoidable future and have started implementing programs and initiatives to maintain their most valuable assets. For example sometimes making small inexpensive ergonomic changes like BMW has begun doing is all it takes, wooden assembly-line floors, custom shoes and easier-to-read computer screens. Companies like Scripps Healthcare and WellStar Health Systems have tried a different tactic offering phased retirement plans, allowing employees to flex their retirement, working part-time while still drawing a full salary and benefits. Other businesses like Michelin and HPEV have adapted current rules or created new ones to keep retired workers in consulting or strategic advisory board positions. Retaining worker expertise to further their companies in new and existing markets.

Only you know the status of your workplace and the changes needed, but the numbers don’t lie. The workforce is changing, and with change comes a need for re-evaluation to ensure that your workplace is prepared . Drastic changes aren’t always necessary but clear strategic and decisive changes will help your workplace adapt to what lies ahead. As the year comes to a close perhaps the time is now to start planning for the future of your employees and your business.



Creating SMART Safety Goald in the New Year


The end of the year is upon us and as we evaluate our workplaces across the country it is important to make note of the many safety accomplishments that have happened throughout the year while setting new safety resolutions for 2015, and taking workplace safety initiatives to the next level.   Many may have heard of SMART Goals before but have you been applying them in your workplace. They simply break down to making your goals Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Timely.

Specific: While it is good to have overarching goals it is difficult to find individual responsibilities on how to achieve these milestones if they are too high level. Break them down into actionable pieces that help to get your whole workplace involved and show the collective strength of a unified workplace working toward a zero injury environment.

Measurable: Have answers as to how you will meet these objectives in the timeframe given. Do you have productivity amounts and percentages attached to your goals? Are there certain costs and budgeting concerns that need to be addressed in order to help you achieve them? Set deadlines and create frequent check ins to track your progress and keep your goals on track.

Actionable: Are your goals within reach. Do you have the experience, knowledge, resources and capabilities on hand to achieve them?

Realistic: Be able to answer the questions “Should this be done?” “Why should this be done?”and “What will be the impact if this is done?” Create a well researched and strategic argument for why your goals are important and should be addressed above other areas in the workplace.

Timely: Set deadlines for your goals, leaving a project open ended makes it easy for it to get pushed for later when a more time sensitive issue arises. Once deadlines have been established stay firm on them. Schedule milestone check ups to make sure you are still in line with the end goal, and re-evaluate if necessary to ensure that your end result will meet expectations.

Having a clear roadmap for your goals in the new year will not only help upper management visualize what success will look like but will also help your workers get on board and know their responsibilities within your plan. Having organization among everyone within your facility and working toward the same end result will allow for feedback on a consistent basis and guarantee your plans success long term.

Getting Injured Workers Back on the Job


The worst has happened, an injury has occurred in the workplace. Neither parties involved want an injury to mean the loss of a job or an employee. The earlier a plan is put in place for an injured employee to return to work the better the chance is of them being back on duty. You may not have to wait until they are 100% recovered to return to work. It’s important to try to keep positive and keep them motivated – focus on what they can do, rather than what they can’t.

To ensure consistency it may be beneficial to develop a return to work policy appointing a single central point of contact for the injured employee to keep all information clear and concise. Stay in touch on a regular basis to check in on status, answer any questions, and update them on their standing within the company.

Consider looking into ways to work with your injured worker to accommodate them during their recovery. Perhaps modifying their duties, allowing them to work part-time or telecommute. Work with your HR department to see if there are set recommendations for your injured employee’s position and notify them of their options.

During this time establish a timetable for returning to work and encourage your employee in their recovery. Preventing injuries from ever happening to begin with is obviously always the goal, but the unexpected does happen. Having a clear policy will reduce chaos and miscommunication during this hectic time and help reaffirm to your employee that their hard work and dedication to your company is appreciated.

Workplace Safety News

Six Challenges Facing Modern Manufacturing Companies

Manufacturing is an ever-changing industry, where manufacturers face new issues and concerns every year. Since this year is no exception, here are a few of the top concerns that manufacturers are grappling with.

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Luxury automaker hit with $3.5m fine for failing to report manufacturing safety standards

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has fined a luxury automaker $3.5 million as part of a civil penalty for failing to submit the required safety information for its vehicles. The NHTSA has also issued the luxury automaker with an order to comply with its oversight requirements.

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Machine operator fatally crushed at an Ohio business
US Department of Labor’s OSHA cites company for 7 serious safety violations

A 45-year-old machine operator was fatally crushed while he adjusted a set screw on a rolling mill at an Ohio business. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation found workers were exposed to dangerous rotating machinery parts at the facility that rolls steel for railroad industry use. Seven serious violations have been issued as a result of the investigation. OSHA’s inspection found that the lead rolling mill operator, who had been employed for 16 years, came in contact with a spinning shaft. He suffered fatal blunt force trauma and injuries related to crushing as a result.

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