Reduce Occupational Injuries With Industrial Safety Training

Industrial Safety Training Saves Money on Lost Hours and Medical Expenses

One effect of workplace accidents—which can cost companies an average of $350,000—is twofold: safety training is an absolute must for industrial jobs, and the ROI is worth it, substantially.

Overall, fatal workplace accidents in the U.S. are declining. But the numbers are still huge and pretty scary. More than 4,000 Americans die from on-the-job injuries every year, and each year sees more than 3 million non-fatal accidents, injuries, and illnesses. Not only that, but the annual cost of occupational accidents is over $170 billion.

For some small businesses, injuries are a once-a-year fluke. For others, it’s an understood risk. Industrial jobs at manufacturing plants and the like are prey to workplace injuries by their very nature.

The industrial workforce truly relies on the protection of OSHA regulations and inspections—whose effectiveness is constantly called into question. A study by professors from the Harvard School of Business of OSHA’s random workplace inspections revealed that companies who received random inspections showed a 9.4 percent decrease in occupational injuries. The effect on a business’s bottom line was alarming. On average, each company saved $350,000 on medical expenses and lost wages. The results are convincing, but merely being aware of a problem doesn’t guarantee a timely fix or solution. Some companies don’t have the resources or budget to complete the scrolls of paperwork and conduct the follow-up inspections left in OSHA’s wake.

A cost-effective way to address the issue is investing in industrial safety training. Industrial plant safety training will reduce occupational accidents in and of itself, but it will also help companies pass OSHA inspections and correct existing problems. If you don’t have the time or funding to train an entire team, industrial safety manager training will give one person the ability to impart advanced industrial safety practices to other workers.

Quality supervision and industrial management skills are also critical to reducing accidents at work. It’s estimated that 88 percent of injuries that occur on the job are a result of human factors or mistakes, which means most are probably preventable with more worker education and industrial safety courses. The cost of industrial skills training tends to be worth it because it saves money on other avoided expenses, like the fines, reviews, and inspections that often follow injuries requiring hospitalization. Boeing, who has been fined by the stringent state of Washington for workplace accidents, knows this all too well.

Safety training also helps uncover compliance issues before officials do, or worse, before a hardworking adult gets severely injured.


Can Firefighters Nationwide Really Do More With Less?

Budget Cuts Rip Through Fire Departments as Wildfires Blaze in Mid-West

Some towns are starting to see the consequences of the budget cuts that rippled through fire departments across the nation.

While wildfires ravage the mid-west from Montana to California, fire departments across the country face severe budget cuts. Some departments—like the Westfield Fire Department in New Jersey—have suffered as much as a 25-percent cut over the past two years. Vacancies are not being filled, nine-man shifts become seven-man shifts or less, and the effects are potentially life threatening.

Per National Fire Protection Association recommendations, four firefighters should be on duty for each piece of fire equipment that’s dispatched to the scene of a fire, whether it’s an engine or a ladder truck. But when shifts are short one or two people, certain rescue equipment can’t be used. This means neighboring towns and volunteer departments—which are farther away—have to send both manpower and equipment to assist. The association also advocates that response teams send 15 firefighters to a scene within 12 minutes. Sadly, that’s not always the case.

In an effort to urge the town council to hire more firefighters, one Westfield citizen recounted the fire that destroyed her house. Due to the “two in, two out” law, which requires two firefighters to stay outside for every two who set foot inside a burning building, Westfield firefighters had to wait outside the house for a full 15 minutes before firefighters from Plainfield, N.J. arrived as backup.

West coast cities and volunteer departments are also experiencing budget cuts that could have harsh consequences.

Last year the Los Angeles city council denied filling some 318 vacant firefighting positions. The federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants, a program that gave $1.9 billion to various states and saved an estimated 13,000 jobs, spared some cities. But others, like Westfield, are seeing slower response times and higher levels of destruction due to local government penny-pinching. Since so many fire departments are facing serious budget cuts, it’s more important than ever to make sure firefighters are well trained.

Although President Obama showed support through his efforts to extend federal health insurance to about 8,000 temporary wildland firefighters, most firefighters still have to do more grueling work for less. That means firefighter basic training must be foolproof. Firefighter basic requirements haven’t changed much, but departments are tasked with scouring for quality firefighter skills training that’s also cost-effective. Online firefighter training is one possible solution, especially when one person must now fill the roles of several.

In 2011, volunteer firefighters in Texas had to buy their own gear and gas to drive the fire trucks. If departments can’t even invest in volunteer equipment, they must invest in firefighter training courses. Neither fire departments, municipal governments, nor local citizens can afford not to.

Domestic Quandary: Factories Needs Workers But Workers Need Training

Training Partnerships Groom Workforce for High-tech Manufacturing

Manufacturers are looking for control operators and engineers, but a dearth of qualified workers plagues the industry.

Although unemployment remains high, there are companies looking for employees. The notion may seem counterintuitive, but it’s true. The Manufacturing Institute reports some 600,000 unfilled manufacturing positions, and despite the masses looking for jobs, many factories are still floundering to fill vacancies.

A 2011 survey from the Manufacturing Institute found that 74 percent of manufacturers said a lack of skilled workers—like machinists, control operators, distributers and technicians—hinders productivity. Consequently, over half of the manufacturers surveyed (51 percent) said the shortage of skilled labor available makes it harder to meet customer demands. But, if there are unskilled workers hungry for jobs and technical jobs that need to be filled—there’s only one solution. We must equip them with the skills.

Harper College in Palatine, Illinois had the same idea. The community college is teaming up with local manufacturing companies to teach technical skills in the classroom, which is followed by a paid internship in the field. Training partnerships like these are emerging all over the U.S. But there are other training options available too, even for high-tech manufacturing. Online instrumentation training is another way to give potential workers the highly detailed and technical skills needed for open factory jobs.

The lack of unskilled manufacturing workers is a nationwide problem. Nearly 20 percent of Oregon’s gross state product comes from manufacturing, yet there’s still an evident skills gap due to a dearth of qualified candidates. This makes the competition incredibly stiff for non-experienced workers without instrumentation and control training. Good machinists are snatched up quickly, making the field ripe with opportunity for those who are interested in control operator training and instrumentation training. The field is also reliable; it’s clear America needs and will continue to need manufacturing to keep chugging.

Consumer goods manufacturing may never be firmly entrenched in American cities like it used to be, but heavy equipment manufacturing still flourishes here. But if we’re to keep supporting domestic manufacturing, we need lots of training partnerships and programs to recover the workforce. We also need to start encouraging children and teens to consider a future in manufacturing.

Kettle Moraine High School in Wales, Wisconsin participates in a program that teaches students skills necessary for manufacturing jobs. By the time these kids graduate high school they can weld and read blueprints. Top that off with advanced control training or engineering skills—and as a job candidate for manufacturing—young adults are prime for the picking.

If more training partnerships target youth, perhaps future generations will fill the rising demand for high-tech manufacturing gigs.

Are You Qualified Enough to Meet the Swell in Mechanical Maintenance Jobs?

Demand for Industrial Mechanics is Projected to Rise

The demand for industrial mechanics is growing over the next eight years. Are you ready to take advantage of the opportunity?

If you’re on track toward mechanical maintenance work, your future job prospects may be looking up—employment of industrial machinery mechanics is supposed to grow 22 percent in the next eight years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that’s faster than average for most occupations, a result of the continued adoption of sophisticated manufacturing machinery. More complex machines call for more highly skilled mechanics.

The trick, however, is making sure you have a broad range of skills in machine repair so you’re qualified for industrial mechanic positions. While those are increasing, the pool of machinery maintenance workers is only projected to grow a mere six percent. The slower growth can be attributed to the automation of many human-held jobs in factories and manufacturing plants. Computer-controlled machines create less demand for lower-skilled maintenance workers. But, if you have a foundation of mechanical maintenance skills, you’re already half way there.

Maintenance workers can build on their knowledge by attending workshops, conferences, specialized programs, and advanced mechanical maintenance training. Nowadays, there are a lot of options for adult learners and working students. Many mechanical maintenance staff training programs are available online, vocational classes are offered at night, and some industrial technology courses can be taken as six-week intensive sessions.

Since so many Americans are still struggling to find employment, it’s important for us to capitalize on job growth in tradesmen positions like industrial mechanics—especially when the income opportunities are quite promising. Did you ever develop an interest in drafting, mechanical drawing, or blueprint reading? What about welding, computer programming, or electronics? These aptitudes, as well as a constant desire to keep learning and improving, will propel you forward in manufacturing maintenance work.

If you have a background in technical skills or knowledge, adding plant mechanical maintenance to your list of credentials is as easy as finding a training program. Many employers will send workers to local technical schools to brush up on certain skillsets, but if you already had some or all of that training, you’re a guaranteed shoo-in.

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