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.

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.

Safety and Training are High on Agenda for ET&D Partnership

More ET&D Training Helps Reduce Power Line Injuries

The Electrical Transmission and Distribution Strategic Partnership focuses on enhanced safety training. For member partners, the benefits are stacking up.

Real steps are being taken to enhance the safety of power line workers who perform one of the most dangerous yet essential jobs in the country. The Electrical Transmission and Distribution Strategic Partnership, a rallying of trade associations, unions, and contractors, dedicated a week in May to nothing but safety initiatives. The event falls neatly in line with the partnership’s history of safety-focused efforts.

Since its 2004 conception between ET&D employers and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the positive results have been plentiful. Among member partners, their joint efforts yielded fewer fatalities, lower injury and illness rates, and more transmission and distribution training.

In the span of two years, more than 13,300 workers received electrical transmission and distribution training in an industry-specific OSHA 10-hour outreach program. Around the same time, almost 6,000 managers and supervisors added to their qualifications with a Supervisory Leadership Skills training course. Power line safety is a top priority, and quality workplace environments and leadership reduce some level of hazard.

Power line safety should be a steady priority, especially as gas and electric companies are making serious investments to meet growing energy needs. Between two utility companies, the Louisville Gas and Electric Company and the Kentucky Utilities Company, more than 4,000 generation, transmission, and electric and gas distribution projects occurred in the past two years. New projects, like a proposed natural gas line in the same area, require more workers. And new hires often need transmission line training or enhanced safety training to truly fit the bill.

Other eastern regions are investing in similar projects. The Local Infrastructure and Transmission Enhancement (LITE) initiative in New Jersey has completed 24 individual projects since 2011, and it’s still going strong. More than $8 million worth of LITE projects are slated for completion by the end of the year. It seems customers are seeing the benefits of improved transmission lines and upgraded equipment as power line workers see the benefits of targeted safety efforts and ET&D training.

Due to a rise in productivity from fewer workplace accidents and better-trained workers, the benefits are seeping into customer service. Skilled workers with fewer safety concerns will do a better job and create more satisfied customers.

Sounds like the ET&D Strategic Partnership has the right idea.

Environmentalists and Politicians Struggle to Improve Chemical Plant Safety Measures

Reduce Public Health Risk With Chemical Plant Training

A group of environmental and public health organizations are calling for stricter safety legislation for chemical plants. We can start by offering chemical plant training.

A decade after 9/11, environmental and public health officials are once more bringing attention to the potential terrorist threat posed by chemical plants nationwide.

Mid-May, a score of environmental, public health, and labor organizations wrote a letter to President Obama calling for revised safety rules for chemical plants. But these guys are familiar with the Congressional game—new legislation is even less likely to get passed now than when former-Senator Obama initially introduced it in 2006.

The coalition of environmental agencies informed the current administration that the Environmental Protection Agency could implement new safety protocol of its own according to the Clean Air Act. Part of the issue is that the existing chemical safety law doesn’t encourage or incentivize the chemical industry to use safer chemicals and overall processes.

However, the National Association of Chemical Distributors disagrees. President Chris Jahn responded that the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards have already addressed many of these concerns. According to Jahn, some 3,000 sites have lowered risk by volunteering to change chemical ingredients and processes. Jahn argues that we should continue to enforce the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards instead of adding more regulations.

But there’s another solution that would likely help alleviate safety concerns for chemical plants. As the number of skilled manufacturing and chemical operators wanes, the industry turns to chemical plant training. But, training your workforce doesn’t have to be an overwhelming burden for plant owners. Courses in chemical plant operator training are offered at affordable prices online, and you can construct a curriculum based on improving safety regulations.

By transferring knowledge from quality employees on the cusp of retiring to new workers, individual skill sets can be tailored to specific chemical processes, plants, or changes. That level of personalized chemical operations training enhances safety and reduces public risk.

Not to mention, how else can the industry target and harness the raw—albeit untrained—talent of the unemployed? American youth has been especially crippled by unemployment rates, which is the same group that needs to rekindle an interest in chemical plants, manufacturing, welding, and other vocational trades.

In fact, MSNBC says the manufacturing industry will need 140,000 welders by 2019. So, the American Welding Society added a welding merit badge for Boy Scouts to start training young boys. Although there will likely never be a badge for chemical plant operations, the idea of training youth for tradesmen positions is still sound. Young adults equipped with chemical plant operator training have more to offer their industry, and they become an economic asset.

If you truly want to protect the public from chemical accidents or terrorist threats, properly trained chemical operators will both uphold the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards and instigate further progressive measures.

Factories Scour for Skilled Workers to Sustain Production

Expanding Manufacturing Must Train Workers to Meet Demand

As factory orders rise, the manufacturing industry has jobs to fill and a lack of skilled workers. Despite the potential for high-paying salaries, manufacturing positions don’t have the allure they used to.

Manufacturers are both elated and scared. The economy is stirring, manufacturing is gearing up and yet, owners are getting worried. Orders are coming in and production is increasing, all according to plan—but the workforce isn’t catching up.

Director of the New Jersey Advanced Manufacturing Talent Network, Meredith Aronson, reports that manufacturers “are coming back,” except there aren’t enough qualified workers to keep up the pace. Nostalgia aside, the manufacturing sector has the potential to curb unemployment if—and only if—unemployed workers get the manufacturing training they so desperately need. And boy, do they need it.

Throughout plants across the Southeast, Advanced Technology Services (ATS) hired more than 1,000 workers that required manufacturing plant training to maintain computer-controlled equipment. The South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance is pleased to see a comeback. From 2011 to 2012, South Carolina alone added 9,500 manufacturing jobs, and many of them need technical skills and safety training.

Although ATS staffs factories throughout the U.S., the company sees the highest demand for skilled workers in the Southeast, from Illinois down to Mississippi and Georgia. Georgia’s manufacturing industry saw real growth in 2010, but Republican Gov. Nathan Deal recognizes the necessity to educate the workforce with maintenance and industrial safety training to sustain recovery.

Gov. Deal responded with a marketing partnership promoting careers in manufacturing among Georgia youth called Go Build Georgia. The stigma working against the manufacturing trade tends to make young people and their parents shy away from factory jobs and plant work, but these jobs can be lucrative. Technical colleges with two-year degrees and multi-craft maintenance training can yield $55,000 a year salaries right out of the gate. Of course there are some discrepancies.

High-tech manufacturing positions—aka computers, electronics, pharmaceuticals, aerospace products—pay more than low-tech manufacturing jobs. In fact, a geographic layout of manufacturing salaries done by MSNBC said the rate of pay is determined by the kinds of factories operating in the region.

The top 6 areas that report the highest-paying manufacturing gigs are as follows:

1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif. (Silicon Valley)

Average manufacturing wage: $144,899

Industry focus: computers and electronics

2. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn.

Average manufacturing wage: $95,507

Industry focus: aerospace, machinery, computers and electronics

3. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, Calif.

Average manufacturing wage: $91,761

Industry focus: computers, electronics, food and pharmaceuticals

4. Austin-Round Rock, Texas

Average manufacturing wage: $88,026

Industry focus: computers and electronics

5. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, Calif.

Average manufacturing wage: $87,502

Industry focus: computers, electronics and pharmaceuticals

6. Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Mass.-N.H.

Average manufacturing wage: $82,415

Industry focus: computers, electronics, fabricated metals and food

Although this data might be somewhat skewed by a few top-level employees, and the cost of living has an impact, these salaries show the room for growth among high-tech manufacturing. We’ll bet some if not all of these regions have invested in factory education and plant maintenance training.

“Re-shoring” Efforts Yield Job Growth in Manufacturing

U.S. Manufacturing Reclaims Some Outsourced Jobs

The manufacturing sector continues to provide some significant job growth, but will it be enough when the workforce lacks basic industrial training?

The Obama administration is still hopeful that the manufacturing push will yield jobs and more American-made goods. Well, it looks like some of these efforts are paying off. Gradual improvements in the manufacturing industry made some changes appear insignificant, but economists argue the manufacturing sector has been a major and reliable source of growth in the economy since the Great Recession.

Data from the Department of Labor seems to agree.

Plant work and manufacturers created 120,000 jobs in the first three months of the year. Ford Motor is doing their part; the car company added 5,500 jobs this year that were previously outsourced. Ford reacquired the production of certain high-tech components used to assemble hybrid cars—like battery packs and transmissions—from Japan and Mexico. But automakers aren’t the only ones bringing jobs back to the states; mega corporations and small private companies alike are reclaiming jobs.

Chesapeake Bay Candles will now actually be from the Chesapeake Bay-area. GE is continuing its reign of expansion to appliances, aviation and locomotives. Last year alone, GE added 10,000 jobs. The multi-industry giant is projecting at least another 900 factory jobs by 2013. So, maybe the recent jobs report wasn’t a clear indication of the whole economic recovery picture. But if plants and factories are to make the most of new hires—and sustain ramped-up production—they need to invest in manufacturing plant training.

The second part of creating manufacturing jobs is enabling the workforce through education and industrial safety training. Not enough businesses see the value of in-sourcing because a large segment of the unemployed doesn’t have the necessary skill sets. Last year reported a record-breaking number of U.S. exports of nearly $20 billion, part of which is thanks to the construction/mining equipment maker Caterpillar (CAT). Since their heavy-duty construction equipment, especially mining machinery, has global appeal, they increased production efforts in the U.S. and put more money in the national pocket. But, increased production doesn’t mean much if workers don’t have manufacturing training.

According to CNN Money, the American workforce is at its smallest size since the 1980s. Although there has been some significant job growth, many have just stopped “engaging” with the job market—aka “job market dropouts.” It appears some adults have temporarily conceded to unemployment and returned to the drawing board for community college classes and technical skills, like manufacturing plant training. Job skills depreciate the longer someone is out of work and vocational education seems to be the only option left.

To offset the economic imbalance caused by discouraged “dropouts,” various sectors (especially the reliable manufacturing industry) must invest in the unofficially unemployed through industrial safety training, electrical training, operations training and more. Long-term investments yield more jobs, national revenue and exports, and America desperately needs all three.

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