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Metal Fabrication

For anyone that works with or is interested in the manufacturing of metal.

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Comment by Kelley Winter on July 22, 2011 at 2:54pm
I've enjoyed our discussions, but have changed companies. I am no longer working in metal fabrication, so please don't be offended but I am leaving the group.

Take care all!
Comment by Rick Epler on June 21, 2011 at 4:24pm
Well it seems like everyone has their own challenges and have been able to build the envirnment to safely support the work. We are slowly showing signs of heading in the right direction. We hired a VP of Manufacturing with a long history of supporting safetyt. This will hopefully help me eliminate the "safety sheriff" image and transform safety into a "safety partner" image. Now, if I can get these eye injuries under control...
Comment by Dawn Rodriguez on June 20, 2011 at 8:24pm
We allow shorts but not tank tops.  We require steel toe or composit toe shoes and absolutely have safety glasses with side shields.   In some areas gloves are a major no-no due to rotating equipment.  However, those who "deburr" parts are allowed gloves.  We deburr immediately after a cutting process, even before it goes to the next person, to prevent cuts.  The fewer people handling a sharp edge, the lower the injury rate.  Of course our welders are not allowed shorts or tank tops. 
Comment by Richard Dill on June 9, 2011 at 7:36am

I also hear it a lot, "never did it that way before".  Our company has been in business for almost 90 years and all of my Supervisors were at one time hourly employees.  The yougest has been with the company for 15+ years and three of them have over 40 years with the company and one with 25+ years.  For the most part they may have been good employees but that does not make all of the good Supervisors.  Some are good some need to retire!  Change is hard enough with the employees but to have a Supervisor agree with them makes any change a challenge.  I hope the best for you.  Oh, by the way the Supervisor philosophy here is, if they get hurt hire me another person!



Comment by Kelley Winter on June 8, 2011 at 4:50pm
I'm cheering for you Rick, What a challenge! My company has been operating for 40 years, I hear it a lot "I've been doing this for ...years and I've never been hurt, and if you get hurt your an idiot and of course the famous one "it's part of the job, suck it up" I found the best resource is some of those employees I go to them first if a process or task needs to be changed, or implemented. If i can get them on board, I can get the whole company on board. 2 things I learnt Always have back up - Never implement something because it looks good, it works at a different company etc. I ensure I have all the edvidence and documentation to back up my arguement for change first (then they rarely argue with me) and listen to their opinion - they may have tried a similar change in the past and it didn't work. I also use 3 different draws: find out what matters most to them - is it the money? Then speak to that if you implement this then the company saves this and you reap the benefits in the long run. If it's family I use the what if it was your brother, child etc... If it's the challenge then I challenge them right back - you don't like my idea, then come up with a working solution.
Comment by Rick Epler on June 8, 2011 at 4:38pm

The majority of our eye injuries are from improper work habits. We purchased the fabrication side of the business last winter. The fabrication shop had never had a safety manager and the previous owner took it upon himself to make sure things "looked riight" on paper. The supervisors have been with the fabrication side for 25 years and never learned how to manage safe work behaviors. The philosophy they utilized towards accidents was, "that's welding."

I came out of retirement to take this job purely for the challenge and to build the safety culture from scratch.

Comment by Kelley Winter on June 8, 2011 at 4:10pm
Rick we also use goggles and a faceshieled. In one instance we did change the wire grinding wheels we were using to a more composite wire wheel. Our welders asked for the goggles after we had 2 eye injuries, it's working so far.
Comment by Richard Dill on June 8, 2011 at 3:50pm

Rick, I have castings that we bore, drill and tap.  We have to blow out the shreds of iron from this process and we use to have the same problem that you are going through.  I ended up issuing goggles to the employees who use the air guns to clean out the castings.  Goggles along with a faceshield seems to work best for me.  I did not get to much resistance from the group when I sat them down to discuss the problem and now that we have results it is even easier to implement new safety items.



Comment by Richard Dill on June 8, 2011 at 3:46pm

When I put together a needs assessment and reviewed the types of injuries that we had, it was a no brainer that we put in a mandatory glove policy for those working with sheetmetal and the cast iron that we also use.  We seem to do good with a 4 in cut resistance gloves and have reduced our laceration greatly. 



Comment by Rick Epler on June 8, 2011 at 3:43pm

I am the EHS Manager for a metal fabrication company that engineers, designs and fabricates amine systems, dehydration units, liquid recovery plants, adsorption units, skid mounted equipment and ASME code pressure vessels for the oil industry in West Texas.

Our PPE policy requires safety eyewear, footwear, and hearing protection. We do not allow shorts or tank toops due to the nature of the work. We offer gloves to those that request them.

Our biggest accident trend is eye injuries while grinding. No matter the engineering controls that we employ nor the PPE accountability that we enforce, nothing seems to prevent the flying objects from getting past the wrap around face shield and safety glasses.

Does anyone have any suggestions?


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