You are the new safety manager for one of Furniture Builders’ five manufacturing plants. The company specializes in making wood bedroom furniture including beds and dressers. The plant where you work is located in High Point, North Carolina. You report to the plant manager.
During your first week, you reviewed past workers’ compensation claim reports and the organization’s OSHA 300 logs. During your review, you note that workers in the final assembly area have suffered 8 back injuries over the past two years. All these injuries were recordable incidents and were workers’ compensation claims. The 8 injury incidents over the past few years accounted for approximately 73% of the overall injury frequency (8 of 11) for that time, but only 15% of the total workers’ compensation claims cost.
After identifying this, you schedule a meeting with the plant manager. You tell him that you would like to conduct ergonomics assessments in the final assembly area because of the multiple injuries reported. He does not support this notion and states “the injuries suffered in that department have all been related to employee carelessness.” He also states “there is no OSHA standard for ergonomics, so there is no need to conduct an ergonomics assessment and besides, these incidents have only accounted for a small portion of our workers’ compensation costs.”
What do you do now?
Be sure to discuss whether or not you agree with the response, whether or not he/she chose a moral and ethical course of action, and whether it was consistent with professional codes of conduct related to the safety profession.
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