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Management must concentrate on putting safety first.

"This company doesn't care about safety so why should I?" Touched on by several speakers at the AFS Metalcasting Safety Seminar held March 17-19 at the AFS Technical Center in Des Plaines, Illinois, this statement reflects the overriding problem between employers and employees regarding safety precautions.

This fourth annual seminar featured 11 industrial safety specialists who interacted with 49 attendees sharing their experiences and concerns about improving worker safety in foundries.

Stressing Safety

William Koepnick, Professional Training Services, Milwaukee, discussed management's role in establishing an effective safety and health program.

He noted that most problems in convincing workers to adopt safe practices stem from their resistance to change. "If they think performing unsafe practices are in their best interest, they'll take those risks," he said. "Our jobs are to change their perceptions and establish safety as a priority every day." He also stressed the need to recognize and appreciate employees making the effort to practice safe foundry measures.

Koepnick witnessed a welder who lost both of his legs when a 4800-lb casting fell on him. The accident occurred because this person was rushing to meet a piecework quota and it could have been avoided with another type of incentive program. He said: "Anyone who sees such a thing will make safety a religion."

Koepnick also revealed helpful tips for analyzing accidents. He suggested breaking down accidents into a cause-and-effect flow chart. He said by examining every variable within the situation, you'll prompt answers and see how to avoid similar accidents in the future.

He pointed out the "red flags" to look for when analyzing employee injuries, including back injuries, repetitive traumas and Monday morning injuries.

"What we're facing is if a guy hurts his back playing baseball on Sunday, he's going to crawl into work and claim it as a work-related injury on Monday," Koepnick said. "Videotape every job in your foundry and take it to the doctor to see if certain injuries could be caused by doing specific jobs--they're the only ones who can tell."

Emergency Action Plans

Richard Roberts of OSCO Industries, Inc., Portsmouth, Ohio, explained how to prepare and write an emergency action plan for your facility.

He noted that preparing such a plan is a time-consuming and often difficult task, but when emergencies arise, it is a more effective tool than any fire truck or other emergency equipment. "The purpose is not just to comply with OSHA," Roberts said. "You want to prepare employees in advance with a well-written program spelling out their responsibilities, evacuation routes and assembly points."

Although each foundry must address its own individual needs, Roberts noted that there are a number of items to keep in mind when preparing your plan. The plan must account for all possible emergencies that could arise.

Every emergency is classified as being common to all plants, including fires and natural disasters such as floods and tornadoes; foundry specific, such as those involving chemical spills and explosions; or location specific, occurring because of highway or rail problems. "By seeing what could cause certain emergencies, you can set preventive measures," Roberts said.

He also stressed including appendices in the emergency action plan which contain information on organization, communications, training, shutdown and reviews in addition to the elements required by OSHA.

After preparation, Roberts said you need to follow these steps for effective plan implementation:

* give a copy to local fire department officials;

* meet with management to discuss responsibilities for each department;

* conduct annual drills for different crises, including fire, natural disaster, spills and medical emergencies;

* continually review and make revisions to the existing plan.

"Management must buy into the program for it to be successful," Roberts concluded.
COPYRIGHT 1992 American Foundry Society, Inc.
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Title Annotation:American Foundrymen's Society Metalcasting Safety Seminar
Author:Lessiter, Michael J.
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:May 1, 1992
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