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Suppliers examine cost controls.

One of the reasons offered for the rocketing U.S. worker's compensation rates is that most accidents are the result of behavioral quirks of employees. According to Jan Travnick of Kemper Insurance Co., that just isn't so.

The executive, a speaker at the recent Casting Industry Suppliers Assn. (CISA) annual meeting told the group that workman's compensation costs have doubled since 1984, not solely because of worker complaints and indifference but because there are lapses in safety training and work rules enforcement. She said that the compensation costs currently threatening the bottom lines of many manufacturers could be cut dramatically simply by making the workplace safer.

'Employee education, good safety engineering and strict enforcement of health and safety rules are directly inverse to time and production lost, damaged equipment and low employee morale," Travnick said.

For every dollar of insured costs, $150 accumulates in uninsured costs, Travnick said, but added that the heavy cost of workman's compensation can be mitigated by employee safety rules involvement and accountability, management involvement and taking effective actions that limit losses.

Among cost-curbing activities are careful employee selection and job placement, keeping accurate work and injury data, safety training, medical monitoring, establishing injury and disability management procedures and using modified work programs for injured employees.

Product Liability

Laws governing product liability (PL) vary from state to state and there are remedial pieces of legislation pending in Congress that will change this scattered approach with a single federal PL standard for assessing damages. But until a federal standard is issued, manufacturers should take every precaution to protect themselves against potentially ruinous liability judgements, said David Derbyshire of Disamatic, Inc.

Using his own company as a successful example of an organization that has instituted a formal policy on product liability, Derbyshire said that what is necessary is a thorough program of product design, worker involvement and careful customer notification of any safety problems. There are liability pitfalls for the unwary so the contest for the supplier of any product or service is to guard as well as is possible against all contingencies.

He listed some of the most obvious safeguards for equipment as:

* selling equipment with proper guarding and warning signs that are in compliance with applicable standards and laws;

* developing applicable manuals for the safe operation of each piece of equipment, documenting customer receipt of instructions;

* establish an in-house design/manufacturing committee to assure that proper steps are in place relative to machine protection systems; keep legally defensible records on all equipment and customer notifications.

Economic Update

Einar Borch, reporting on the survey done by the CISA statistical committee, said responses show the percentage of ferrous foundry shipments (tonnage) by jobbing versus captive ferrous foundries has widened markedly since 1987. He noted that in 1983 captive foundry tonnage represented 53% of total, slipping to 33% in 1987 and down to 27% in 1990. Conversely, in 1990 jobbing foundries represented 73% of total foundry shipments.

Borch disclosed that the numbers he has been able to assemble from various industry and government sources indicate ferrous foundry shipments now are about half what they were in 1979.

He said compiling data is difficult, but that they indicate ferrous foundry shipments by captive plants tracked quite closely with steel mill product shipments from 1987 through 1990 and, therefore, is a rough, but fairly accurate indication of how ferrous foundries are doing.

Going back to 1954, for instance, 43% of CISA members reported that 100% of their shipments were to foundries compared to 14% in 1991.

The survey revealed that the bulk of current equipment and consumable products were shipped to ferrous foundries and that two-thirds of all products shipped were to medium-sized foundries (100-500 employees).

Washington Update

Walter Kiplinger, AFS vice president of government affairs, explained a congressional contact survey of members as a means of developing legislative relationships to make foundry views known on issues involving the industry.

He said that plans are underway to establish government affairs liaison representatives in each AFS regional as another method of influencing not only federal legislators but state and local officials as well.

Kiplinger appealed to the CISA membership to be active politically on behalf of the industry and, ultimately, for their own business welfare. He said that inaction or no action on their part is tantamount to giving a blank legislative check to anyone who takes issue with foundry industry positions.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Casting Industry Suppliers Association
Author:Kanicki, David P.
Publication:Modern Casting
Date:Jan 1, 1992
Previous Article:New legislation should give employers cause for concern.
Next Article:Meeting focuses on foundry concerns.

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