PE study: Line workers are less committed to plant safety

While plants generally are safe, worker commitment seems to vary by job title, survey reveals

01/15/2014


The commitment to safety among plant management is high, but line workers are less likely to champion the cause of safety in manufacturing. That was the view of respondents from the recently-completed Plant Engineering study on attitudes toward workplace safety. 

New PE study reveals line workers are less committed to plant safety. Courtesy: CFE Media“That result is disturbing and calls for further examination by every plant manager in America,” said Bob Vavra, editor of Plant Engineering. “The idea that line workers even might be perceived to be less committed to safety on the plant floor is a trend we must reverse immediately. A safe manufacturing environment fulfills the promise of sending every worker home to family each night. It also preserves productivity and profitability, and those should be issues of attention for senior management and line workers alike.”

When asked who champions plant floor safety, 65% of respondents said senior management and operations management were “very committed," while only 55% of line supervisors and just 35% of line workers were seen as “very committed.” A full 20% of line workers were perceived as only “somewhat committed."

While the vast majority of personnel perceived their plants to be essentially safe, more staff in operations, maintenance, line workers and custodial staff rated their plants as “moderately safe” as opposed to “very safe." In contrast, by more than a 2-1 margin, plant management and safety executives regarded their plants as “very safe." Nonetheless, 95% of respondents said their employees feel essentially safe on the job.

“There seems to be a disconnect between the perception of safety and the reality of safety,” said Vavra. “It’s critical for each plant to re-examine their personnel’s attitude toward safety and take the necessary corrective steps to raise the confidence in their own safety efforts.

“A safe manufacturing plant is a basic tenet of Plant Engineering. It is the first criteria in selecting our Top Plant winner each year. It is the focus of one full issue each year, and is a guiding ideal behind all the articles we do,” Vavra said. “Safety is a core principle for us, and we believe it should be a core principle in every manufacturing plant.”

Other findings from the 2013 Plant Engineering Safety Study:

  • 74% of respondents said productivity increased as a result of their plants’ safety program. They also said safety efforts resulted in lower insurance costs and fewer injuries.
  • 90% of plants hold regular safety meetings, with 45% of those meetings taking place at least weekly. Daily meetings are conducted at 9% of all plants surveyed and another 13% conduct safety meetings on each shift.
  • 70% of responding plants have disciplinary programs for unsafe practices. On the other hand, 60% also have safety incentive programs designed to reward good safety practices.
  • Technology is a major factor in safety management. The survey found 81% of plants use embedded safety controls as part of their safety program, with 43% using outside training or consultants and 41% utilizing the Lean/Six Sigma strategy.
  • The barriers to safety seem to resolve around time, not money. Only 27% of respondents said the lack of funds was a problem in safety management, while 35% said training time was the issue. In a continuation of the earlier trends, 30% said that it was a lower priority among employees.
  • Plant management purchases the required personal protection equipment (PPE) in 90% of the plants. Just 35% of plants allow employees to take the PPE home. 

“We feel this is an overlooked issue for manufacturing, and one plant management can easily address,” said Vavra. “A worker injured at home misses the same amount of work time with the same loss of productivity as if he or she were hurt on the job. Studies show providing PPE for workers to use at home reduces these accidents. We think workers should be encouraged to stay safe in all aspects of their lives, and this policy is a simple, effective way to help in that effort.”

 

The study was completed in November 2013 and surveyed safety managers, plant managers, maintenance supervisors, and senior management. Almost two-thirds of respondents were involved in engineering or maintenance. Full results of the survey are now available at www.PlantEngineering.com.



The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers. Vote now (if qualified)!
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Maximize ROI with integrated control system approach; Microcontrollers vs. PLCs; Power quality; Accelerate and rewire IIoT; Traits for excellent engineers
HMI effectiveness; Distributed I/O; Engineers' Choice Award finalists; System Integrator advice; Inside Machines
Women in engineering; Engineering Leaders Under 40; PID benefits and drawbacks; Ladder logic; Cloud computing
Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) represent the logic (decision) part of the control loop of sense, decide, and actuate. As we know, PLCs aren’t the only option for making decisions in a control loop, but they are likely why you’re here.
This digital report explains how plant engineers and subject matter experts (SME) need support for time series data and its many challenges.
This article collection contains several articles on how advancements in vision system designs, computing power, algorithms, optics, and communications are making machine vision more cost effective than ever before.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
Cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers. Vote now (if qualified)!
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Maximize ROI with integrated control system approach; Microcontrollers vs. PLCs; Power quality; Accelerate and rewire IIoT; Traits for excellent engineers
HMI effectiveness; Distributed I/O; Engineers' Choice Award finalists; System Integrator advice; Inside Machines
Women in engineering; Engineering Leaders Under 40; PID benefits and drawbacks; Ladder logic; Cloud computing
Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) represent the logic (decision) part of the control loop of sense, decide, and actuate. As we know, PLCs aren’t the only option for making decisions in a control loop, but they are likely why you’re here.
This digital report explains how plant engineers and subject matter experts (SME) need support for time series data and its many challenges.
This article collection contains several articles on how advancements in vision system designs, computing power, algorithms, optics, and communications are making machine vision more cost effective than ever before.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
Cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by Control Engineering subscribers. Vote now (if qualified)!
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Maximize ROI with integrated control system approach; Microcontrollers vs. PLCs; Power quality; Accelerate and rewire IIoT; Traits for excellent engineers
HMI effectiveness; Distributed I/O; Engineers' Choice Award finalists; System Integrator advice; Inside Machines
Women in engineering; Engineering Leaders Under 40; PID benefits and drawbacks; Ladder logic; Cloud computing
Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) represent the logic (decision) part of the control loop of sense, decide, and actuate. As we know, PLCs aren’t the only option for making decisions in a control loop, but they are likely why you’re here.
This digital report explains how plant engineers and subject matter experts (SME) need support for time series data and its many challenges.
This article collection contains several articles on how advancements in vision system designs, computing power, algorithms, optics, and communications are making machine vision more cost effective than ever before.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
Cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me