Safety Should Remain Priority in Economic Recovery
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) has released the 2010 recordable injury and illness rates for the metalcasting industry. Incidence rates increased 11.5% overall from 2009 to 2010, but are below industry levels in 2008.
Overall, the metalcasting industry logged 9.7 injury and illness cases per 100 full time workers and 5.1 cases where an employee spends days away from a job, whether restricted or transferred. Iron metalcasting facilities tallied the highest injury and illness rates, with 12 occurrences per 100 full time workers. Nonferrous casting facilities, except aluminum, recorded 5.2 occurrences. It is one of the lowest rates for metalcasting facilities but still represents a 36.8% increase over 2009.
Manufacturing as a whole increased its recordable injury and illness cases from 4.3 in 2009 to 4.4 in 2010.
After several years of declining injury rates, it is disheartening to see these numbers. Only two sectors of the industry continued to improve safety rates—steel investment casting and aluminum casting facilities.
Fred Kohloff, director of environmental health and safety for the American Foundry Society said a number of factors could have affected the increase over 2009, which was mired in recession. Fewer workers were on the job during a downturned economy, with no or limited over time, and many were working four to five days per week, which could account for better safety numbers. Fewer new hires in 2009 also could have contributed to better safety rates.
If you take 2009 out of the equation, 2010 rates in general do still continue the trend of safety improvement. But metalcasters should remember to make safety a priority, particularly as production revs up to meet a growing casting demand that is supplied by a now smaller group of casting facilities.