This season, we’ve seen a lot of rough winter weather in the Buffalo, New York area thanks to what is known as the “lake effect.” And if when you work in an area of the country where snow on the ground is often measured in feet rather than inches, you’re likely to appreciate a job that keep you indoors rather than out in the winter weather.
More pleasant? Yes. But if you think about it, there’s really no shortage of actual dangers for workers who ply their trades inside climate-controlled buildings, even if frost-bite and hypothermia aren’t among them. This is especially true for people with manufacturing jobs (like our employees here at the RubberForm plant in Lockport, New York, north of Buffalo). So while workplace safety is an ongoing priority for us, this winter has gotten us thinking about the topic in a broader sense, and about RubberForm’s industrial, manufacturing clients in particular.
A 2013 report from the Economic Policy Institute estimates that workplace injuries cost the U.S. economic $250 billion annually. That’s from the 23,000 on-the-job injuries that take place every day! And about 60,000 of those occurrences result in death, which is more than either traffic accidents or homicide.
But numbers don’t begin to take into account the actual pain and suffering that’s involved. Whatever the macroeconomic effect, or the hit a company takes in terms of productivity, it pales in comparison to the anguish and hardship visited upon the injured worker as well as that employee’s family. This is why state and federal agencies have established rules and regulations for workplace safety that must be obeyed. Yet even if there were no laws on the books (or no threats of lawsuits), companies would still have a moral obligation to ensure their employees’ well-being while on the job.
At RubberForm, we take this responsibility very seriously—something that isn’t necessarily the case with many foreign competitors. At the same time, we are proud to offer an assortment of industrial safety products that were designed to help keep workers safe at their jobs. Among these are our spillcontainment berms, Treadsafe®safety flooring, portable electric cable support towers, and wheelchocks. Then again, to some extent virtually all RubberForm products promote safety—either for workers, our clients’ customers, or the public at large—just as our products made from American recycled materials also help protect the environment.
Winter has been going strong for a few months now, but the New Year is just now underway. So if you haven’t yet completed your resolution list for 2015, perhaps you might add “improve workplace safety” (if you haven’t already) … for brighter days no matter what the weather is like outside.