The Importance of Plant Safety
Although the number of workers’ compensation claims has decreased over the past fifteen years, the total cost of medical payments to workers has significantly increased (Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services). In fact, the total price of workplace injuries and illnesses cost the nation around $250 billion each year (FSM). In order to keep workers safe and protect the company from lawsuits, it is imperative to create a safe workplace.
In addition to staggering costs, a safe workplace typically increases productivity and boosts employee morale (FSM). Preventative care is the best solution for both the company and the employees.
Slip Resistant Surfaces
According to a Liberty Mutual study, about 65% of lost work time injuries are because of slips and falls on the same level. The cost per injury exceeds $21,000, an extremely high number considering most of these accidents are avoidable. Because the leading cause of slips and falls is “unsafe, unclean floors” (ISSA), the best way to resolve this issue is to find an alternative flooring material that is easy to clean and slip resistant.
Whether it is a meniscus or grit top, fiberglass reinforced plastic grating products can significantly reduce the risk of injury in the workplace. The slip resistant surface of FRP makes for a much safer walking surface for workers. The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates a 0.60 Coefficient of Friction (COF) on flat surfaces. FRP grating excels beyond this to have a COF of at least 1, even when wet.
In addition to the slip resistant surface of FRP grating, FRP products such as guardrails and handrails can prevent workers from falling.
Injuries dealing with Musculoskeletal Disorders accounted for 1/3 of all workplace injuries in 2003, according to the US Department of Labor Bureau of Statistics. FRP products are more ergonomical than comparable metal and wood products. FRP grating naturally bends in a way that is beneficial to workers' joints. According to FSM, “Ergonomic equipment also allows the worker to stay focused on tasks without distraction or interruption, which is completely common when tasks are accomplished by off-balance, encumbered, or awkward operators.” Overuse injuries lead to “decreased productivity, defective products, lost workdays, poor morale, and increased employer medical and compensation costs” (FSM). By utilizing preventative care, a company will save money.
A leading cause of work site injuries is overexertion. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overexertion leads to 26.5% of days missed by non-fatal occupational injuries and illnesses. Overexertion is caused by a variety of factors including heavy lifting. The lightweight propertiesof FRP products reduces the risk of heavy lifting injuries.
Repetitive heavy lifting can also lead to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). The annual cost of MSDs can be very expensive. According to National Insistute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the annual cost of MSDs amounts to between $24 billion and $64 billion.
Substituting a substantially lighter product, FRP, for the traditional heavy products, steel, will significantly reduce the amount of MSD claims.
The corrosion resistant properties of fiberglass products considerably reduce the threat of workplace injury. FRP products have been proven to endure industrial conditions for a significant amount of time without the effects of corrosion. Because FRP products do not corrode the way similar wood and metal products do, they maintain their slip resistant surface and load carrying capability, unlike any other product on the market.
Improper maintenance plays a key role in workplace accidents. Too often, the necessary maintenance is not conducted and leads to injury due to failing parts.
FRP products significantly reduce this risk. FRP will not rust or rot. It does not need to be sandblasted, scraped, or painted like substitute materials, and it is very easy to clean. Because FRP requires very little maintenance, workers can safely perform their jobs without risk of flooring failure and injury.
A unique benefit of FRP products over metal products is that FRP is not conductive. This factor greatly decreases the risk of injury and electrical shock. FRP grating and other products can be used in a variety of applications where steel grating cannot be used safely.
Americans with Disabilities Act. (2010, September 15). Retrieved March 5, 2014, from 2010 ADA
Standards for Accessible Design: http://www.ada.gov/regs2010/2010ADAStandards/2010A
ISSA. (2014). Retrieved March 5, 2014, from Slips, Trips & Falls in the Workplace: http://www.issa.
Cambell, T. (2011, August). 10 Tips to Prevent Slips and Falls. Facility Safety Management (FSM), p.
Martinis, C. (2012, Septeptember 13). Workers’ compensation costs for 2013 announced.
Retrieved March 5, 2014, from Department of Consumer Business & Services: http://www.