ELMIRA, NY — Few industrial plants with up to three shifts a day can rack up a safety record of one million hours worked without a lost-time day, but Hardinge employees have beat the odds, earning a rarely conferred Safety Award from Liberty Mutual Insurance. “Seldom does a company in the machine tool industry go even a few consecutive months without a lost day work-related injury, so it is incredible to think of the feat that Hardinge employees accomplished between October 16, 2005, and August 11, 2006,” says Mike Mucci, Manager, Safety & Security. The Elmira, N.Y., plant has 630+ employees with 430 of them directly involved in manufacturing.
What’s more, employees this past October 16 built on their achievement by going without a lost-day injury for a full year.
“This is the highest award we give to customers and it’s not one we give out very often,” notes Thomas Hough, Liberty Account Executive, who speaks from 22 years of experience in industrial insurance. “That puts it into perspective. So many days is a tremendous achievement.”
An award of this magnitude never comes easily, Mucci says. “It takes a dedicated and alert workforce with safe work habits where everyone follows immediate reporting procedures when an injury does occur. Also crucial is the response provided by our occupational health office staff, production managers and insurance personnel in immediate treatment and providing – where necessary – alternate, recovery appropriate work duties.
Immediate reporting is key to the response process, Mucci says. “It automatically works better because the injured worker receives immediate care that leads to higher and shorter recovery rates. It just makes more sense than letting an untreated injury linger, hoping it will
get better on its own.” Each production shift includes a 10-minute Tool Box session that combines safety tips with training to keep safety awareness fresh and consistent.
Dave Austin, Operations Manager, Machine Division, praises the Tool Box training and credits as well employee implementation of the 5 S’s in lean manufacturing. Sorting, Setting in Order, etc., rid the factory floor of clutter and thus reduce potential hazards. Another factor in themix: regular safety audits.
On the productivity front, which is important in today’s global marketplace, Austin also cites the flexibility that allows managers to transfer workers to less demanding duties while recovery proceeds.