The Intersection of Manufacturing, Safety and HR

IRI Podcast Episode on Occupational Safety

Employee occupational safety is always top of mind for HR professionals, but for those working in manufacturing, it’s even more critical. Protecting workers from the physical dangers of processes and machines, and making sure they return home in the same condition in which they arrived is the number one priority for anyone working in manufacturing. Today, we’re joined by Brad Kramer, Owner and Principal Consultant for Provenio Consulting! Here, he explains:

  • How caring for the wellbeing and occupational safety of employees benefits not only the employees, but the business as a whole;
  • Why all employers should have a clear plan for Worker's Compensation;
  • The benefit of understanding your organization's Experience Modification Factor; and
  • Common mistakes many HR teams make when an employee is injured at work!

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Manufacturing Safety

  • Manufacturing workplaces have increased challenges when it comes to occupational safety because there tend to be more potential hazards, but safety concerns are present in all workplaces.


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The Benefits of Occupational Safety

  • Employees who feel their occupational safety is being cared for at work tend to have greater workplace morale. 
  • Every risk has a cost, therefore practicing risk management saves money in the long run.
  • Employees who feel safe at their job tend to stay at their job, reducing employee turnover.
  • Safer businesses are more consistent businesses, ensuring a more consistent quality in their product.
  • Safe working standards are a pillar of the recruitment process.

Planning Worker’s Compensation

  • When someone gets injured at work, it falls on the employer to have a clear plan for Worker’s Compensation. 
  • Requirements for Worker’s Compensation plans vary by state. Some things to consider are:
    • Will the employee be referred to a company-selected doctor, or will they be able to see a doctor of their choosing?
    • What is initial treatment? Will an employee be taken to the emergency room., or to an occupational medicine provider?
    • What are the employee’s medical restrictions from within the Worker’s Compensation plan?
    • What is the process when employees return to work after recovering?
  • The cost of Worker’s Compensation is based on something called the Experience Modification Factor, or “Mod Factor”. 
    • Businesses pay premiums on Worker’s Compensation based on their total losses compared to another business in the same industry. The more injuries occur in the workplace, the more a business has to spend on Worker’s Compensation.

The Common Mistakes

  • When an employee is injured at work, HR teams often focus too much and the administrative side of the incident, as opposed to focusing on the incident itself.
  • Clear communication must be established between HR, the involved employee, and all involved departments in order to clearly identify the source of the accident and prevent it from happening again.

The Post-Incident Process

  • Ensure the employee’s well-being, beyond just the necessary paperwork.
  • Conduct a prompt and thorough investigation of the incident, identify a root cause, and eliminate it.
  • Report the incident to OSHA within eight to twenty-four hours, depending on the type of injury.
  • Prepare for possible litigation that could come from the injury.

Must-Haves in Manufacturing Facility Safety

  • Hazard Communication Program
  • Working From Heights Program
  • Emergency Response Program
  • PPE Training (with PPE availability)
  • Accountability within the organization ensuring that the occupational safety program will have the resources to keep employees safe and stay within the regulations.
  • Robust Occupational Safety Committee

HR and Occupational Safety

  • For organizations with safety departments outside of HR: 
    • The HR and safety teams should work together to protect employees, and assist one another whenever possible. Collaborate on employee recruitment, marketing campaigns, new hore orientations and incident investigations because so many occupational safety functions impact recruitment and retention.
    • It’s recommended that HR professionals attend an OSHA 30 hour and any other company training that involves occupational safety, in order to understand what their employees do and to understand the hazards they face..
  • For HR professionals who are managing occupational safety themselves:
    • Don't skimp on training for yourself or a qualified consultant. What you don't know can kill someone or bankrupt the business. Understand the hazards that are out on the plant floor before writing policies and procedures around them.
    • Engage employees in the importance of occupational safety, and help them make the connection between safety and the success of the business, rather than viewing safety as simply a regulatory requirement.
    • Absolutely lean on your vendors. They can help you with inspections, providing PPE samples, and even providing admission to free seminars and training .
    • Never assume new workers have any idea about hazards. Assume that they come from a background where they may have never seen any of the hazards that they're gonna be exposed to in your business.

Provenio Consulting

  • Provenio Consulting enables companies to protect their most valuable asset - their employees - through training, finding custom solutions, and helping them make good business decisions and being efficient.
  • They offer employee training as well as “Train the Trainer” sessions for organizations.
  • They also can help companies develop policies and procedures such as emergency response plans, lockout and tagout procedures, confined space procedures, and compliance risk. 

Brad Kramer Background

  • Bachelor’s degree in Business (with a concentration in Finance) from The University of Phoenix
  • A.A.S. in Criminal Justice from Central Lakes College
  • Began his work in health and safety as a member of the safety committee which working as a CNC Machinist at Melrose Metalworks
  • Served as the Environmental, Health, & Safety Manager-Trainer, ISO 9001 Auditor and Continuous Improvement Leader for Rhino Hyde, Tandem Products, Inc.
  • He worked as the Environmental, Health, & Safety Manager-ISO 14001 EMR, Sustainability, Leadership Team Trainer for the Kerry Group
  • He was the Safety & Environmental Consultant-Trainer, Regulatory Reporting, Safety Programs Auditor for USI Insurance Services
  • Mr. Kramer worked as the EHS Supervisor for Cargill
  • He currently serves as the President and Principal Consultant for Provenio Consulting, Inc.


Occupational Safety - Provenio Consulting


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