Safety has always been a top priority for NPCA, which is now reflected in the NPCA Strategic Plan.
By Evan Gurley
Investing in health and safety in the precast industry offers real benefits. Ensuring worker safety is clearly the most important. A safe work environment also maintains productivity by keeping workers on the job and projects on track. However, for a safety awareness culture to work, everyone needs to be on board, from chief executives to production employees. For this reason, the NPCA Board of Directors voted to add safety as Goal No. 5 of the NPCA Strategic Plan at the 2015 Annual Spring Board of Directors meeting. Safety, Health & Environment Committee liaison Jennifer Burkhart reported that, “The committee received very positive feedback from the Board for their initiative in developing the proposal and also for the formal recognition of a safety culture as inherent to our industry.”
Goal No. 5 importance
Why is the addition of Goal No. 5 important for NPCA members and the precast industry as a whole? As addressed in the SHE Committee’s proposal, “NPCA is the glue that binds the precast industry together and adds a level of consistency among precast member companies. NPCA provides best practices for all aspects of precast concrete production including marketing, quality control and business management. The SHE Committee feels safety and health are critically important to address on a national level, as safety affects all producer members.”
In addition, the SHE Committee pointed out that NPCA provides safety awareness in Production and Quality School courses, providing tools and best practices for workers to reduce potential injuries and accidents. The proposal states, “The adoption of Goal No. 5 will increase the visibility in our association which will be marketable, visible and financially beneficial.”
SHE Committee Chairman Don Graham said, “It is logical to give member companies tools to improve their safety and health programs and the potential financial benefits to member companies are significant. The addition of Goal No. 5 to the NPCA Strategic Plan is critically important in light of NPCA’s leadership role in the precast concrete industry.”
Financial impact of safety
Injuries are very costly to precast producers in a number of ways. The monetary impact an injury has on a company is one that should cause alarm. According to OSHA’s “$afety Pays” calculator, one strain on average can cost more than $30,000. The hidden, indirect cost of an injury is more than double. If a back strain injury has a direct cost of $33,528, you can expect the indirect cost to be upwards of $36,880, with the combined cost totaling $70,408. If a member company has a profit margin of 3%, they will have to sell an indirect $2.34 million just to recoup the cost of this one injury.
Goal No. 5: what’s included?
The SHE Committee’s adopted proposal includes the following action items:
a) Present annual NPCA Safety Awards with special recognition to the Hall of Fame companies
b) Provide education on the cost of injuries and their impact to the bottom line
c) Establish best practices for qualified riggers and qualified signal persons
d) Take ownership and input to the PQS safety offerings
e) Deliver the unified message across the entire concrete industry that safety pays
f) Develop and present four safety webinars a year
The addition of safety as Goal No. 5 aligns with NPCA’s mission statement to provide industry leadership and will benefit the membership and precast industry moving forward.
Evan Gurley is a technical services engineer with NPCA.