Both workers and managers worry about dangers of injury from machinery
Jerry Traer, Program and Training Specialist at Workplace Safety North, facilitated a risk assessment workshop with Ontario corrugating industry experts, which found the number one risk to workers was inadequate lockout and tagout of machinery.
In April, a group of Ontario corrugating industry experts put the issue of inadequate lockout and tagout of machinery firmly at the top of their safety agenda.
The volunteer group of eight subject matter experts – four management and four worker representatives – met virtually for a corrugating workplace risk assessment facilitated by Jerry Traer, Program and Training Specialist at Workplace Safety North (WSN).
“We had a really good group of people with lots of industry experience,” says Traer, "so there was good discussion with everyone in general agreement. There wasn’t much difference between the workers and managers, so the results of the risk assessment are very accurate. I think the top ten risks really represent the issues within the corrugating sector.”
Top 10 health and safety risks in corrugating sector
Risky business for Ontario corrugating workers
Pedestrian struck by mobile equipment
Ergonomics – injuries to workers
Inadequate guarding (older equipment with outdated guarding)
Improper pedestrian and mobile equipment interaction
Improper storage of paper roll and inventory (wood pallets, finished goods)
Caught in or struck by stationary equipment (leading to falls and crush)
Contractor training and inadequate compliance
Incomplete lockout and tagout due to design constraints (equipment and process issues)
Occupational illness (repetitive strain injury)
The provincial corrugating sector risk assessment workshop results take a scientific and focused approach to improving workplace health and safety. In advance of the workshop, each industry expert sent all workplace health and safety risks they'd observed within their sector. The group reviewed and discussed each risk before ranking it.
Insufficient training and inadequate lockout guidelines
When it came time for the final vote on the top risks, only the workers and managers in the corrugating industry were allowed to vote. To ensure an open and fair voting process, handheld electronic devices recorded votes anonymously. Both workers and management agreed: the top danger corrugating workers face is inadequate lockout and tagout.
“As they identified specific conditions and situations that could result in injury or illness, we asked the group, ‘What keeps you up at night?’” says Traer, “And both workers and managers agreed: inadequate lockout and tagout.” Contributing factors include insufficient training and frontline supervision.
“The risk assessment workshop supplied direct feedback from industry experts about their perception of the workplace. By using these leading rather than lagging indicators like injury reports, WSN can be more proactive,” says Traer.
Stepping up training for lockout instructors
“Inadequate lockout tagout resulting in injury was also the number one risk for the pulp and paper sector. Issues for that sector included enough experience with training people. One of the comments was, ‘we’ve got new people training new people,’ so I think we’re going to be putting together an auditing process to assess lockout programs and provide recommendations for identified gaps, and then step-up training for workers and managers who are instructing others about lockout. I believe a similar approach will be used with the corrugating sector,” adds Traer.
The next step in the risk assessment research is the root cause analysis planned for the fall.
“Normally we would take the number one risk, but because of the similarity with the pulp and paper sector, which is already doing a root cause analysis of inadequate lockout, we’re probably going to look at the number two risk, which is ‘pedestrian struck by mobile equipment.’"
Traer believes this is a good choice because in the corrugating sector – more so than the pulp and paper sector – there is more interaction between workers and lift trucks. Typically, workers are constantly bringing rolls to the operating floor to place on the corrugating machine, and then picking up finished product and bringing it to the warehouse.
For more information, contact Workplace Safety North.