Are You Prepared?  
Putting Safety in the Forefront  
b y K a t h e r i n e C o i g  
a n d T r e y B a r r i n e a u  
afety” is an inclusive  
word with a variety of  
“Simplications, and for  
the glass industry, safety ranges  
from implementing equipment  
best practices to encouraging all  
employees to have a preventative  
mentality. And though the glass  
industry is one of the safest,there’s  
still room to improve.  
So when it comes to foster-  
ing a safe work environment, are  
glass companies following the  
best practices? Here are a few tips  
from safety experts to help reduce  
work-related injuries.  
Facing the Facts  
ment and advisory company, older  
The glass and fenestration indus- workers increase the incidence of  
tries face an aging workforce and an age-related injuries. This is mostly due  
increase in attrition rates. With that in to the fact that they make up a major-  
mind, taking pre-emptive measures is ity of the workforce,and their numbers  
paramount to offset workplace injuries. are only expected to increase in the  
According to Terry Burkhalter, vice upcoming years.“Thirty percent of the  
president of risk control services at workforce will be over 55 (years old)  
Willis Towers Watson, a risk manage- by 2020,” Burkhalter said at a recent  
American Architectural Manufacturers  
Association meeting.“Are you handling  
that? Are you prepared for that?”  
Force of Habit  
He adds that the most common in-  
juries reported include shoulder, back,  
fingers, hands, arms, wrists, thumbs,  
knees and eyes. According to the U.S.  
Department of Labor, these injuries  
are a result of contact with objects and  
equipment or exposure to harmful  
substances.  
Burkhalter also noted that according  
to a 2016 study,100 percent of the most  
costly health claims were for employ-  
ees over 36, and 85 percent of the most  
costly claims were for workers over 41.  
To help reduce those statistics, he  
suggested glass companies imple-  
ment safety policies and do their best  
to make sure they’re being followed.  
“A policy is not a policy until it is en-  
forced,” he said. “How can you prove  
that you’ve enforced your own guide-  
lines? Proof is key.What gets measured  
gets improved.”  
No matter a person’s role within  
a company, it’s easy to fall into a  
routine, and once that routine has  
been established, it opens the door to  
complacency.  
GED Integrated Solutions’ Mike  
Burk warns against this, saying that  
as handlers of glass, complacency can  
eventually lead to injury. “If you think  
back to the days you started your first  
job somewhere … or anywhere where  
there was a lot of noise, loud banging,  
and things like that, you paid attention  
to it,” he said.“If you saw glass sticking  
out somewhere, you’d say, ‘That looks  
dangerous.’ But after a while, you get  
used to it.You get used to hearing glass  
falling, and you don’t even think twice  
about it.”  
46  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | March 2017  
www.usglassmag.com  

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